Your work entitlements arise from various places: your employment contract, the National Employment Standards, and any applicable Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement.
Where can I find my entitlements?
Australia’s minimum employment conditions are set out in the National Employment Standards. Your particular employment might also be covered by other statutory instruments, namely either a Modern Award that relates generally to the type of job you do, or an Enterprise Agreement that is specific to your employer. You can search online to find whether:
- A Modern Award covers your type of work, although you may need specific advice to help determine what classification you are, based on the duties you undertake.
- Your employer has an Enterprise Agreement, but be aware that an Enterprise Agreement can relate to only particular employees, and you may need to get some specific advice about whether it covers you.
Any written contract you have entered into with your employer is subject to (cannot provide lesser benefits than) these statutory entitlements. However your contract can contain additional entitlements.
If your employer has not been paying you correctly, you are entitled to bring a claim for back-pay.
Australia’s minimum wage is set out in the National Minimum Wage Order (casual employees are entitled to a 25% loading). However you might be entitled to more than the minimum because:
- Your job classification is covered by a Modern Award, or your employer has an Enterprise Agreement, or you have entered into an employment contract — in which case the rate of pay may well be more than the national minimum.
- You may be entitled to various allowances (such as travel allowances, shift allowances, tool allowances or even toilet cleaning allowances), overtime or other penalty rates under a Modern Award, Enterprise Agreement or your contract.
If you are a full-time employee, you are entitled to a minimum of:
- 20 days paid annual leave per year
- 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave per year
- 2 days paid compassionate leave per occasion
- On the completion of 12 months continuous service, 12 months unpaid parental leave
- Community service leave
- Long service leave (different in each State and Territory)
- Paid leave on public holidays
If you are part-time, these entitlements are pro-rated. If you are a casual, you are only entitled to unpaid leave entitlements (carer’s leave, compassionate leave, community service leave and, if you have been employed on regular & systematic hours for longer than 12 months, unpaid parental leave). If you are long-term casual you may have some paid long service leave entitlements, and you might in some circumstances also have the ability to assert you are in fact a permanent employee.
These are the minimum entitlements under the National Employment Standards, but your Modern Award, Enterprise Agreement or contract might provide better conditions.
If your employer takes, or threatens to take, any steps detrimental to your employment (eg reducing your hours, demoting you, or terminating you) after you have raised the issue of your entitlements, you may have a further claim against your employer.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will help you initially by giving you general advice about your entitlements, as well as trying to resolve your complaint with your employer. The FWO will not, however, assist with taking your claim to court. If you want to pursue your claim further, you will likely need a lawyer. We can help by:
- advising you on the correct interpretation of the statutory instrument / contract that applies to your employment
- making sure you have included all of the various payments you might be entitled to, and helping you with the calculations (which can be very complex)
- advising you on whether you have a claim about the way you have been treated by your employer after raising the complaint
- presenting the evidence in your case in the best possible light
- taking away a lot of the time and stress involved in bringing the complaint, by managing the communications with the other party and the court.
To get one of our specialist lawyers on your case now, click here.