What are my minimum rights and conditions at work?

All employees in the national workplace relations system receive basic minimum entitlements known as the National Employment Standards (NES).

The NES include:

  • Maximum weekly hours of work
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave and related entitlements
  • Annual leave
  • Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and family and domestic violence leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • The Fair Work Information Statement and Casual Employment Information Statement.
  • The right for casual employees to become permanent employees in some circumstances.

Please note, only certain NES entitlements apply to casual employees. For more information on the NES, please see the Fair Work Ombudsman Fact Sheet – Introduction to the National Employment Standards.

Your minimum rights and conditions at work may be set by a legal document like an award, an agreement, or a contract of employment. Ask your employer which one applies to you to find out how you are affected.

If an award or agreement does not apply, all employees in the national workplace relations system will receive basic minimum pay, conditions and protections under Commonwealth workplace laws.

If you are asked to sign any type of document agreeing to specific work conditions, make sure you read it very carefully and understand it before signing. Keep a copy for your records. You should not feel undue pressure to sign any agreement with your employer. If you do, contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

Your award or agreement should tell you things like:

  • your minimum rate of pay – your employer can pay you more than the minimum if they want to, but they cannot pay you less
  • when you will be paid – you should be paid at least once a month
  • if you are entitled to more money (such as penalty rates) for working nights, weekends or public holidays, or overtime pay for working outside your regular hours
  • if you should be paid an allowance for doing certain tasks
  • the minimum number of hours per shift you can be rostered and paid for
  • when you should be taking breaks during your shift
  • how much notice you need to give your employer if you want to resign from your job
  • the right for casual employees to become permanent employees.

For more information about awards and agreements, visit fairwork.gov.au/awards-and-agreements.

The PACT will also be handy to calculate your pay, leave, notice and redundancy and shift. 

You can also watch this short video for information about Working in Australia.