Your guide to National Employment Standards

The National Employment Standards (NES) detail minimum standards for all workers.

The NES contains 10 minimum standards of employment.

1. Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.

2. Requests for flexible working arrangements – in certain circumstances employees can request a change in their working arrangements.

3. Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave per employee, plus the right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, as well as other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption-related leave.

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

5. 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.

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 of jury service.

7.Long service leave – two months long service leave after 10 years employment with the same employer. Includes pro-rata long service leave after five years.

8. Public holidays – a paid day off
on a public holiday, except when an employee is reasonably requested to work.

9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to five weeks notice of termination and up to 16 weeks severance pay on redundancy, both based on length of service.

10. Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – must be provided by employers to all new employees, which must contain 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.

How does the NES apply?

The NES are minimum employment standards that apply to all permanent employees.

Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements can add conditions to your workplace agreement as long as they are favorable to employees.

There are severe penalties for breaches of the NES. If you are concerned that your employer is breaching the NES contact your union.

Who does the NES apply to?

Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements provide more detailed terms of employment, but cannot include anything less than is outlined in the NES.

Awards and agreements can allow:

•   Two days unpaid carer’s leave and two days compassionate leave per occasion

•   Maximum weekly hours

•   Community service leave (except paid jury service)

•   The ability to reasonably request a day off on a public holiday

•   Provision of the Fair Work Information Statement.

In addition, casual employees who have been employed for at least 12 months by the same employer on a regular and systematic basis and with an expectation of ongoing employment are entitled to:

•   Make requests for flexible working arrangements

•   Parental leave.