Agreements and entitlements
It’s not all about the employment contract. There are several sources of law that govern the employment relationship.
1. The National Employment Standards
The National Employment Standards (“NES”) provide ten minimum standards of employment in Australia. If you suspect your employment does not comply with one or more of the following standards, you should make an appointment to see us.
- Maximum weekly hours of work: 38 hours per week, plus reasonable overtime. Also applies to casual employees.
- Requests for flexible working arrangements: Certain employees can ask to change their working arrangements. Also applies to regular and systematic casual employees employed for at least 12 months.
- Parental leave and related entitlements: Up to 12 months’ unpaid leave, and the right to request an extra 12 months’ unpaid leave. Also includes adoption‑related leave. Also applies to regular and systematic casual employees employed for at least 12 months.
- Annual leave: Four weeks’ paid leave per year, plus an extra week for some shift workers. Does not apply to casual employees.
- Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave: 10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave; two days of unpaid carer’s leave; and two days of compassionate leave. Casuals receive two days unpaid carer’s leave and two days’ unpaid compassionate leave per occasion.
- Community service leave: Unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and 10 days’ paid leave for jury service. Also applies to casual employees.
- Long service leave: Paid leave for employees who have been with the same employer for a long time. The entitlement varies for the milestones of 7 years, 10 years, 15 years and longer than 15 years.
- Public holidays: Paid leave on a public holiday (unpaid for casuals), except where reasonably requested to work. Also applies to casual employees.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay: A maximum of five weeks’ notice of termination, and a maximum of 16 weeks’ redundancy pay. One’s entitlement will depend on the length of service.
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement: Must be provided by employers to all new employees.
2. Modern Award, if any
Modern Awards are generated by the Fair Work Commission through a process of research and consultation with industry experts. They are intended to complement the National Employment Standards and detail how those standards apply to a specific industry. To see if your industry has an award, follow this link: Find my award. You don’t need to bring a copy of the award to your appointment, but you might find it helpful to read.
3. Enterprise agreement or registered agreement, if any
Enterprise agreements set out the terms of employment at a particular enterprise. An enterprise agreement is used in place of an employment contract and is sometimes accompanied by a position description. With exceptions, an enterprise agreement or registered agreement overrides the modern award. If you are subject to an enterprise agreement, please bring a copy to your appointment. If you don’t have a copy on hand, you might be able to find it here: Search for an agreement
4. Employment contract or agreement, if any
Please bring a copy to your appointment. If you were also provided a position description, bring that too. If there is no written agreement between the parties, it might be helpful to collate any emails discussing the agreement.
These foundation documents provide a counterpoint to the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), other commonwealth legislation (e.g. the Superannuation Act 2005), state legislation (e.g. the Long Service Leave Act 1992), and the common law, otherwise known as case law or precedent.
Our expertise will help you navigate this composite legal landscape and find practical solutions to your employment law needs. Please call us on (03) 9583 6263 to make an appointment.