If you work in the national workplace relations system,which covers most Australian workers, there are 10 minimum conditions of employment (known as the National Employment Standards) that cover you under the Fair Work Act 2009. Part-time employees receive these employment conditions on a pro-rata (proportionate) basis. Some of these employment conditions don’t apply to casual employees.
Other minimum conditions more specific to your workplace, industry or occupation are found in awards and enterprise agreements.
You may also be paid, or have your conditions determined, through informal discussions with your employer. You must agree, in writing, to any change to your working conditions. You cannot be asked to agree to working conditions that don’t meet the minimum requirements of the modern award or enterprise agreement that applies to you, although you can make an individual flexibility arrangement to change some of the conditions, as long as the changes leave you better off and suit both you and your employer.
The National Employment Standards are
- Maximum weekly hours of work - 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
- The right to request flexible working arrangements - for parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability.
- Parental leave and related entitlements - up to 12 months unpaid leave for each parent or other eligible employee, a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, plus other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption-related leave.
- Annual leave - four weeks of paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
- Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave - 10 days of paid personal or carer’s leave, two days of unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days of compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals). Once this paid leave has been used up, you can take two days of unpaid carer’s leave.
- Community service leave - unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities. Up to 10 days of ‘make up’ pay entitlement for jury service.
- Long service leave (LSL) - a transitional entitlement for employees who had certain types of long service leave entitlements before 1 January 2010, pending the development of a uniform, national standard. If the NES transitional entitlement to LSL does not apply to your employment, then you might be entitled to accrue LSL under a state or territory Act.
- Public holidays - a paid day off on a public holiday, except where you are reasonably requested to work and you don’t have reasonable grounds for refusing.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay - up to four weeks notice of termination (five weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least two years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement - employers must provide this statement to all new employees.