National Employment Standards

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Many employers do not understand what the National Employment Standards (NES) are and who they apply to. The NES apply to all employees in the federal workplace relations  system. In general terms, this means all employees, except those employed by state government agencies and local government authorities.

In summary, the NES provide for the following minimum entitlements that all employees  in the federal workplace relations system are entitled to:

  1. Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week plus reasonable additional hours (or less than 38 hours for part time employees).
  2. Requests 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers (pro rata for part time employees).
  5. Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal  (or carer’s) leave (pro rata for part time employees), 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 who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
  8. Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday (but only for part time employees if ordinarily required to work on the public holiday), except where
    reasonably requested to work.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Only certain NES entitlementsf apply to casual employees. These are:

(a)  two days unpaid carer’s leave and two days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion

(b) maximum weekly hours

(c) community service leave (except paid jury service)

(d) to have a day off on a public holiday, unless reasonably requested to work by the employer

(e) provision of the Fair Work Information Statement.
In addition, casual employees who have been employed for at least 12 months by an employer on a regular and systematic basis and with an expectation of ongoing employment are entitled to make requests for flexible working arrangements and parental leave.
Please feel free to contact Christie Howson should you wish to discuss further.

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