As a Business owner or Manager, it’s really important to know about the Fair Work Act (FWA) and the National Employment Standards (NES) and be fully aware of your obligations to your employees.
The FWA was introduced in 2009. It’s there to set out yours and your employee’s rights and responsibilities while at work. It includes things like unfair dismissal, the 10 NES, adverse action and redundancy. As in employer, it’s imperative that you understand the impact of these obligations on your business as fines ($10,800 for an individual or $54,000 for a corporation!) and other penalties may be imposed by Fair Work Australia.
The NES sets out 10 minimum workplace entitlements to full-time and part-time employees. Be aware that some of these entitlements do not apply to casual employees!
What are the NES entitlements?
- Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
- Request for flexible working arrangements – allows parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’s care.
- Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, and other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.
- Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
- 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
- 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.
- Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
- Public holiday – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks’ notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service)
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – employers must provide this statement to all new employees. It contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, right of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
If you need assistance in understanding your employee’s entitlements according to the FWA and NES, call us at HR Gurus, we can help!
Written by resident HR Guru, Alysha Munro