What does the employer owe you?
I’m from the old school. I believe that the employer owes you a safe place of work, and whatever
terms and conditions have been laid out in the contract of employment. No more, and no less.
In Australia the “work deal” or contract of work is closely regulated and will usually refer to some
wider conditions of employment that the government has included in law.
Tese terms and conditions are not negotiable, and every employer must provide whatever is in the
award for that type of employment.
Typically awards contain things like:
• Hours of work
• Minimum pay
• Penalty rates (if any)
• Training
• Holiday entitlements
• Sick leave
Ten there are other things that the employer must provide
according to other (usually federal) laws:
• Safe place of work
• Taxation
• Superannuation
What the employer doesn’t have to provide
Notice that there are a few things the employer hasn’t included in the deal:
• Your happiness
• Not to hurt your feelings
• Forgiving you if you mess up
• Responding to any personal crisis you may have
• Responding to any personal commitments you may have
• A great boss
• A job for life
• Really interesting work
• Use of company equipment for private purposes
• Great co-workers
• Promotion after a period of time
All of these things are YOUR responsibility. Te things you have read in this book will help you be
positive and happy at work, leading to your greater self-worth.
Awards and Fair Work
I have kept the information on the legalities of employment to the end. I hope that these rules and
regulations will be something that is working for you and your employer in the background, and
doesn’t become an issue. A good workplace is one where you are not continually questioning your
work conditions.
However it is important that you know what the deal is and whether you are receiving your fair
work conditions. Unfortunately with frst time employees this sometimes is not true. Mostly this
happens because of innocent mistakes. But these mistakes occur sometimes because you are not
aware of your entitlements.
A good place to start is the Australian Fairwork website. It has really good information on what you
need know as a new starter (www.fairwork.gov.au).
Te frst thing to understand about work is that there are NATIONAL Employment Standards
(NES), covering the MINIMUM standards of employment and deal with:
• Maximum working hours
• Arrangements for requesting change to working hours
• Annual leave
• Sick leave
• Public holidays
• Notice of termination of employment
• Unpaid leave
• Parental leave
• Long service leave
Also all new employees MUST be given a “Fair Work Information Statement”
and this is a NATIONAL requirement for ALL jobs.
Hierarchy of agreements
Tere are three broad levels of employment engagement rules:
1. Fair Work National Employment Standards (NES)
2. Industry Awards
3. Business or Enterprise Agreements
Te general rule is that at a business level the employees and the business may negotiate certain
things to suit the business/ employees but neither party (employees or companies) can override the
MINIMUM standards in the Award or NES.
If there is no Industry Award, or Enterprise agreement, then the NES applies. It’s a safety net for