What are Australia’s National Employment Standards?

What are Australia’s National Employment Standards?
The National Employment Standards (NES) are ten minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees, flexible working and parental leave.
by Square Apr 25, 2019 — 7 min read
What are Australia’s National Employment Standards?

The National Employment Standards (NES) are ten minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees. Together with awards that apply nationally for specific industries and occupations, the national minimum wage and protection from unfair dismissal, they form the Fair Work system – our national workplace relations system.

There are ten minimum entitlements for employees set out in the National Employment Standards. We have provided a summary below, all data and information referenced has been taken from the Fairwork website.

1. Maximum weekly hours

The NES mandates that an employer must not request or require an employee to work more than a certain number of hours in a week unless the additional hours are reasonable.

2. Flexible working arrangements

Flexible working arrangements might include changes to an employee’s hours of work, patterns of work or locations of work. New rules apply regarding the treatment of requests for flexible working arrangements, which mean that an employer must discuss the request with that employee and try to reach an agreement before responding to their request. Requests can only be refused on reasonable business grounds; if refused, the employer must provide the employee with a written response.


3. Maternity and parental leave

Employees can take parental leave when a child is born or adopted. When an employee, their spouse or de facto partner gives birth, or they adopt a child under 16 years of age, they may be entitled to maternity leave, paternity and partner leave or adoption leave. All employees who have responsibility for the care of a child are entitled to parental leave, though they must meet certain requirements to receive it.


4. Annual leave

All employees except casual workers are entitled to paid annual leave. Full-time and part-time employees get four weeks of annual leave based on their ordinary hours of work (for example, an employee who works 25 hours each week is entitled to 100 hours of annual leave). Shift workers may get up to five weeks of annual leave each year.


5. Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and family and domestic violence leave

These forms of leave are designed to help an employee deal with personal illness, caring responsibilities, family emergencies, family and domestic violence leave, and the death or serious illness of close family members.


6. Community service leave

Community service leave allows employees to be absent from work to assist with a voluntary emergency management activity (such as dealing with a natural disaster) or jury duty or selection. Employees must be a member of, or have a member-like association with, a recognised emergency management body to access community service leave.


7. Long service leave

Employees get long service leave after a lengthy period working for the same employer. Most employee’s entitlements to long service leave are mandated by state or territory laws which set out how long an employee has to work to get long service leave, and how much long service leave that employee gets.

8. Public holidays

Employees receive difference entitlements on public holidays, which may be different depending on the state or territory they work in. Fair Work provides a complete list of public holidays for each state and territory in Australia at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/public-holidays/list-of-public-holidays.


9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay

The National Employment Standards establish the minimum entitlement to the notice period, or payment in lieu of notice that an employer must give an employee to end their employment. An employer must provide an employee with written notice of the day of termination when ending their employment and must not terminate an employee unless they have given the minimum period of notice or paid the employee in lieu of giving notice.


Employees over 45 years old who have completed at least two years of service are given an additional week of notice.

10. Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), a Fair Work Information Statement must be given to each new employee when they start work. This statement contains information about the NES, modern awards, the Fair Work Act and Fair Work Commission, termination of employment and more.

A copy of the statement is also available on the Fair Work website at www.fairwork.gov.au/fwis.

This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about National Employment Standards, please consult a legal professional.

Related articles

A Guide to Public Liability Insurance
What is the Australian Consumer Law?
A Guide to GST and How it Applies to Your Business

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


Keep Reading

Tell us a little more about yourself to gain access to the resource.

i Enter your first name.
i Enter your surname.
i Enter a valid email.
i Enter a valid phone number.
i Enter your company name.
i Select estimated annual revenue.
i This field is required.

Thank you!
Check your email for your resource.

Results for

Based on your region, we recommend viewing our website in:

Continue to ->