Updated November 12th 2013

On 1 January 2010 the Fair Work Act 2009 came into force which replaced the old Work Choices System. The Fair Work Act specifies a set of minimum employment terms and conditions for employees through new National Employment Standards (NES).

There are 10 National Employment Standards, as follows:

  • Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements – allows parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’s care.
  • Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, plus other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.
  • Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
  • Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required.
  • Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.
  • Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for certain employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
  • Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.
  • Provision of a Fair Wor
  • k Information Statement – employers must provide a NES statement to all new employees. This can be obtained from www.fairwork.gov.au

There are a reduced number of standards which apply to casual employees and employees who are not employed under the national workplace system.