Business operators need to ensure they are meeting the basic legal requirements of their workers, according to Miles Heffernan from Employer Advisors.
“It is essential to meet the minimum employment standards to ensure you have a compliant workplace,” Mr Heffernan said. “Otherwise you will find yourself before a Commission or a Court defending a costly claim.”
There are 10 National Employment Standards that cover the majority of workplaces in Australia.
They are part of the National Workplace Relations System which was introduced on the 1st of July 2009.
The 10 National Employment Standards are:
Maximum, minimum and ordinary hours
- An employee, as part of their ordinary hours paid at a standard rate, can work a maximum of 38 hours in a weekly period. The award, enterprise agreements or other registered agreements sets out the maximum ordinary days within a day, week, fortnight or month, the minimum hours in a day as well as the times of the day that constitute ordinary hours (for example between 7am-7pm).
Requests for flexible working arrangements
- Any employees who have been working for you (the same employer) for more than 12 months can ask for a flexible working arrangement that can include making changes to their hours of work, patterns of work or locations of work. Reasons for this can include: parenting responsibilities, duty as a carer, due to a disability, if they are 55 or older, are experiencing family or other domestic violence or if they have to provide care or support to a household or family member due to their suffering from family or domestic violence.
Parental leave and related entitlements
- All Australian employees are entitled to parental leave if they are having a child (themselves or their spouse or de factor partner), or if they are adopting a child under 16 years of are and if they have worked for you for 12 months and they will have responsibility for the care of the child.
- Every non-casual employee is entitles to paid annual leave. Annual leave accumulates from the first day of employment, even if an employee is in a probation period; and if an employee doesn’t pass their probation, they are still entitled to receive notice when their employment ends and have their unused accumulated annual leave hours paid out.
- Annual leave does not accumulate when an employee is on unpaid annual leave, unpaid annual sick/carer’s leave or unpaid parental leave.
Personal carers leave and compassionate leave
- If an immediate family member or household member an employee can take time off to care for them. An employee can also take time off when they themselves are ill or injured. All employees except casual employees get paid for sick or carer’s leave for up to 10 days. 2 days unpaid carer’s leave can also be taken.
Community service leave
- All employees are entitled to take community service leave for voluntary emergency management activities or jury duty for the time that they are engaged in the activity and for reasonable travel and rest time. There is no limit. An employee must give notice of the absence as soon as reasonably possible and the period or expected period of their absence. Jury duty is paid, other community service leave is unpaid.
Long service leave
- Long service leave is a period of leave after a long period of working for you (the same employer). Each state and territory has its own long service leave laws. Call us on 1800 853 837 to ask about your employees’, or your own, entitlements.
- Australia has holiday and also pay provisions for employees on public holidays. This varies by state and territory. The Fair Work Ombudsman pay calculator can help you work out how public holidays affect you or your workplace in your state or territory. Contact us if you need clarification as we are happy to assist.
Notice of termination and redundancy pay
- Every employee is entitled to notice from their employer if they are being let go. The employee is then entitled to receive a notice period, or a notice pay out. This notice depends on awards, time of employment and other factors. Use the Notice and Redundancy Calculator to see what you or your employees are entitled to.
- In regards to redundancy this is when a person’s job doesn’t need to be done by anyone any longer, and all consultant requirements have been met according to the relevant award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement.
Fair Work Information Statement
- On commencing work all employees must be given the Fair Work Information Statement which has information on the National Employment Standards and other relevant information. You can get a copy of this here.
It is important to note that casual employees only get National Employment Standards entitlements relating to:
- unpaid carer’s leave
- unpaid compassionate leave
- community service leave
- the Fair Work Information Statement
- and in some states and territories, including Queensland, long serving casuals are eligible for long service leave.
If you’re feeling confused about how the National Employment Standards apply to you and your workplace, or if you would like advice or help on making sure you are compliant, call us on 1300 853 837.