28 Sep 2022
3 min read
28 Sep 2022
The National Employment Standards, or NES, are a set of 11 entitlements set out in the Fair Work Act (2009) the Act.
They apply to everyone employed under the national workplace relations system, which essentially means every employer and employee.
As Melbourne employment lawyers, we believe everyone should be up to speed with NES entitlements to ensure fair, productive and agreeable relationships between employers and employees.
Thirty-eight hours per week (plus reasonable additional hours).
Some employees can request to alter their schedules.
Up to 12 months of unpaid leave, with the option to request an additional 12 months.
At least four weeks each year.
The entitlements in a 12-month period vary by employment and leave type:
Unpaid leave for volunteer emergency activities, plus up to 10 days’ paid jury service leave.
Paid leave for long-serving employees.
A day off with pay on public holidays for full-time or part-time employees.
Up to five weeks’ notice for termination and up to 16 weeks of redundancy pay, based on the length of service.
Employers must provide the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS) to new employees. They must also give casual employees the Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS).
The right for casual employees to earn a permanent position.
The National Employment Standards are a cornerstone of Australia’s labour laws.
By clearly outlining the minimum workplace entitlements, the NES and the Fair Work Act are legal safeguards for employee entitlements.
As well as serving as a safety net for employees, they give employers a clear benchmark in potentially confusing situations like parental leave, termination notice and long service leave.
Individual contracts, collective bargaining agreements, awards and special agreements cannot legally undermine the NES or provide less than the minimum wage.
Doing so could attract penalties of up to $13,320 for individuals and $66,600 for companies per contravention.
So you don’t need a Melbourne employment lawyer to tell you that it pays to know about NES entitlements.
However, individual agreements and awards can offer supplements and conditions that are more favourable than the NES. For example:
Here are some helpful highlights for employers and employees.
It’s critical your employment contracts remain up-to-date and fulfil the NES obligations.
Breaching the National Employment Standards can carry severe penalties for employers.
However, the Standards vary slightly between states and territories.
So if you are unclear on your obligations, it might be worthwhile contacting a Melbourne employment lawyer for advice.
Only some of the Standards apply to casual employees or have pro-rata entitlements for casual and part-time employees.
Casual employees are entitled to:
Casual employees are also entitled to request flexible working arrangements and take unpaid parental leave. But only if they have been employed for 12 months and expect to continue their position after returning from leave.
Fair Work Australia has helpful information for casual and part-time employees.
If you believe your entitlements are not being met, PCL Lawyers are the Melbourne employment lawyers you can contact for advice and representation.
One question we hear as employment lawyers is: do the National Employment Standards apply to all Australian employers and employees?
Strictly speaking, the answer is no – there are a small number of exceptions.
The NES also may not apply to some employees in state and local governments or the public sector.
In addition, some areas of Western Australia’s private sector are excluded from NES obligations.
However, it is always safer (not to mention fairer) to err on the side of meeting the minimum entitlements.
Do you need an experienced employment lawyer? Contact PCL Lawyers for help with employment disputes and employment agreements call us on 1300 907 335 to discuss.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for general information purposes and may not apply to your situation. This information should not be relied upon for legal, tax or accounting advice. Your individual circumstances will alter any legal advice given. The views expressed may not reflect the opinions, views or values of PCL Lawyers and belong solely to the author of the content. © PCL Lawyers Pty Ltd.
If you require legal advice specific to your situation please speak to one of our team members today.
Glenn Duker is Managing Partner, and founder, of PCL Lawyers. Glenn has a Bachelor of Laws / Arts from the University of Melbourne and was admitted to practice more than 25 years ago. He has...
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