The National Employment Standards (NES) are a top 10 minimum entitlements for all employees in Australia. Awards, contracts, or agreements are not allowed to provide less than the minimum wage or the NES. It creates a kind of fair work safety net for all employees.
The 10 minimum entitlements are listed below.
2. Requests for flexible working arrangements – an entitlement allowing employees in certain circumstances to request a change in their working arrangements because of those circumstances
3. Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave per employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, plus other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave
4. Annual leave – four weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers
5. 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
6. 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
7. Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for employees as outlined in an applicable pre-modernised award, pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard
8. Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work
9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to five weeks notice of termination and up to 16 weeks severance pay on redundancy, both based on length of service
10. Provision of a Fair work information statement – must be provided by employers to all new employees, and contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, union rights of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman
Who is covered by the National Employment Standards?
All employees in the Australian workplace relations system are covered, irrespective of their award, agreement or contract (however, only certain entitlements apply to casual employees). If any agreements were made before 1 January 2010, and contain terms less generous than the NES, then those terms are no longer valid.
Casual employees and the National Employment Standards
Casual employees are entitled to take carer’s leave, compassionate leave and community service leave, all unpaid. You have to give them a Fair Work Information Statement whenever they first start working with you.
Long-serving casuals may be able to take long service leave in some states and territories. If they have worked for you at least 12 months and expect to keep on doing so, they may have the right to request flexible working arrangements and access to parental leave.
Employsure can advise you on each aspect of the National Employment Standards and how it works for your permanent and casual employees.
For peace of mind about your obligations, call us today on 1300 651 415 to speak to a specialist.