There are various rules governing what employees are entitled to at work, such as minimum rates of pay and leave entitlements.
One of the key entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) is the National Employment Standards (NES), which provide the 10 minimum employment entitlements that apply to all national system employees. The NES applies regardless of whether another instrument, such as a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement, also applies.
The 10 NES entitlements are:
- Maximum weekly hours
- Request for flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave and related entitlements
- Annual leave
- Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave
- Community service leave
- Long service leave
- Public holidays
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay
- Fair Work Information Statement
The maximum weekly hours are 38 hours per week for a full-time employee, plus additional reasonable hours. For an employee other than a full-time employee, the maximum weekly hours are the lesser of:
- 38 hours and
- the employee’s ordinary hours of work in a week
Some employees (excluding casual employees) who have worked for the same employer at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements.
The following employees can request flexible working arrangements if they:
- are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is school aged or younger
- are a carer
- have a disability
- are 55 or older
- are experiencing family or domestic violence or
- provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence
Parental Leave and Related Entitlements include:
- maternity leave
- paternity and partner leave
- adoption leave
- special maternity leave
- a safe job and no safe job leave and
- a right to return to old job
For parental leave, employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave with the right to request for an extra 12 months unpaid leave.
With the exception of casual employees, all employees are entitled to annual leave. Full and part-time employees are entitled to 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year. Some shiftworkers may get an additional week.
Full-time employees are entitled to 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave (also known as sick and carer’s leave) per year, and for part-time employees, pro rata of 10 days per year depending on their hours of work.
All employees, including casual employees are entitled to 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave as required and 2 days of compassionate leave as required.
Sick leave can be used when an employee is ill or injured.
Carer’s leave can be used when an employee needs to take time off to care for an immediate family or household member who is sick or injured during a family emergency.
Community service leave is unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service. An employee is entitled to take community service leave while they are engaged in the activity and for reasonable travel and rest time. Whilst there is no limit on the amount of community service leave an employee can take, an employee must give their employer the period or expected period of absence.
Full and part-time employees are entitled to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.
Long service leave is paid leave for employees who have been with the same employer for a long time. Long service entitlements vary depending on the State and Territory.
Full and part-time employees who normally work on the day a public holiday falls are entitled to a paid day off work on a public holiday, except where there is a reasonable request to work. Public holidays vary depending on State and Territory of the place of employment.
Employers should ensure sufficient notice period is provided to employees to end employment. Employees are entitled up to 5 weeks’ notice of termination and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.
Notice periods may not apply to some employees who are fired because of serious misconduct or under a fixed term contract.
Employers have a duty to provide a Fair Work Information Statement (the Statement) to every new employee before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job. The Statement will provide information on the employee’s conditions of employment.
For general information, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website or contact our office for advice that suits your individual circumstances.