It’s important that you take time to understand your work rights and responsibilities, including your employment status, pay conditions and where to seek advice. Job applications and interviews are the final step.
Types of Employment
A full-time worker has ongoing employment and usually works 38 hours per week. Hours of work are agreed between the employer and employee.
Part-time employment is ongoing and less than 38 hours per week. It has the same rights as full-time work, including paid leave. Entitlements are accumulated in proportion to hours worked.
A casual worker works irregular hours, with no guarantee of shifts. Casual employees do not have access to leave entitlements, such as annual leave or personal leave.
The National Employment Standards (NES) are 10 minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all workers. A full-time or part-time employment contract should have the following entitlements:
- maximum weekly hours
- requests for flexible working arrangements
- parental leave and related entitlements
- annual leave
- personal carer’s leave and compassionate leave
- community service leave
- long service leave
- public holidays
- notice of termination and redundancy pay
- the Fair Work Information Statement.
Casual workers have fewer entitlements than full-time and part-time employees. This includes unpaid carer’s leave, unpaid compassionate leave, community service leave and the Fair Work Information Statement. Casual staff may be eligible for long service leave in some states and territories.
Pay and Leave Entitlements
Employees should be paid the correct pay rate for all hours they work, including time spent:
- in training (or for trial shifts)
- in team meetings
- opening and closing the business
Wages can be paid by one or a combination of cash, cheque, money order, postal order or electronic funds transfer. Employees must be paid monthly at a minimum, with a pay slip typically supplied in person or via email.
Award and Salaries
The minimum wages and conditions workers are entitled to are set out in ‘awards’. There are 122 industry and occupation awards that cover a range of industries, such as aged care, children’s services and hospitality. If you are paid a salary (an amount paid over 12 months as agreed with your employer) you can’t be paid less than the award for your field of work.
Annual leave, also known as ‘holiday pay’, allows you to take paid time away from work. Under the National Employment Standards (NES), full-time employees are entitled to four weeks of leave each year, while part-time employees receive a proportion based on the hours they work. Employers may grant additional leave but must offer a minimum of four weeks. Casual workers are not entitled to annual leave, but may take leave without pay.
Personal leave, also known as ‘sick and carer’s leave’, allows you to take paid time away from work when you are unwell or have care responsibilities. You may take time off to care for a member of your immediate household — such as a child, parent or spouse — or during a family emergency. If you take time off for illness or injury, your employer may require you to provide a medical certificate.
If you’re sick and can’t come into work, contact your employer as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to visit a doctor and request a medical certificate. A medical certificate provides evidence to your employer that you were unfit for work on one or multiple consecutive days.
Casual workers may take unpaid carer’s leave. Carer’s leave may be unpaid for full-time and parttime employees if they have used their leave balance.
Employment may end due to voluntary resignation or dismissal.
Resignation occurs for many reasons, such as finding a better role or relocating. Dismissal is initiated by the employer due to misconduct. Dismissal can include redundancy, where an employer decides that a worker’s role is no longer required, or if the business becomes insolvent or bankrupt.
When resignation or dismissal occurs, there are rules about notice and final pay. A notice period is the length of time that an employee or employer must give when ending employment. At the end of employment, your final pay must include any outstanding hours worked and, if you are eligible, accumulated annual leave. Sick leave is not paid out. If an employee is made redundant, an additional payment is received. This is determined by your length of time with the employer.
Know your Rights
Before starting work of any kind, make sure that you understand your workplace rights.
Fair Work Ombudsman
Visit www.fairwork.gov.au to get information about pay rates, working conditions, employment contracts, recruitment and dismissal. You can also contact the ombudsman by phone on 13 13 94.
Australian Human Rights Commission
Visit www.humanrights.gov.au for assistance with discrimination and breaches of human rights in the workplace. You can also contact the commission by phone on 1300 656 419.