About employee rights in Australia

Several laws and agreements provide employees in Australia with a range of entitlements and protections at work:

Laws under the Fair Work Act

This act specifies the minimum entitlements for all employees, including the National Employment Standards (NES)

Industry and occupation awards

Covering most employees in Australia, awards set the minimum pay and conditions for an industry or occupation

Enterprise Agreements 

These set minimum pay and conditions for a particular workplace, which are negotiated and approved through a formal process

Employment contracts

These provide additional conditions for an individual employee (note that  these can’t be less than the minimum entitlements)

Who has rights as an employee in Australia?

All employees in Australia have minimum entitlements, under the National Minimum Wage and the National Employment Standards (NES). Employers cannot provide less than this stipulated wage or standards, regardless of whether their workers are employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis. 

However, note that casual workers are not eligible for all NES entitlements. 

Employment status definitions 

Full-time: Individuals with an ongoing contract of employment, which provides employment on a permanent basis 

Part-time: Individuals with an ongoing contract of employment, which provides employment on a permanent basis but with fewer working hours than the “ordinary” 38-hour workweek 

Casual: Individuals employed per shift and with no guaranteed hours of work 

Employee rights in Australia 

There are 11 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees under the National Employment Standards (NES), which fall into several categories: 

The right to fair working hours

  • Maximum weekly hours
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements
  • Offers and requests to convert from casual to permanent employers

Rights for families and parents

  • Parental leave and related entitlements

The right to time off work

  • Annual leave
  • Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave, and paid family domestic violence leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays

Rights when you lose your job

  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay

The information on this page has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication. 
Please note that the contents of webpage and any information provided by WORK180 do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to be a substitute for legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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