National Employment Standards.

On this page

Protect Your Business

Request a Consultation with One of Our Advisers Today!

Employee In Cafe National Employment Standards

What Are The National Employment Standards in Australia?

The National Employment Standards (NES) are the minimum standards of employment set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) which apply to all national system employees and employers.

The NES commenced on 1 January 2010 and creates safety net entitlements for all national system employees. Modern awards and enterprise agreements may contain ancillary and supplementary terms but must not exclude the NES or provide for any less generous entitlements.

The NES can apply differently to award or agreement free employees and causal employees. However, if any agreements made prior to the commencement of the NES contain terms which are detrimental to employees compared to the NES, those terms have no effect.

What Is The Purpose Of The National Employment Standards?

The National Employment Standards (NES) are a set of 11 minimum entitlements which must be provided to all national workplace system employees in Australia. These minimum standards of employment include hours of work, flexible working arrangements and leave and related entitlements, amongst others. Together, the NES and national minimum wage provide the minimum entitlements for most businesses in Australia.

What Are The 11 National Employment Standards?

1. Maximum weekly working hours – 38 hours per week for a permanent full-time employee, plus reasonable additional hours.

2. Requests for flexible working arrangements – an entitlement allowing certain employees to request a change in their working arrangements because of their particular circumstances

3. Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave for employees who have been employed in the business for the preceding 12 months, and are expected to continue to be employed on a regular and systematic basis, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave; further entitlements may apply depending on the employee’s specific circumstances

4. Annual leave – four weeks paid leave per year for permanent employees, plus an additional week for certain shift workers

5. Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave – 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave for permanent employees (two days unpaid carer’s leave for casuals) per year and two days paid compassionate leave per occasion (unpaid for casuals) as well as five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave for both permanent and casual employees per year.

BrightHR can help you keep track of your employees’ leave entitlements by monitoring absences and shifts schedules, as well as working hours as they clock in and out with Blip. You can generate reports that will show the number of shifts and hours worked, breaks and their duration and the total number of hours worked excluding those breaks and store wage and time records securely in the cloud.

6. Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to ‘make-up pay’ for up to 10 days for jury duty for permanent employees if evidence is provided

7. Long service leave – an entitlement for employees based on the length of their continuous service within the business, usually derived from a pre-modern award,  registered agreement, or from state or territory legislation, depending on the circumstances.

8. Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday for permanent employees if they ordinarily would have worked it, except where reasonably requested to work, in which case a higher pay rate may apply.

9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to five weeks’ written notice of termination or payment in lieu (depending on the circumstances), and up to 16 weeks’ severance pay on redundancy (unless you are a small business employer or covered by an industry specific redundancy scheme), based on the employee’s total length of continuous service within the business.

10. Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – this 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 

11. Casual Conversion and Casual Employment Information Statement – Employers must give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement (the CEIS) before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job. The Statement provides a definition of casual employment, and information on applicable entitlements, including the circumstances in which a casual employee may convert to permanent employment.

BrightHR allows you to store employee profiles and key documents such as contracts and handbooks securely in the cloud and determine employee access. You can upload updated policies and handbooks, set reminders and notifications of key dates, and get read receipts once your employees have accessed the latest version.

FREE Modern Awards Guide Download

Australia’s Modern Award system can be difficult to understand. Here’s a guide to help you.

Who Do National Employment Standards Apply To?

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.

National Employment Standards for Casual Employees

Whether an employee is a casual will depend on what was agreed at the time they were employed. Casual employees are not entitled to paid annual or sick leave, like full-time and part-time permanent employees. Casuals are entitled to take carer’s leave, compassionate leave, family and domestic violence leave, and community service leave, all unpaid.

You must give new casual employees a Fair Work Information Statement AND a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) that sets out specific entitlements for casual employees whenever they first start working with you. The CEIS includes information on the definition of a casual employee and information regarding conversion of causal to permanent employment.

Long-serving casuals may be able to take long service leave depending on the applicable pre-modern award, an agreement, or state and territory legislation. If they have worked for you at least 12 months on a regular and systematic basis and can reasonably expect to keep on doing so, they may also have the right to request flexible working arrangements, as well as access to unpaid parental leave.

Employsure can help you understand the National Employment Standards and how they apply to your permanent and casual employees. Call us for free initial advice on 1300 207 182.

Get Workplace Advice Now

Call Our Team of Expert Advisers Who Will Help You with Your Workplace Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are The NES And Why Are They So Important?

    The National Employment Standards (NES) are the minimum standards of employment set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) which apply to all national system employees and employers. An award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can’t exclude or provide for conditions that are less than the NES.

  • Who Do National Employment Standards Apply To?

    All employees in the national workplace relations system under the Fair Work Act 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.

  • What Are The 11 Minimum Entitlements Of The NES?

    • Maximum weekly hours
    • Requests for flexible working arrangements
    • Offers and requests to convert from casual to permanent employment
    • Parental leave and related entitlements
    • Annual leave
    • Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave
    • Community service leave
    • Long service leave
    • Public holidays
    • Notice of termination and redundancy pay
    • Fair Work Information Statement and Casual Employment Information Statement
  • What Are National Employment Standards Used For?

    To ensure that minimum standards of employment are provided to all employees in Australia who are covered by the Fair Work Act.

  • Do The NES Apply To Everyone?

    The National Employment Standards (NES) are the minimum standards of employment set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) which apply to all national system employees and employers, covered by the Act and related industrial instruments such as modern awards and enterprise agreements. Some public sector, state and local government employees, and some private sector employees in Western Australia may not be covered by the Fair Work Act.

  • What Are The Types Of Leave Entitlements Addressed In The NES?

    • Parental leave and related entitlements
    • Annual leave
    • Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave
    • Community service leave
    • Long service leave
    • Public holidays
  • What Documents Might Affect Or Add To The Minimum Entitlements Applicable Under The NES?

    An award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can provide supplementary conditions but can’t exclude or provide for conditions that are less favourable to the employee than the NES. 

  • Does A Casual Employee Have The Same Entitlements Under The National Employment Standards?

    No, casual employees only get some NES entitlements including:

    • offers and requests to convert from casual to permanent employment
    • unpaid carer’s leave
    • unpaid compassionate leave
    • unpaid family and domestic violence leave
    • unpaid community service leave
    • the Fair Work Information Statement and the Casual Employment Information Statement.

    In addition, long serving casuals may be eligible for long service leave, flexible working arrangements and unpaid parental leave depending on the circumstances.

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn't been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call Now

1300 207 182

Live Chat

Click here