A central feature of the new system is the 10 new National Employment Standards (NES) set out in the Fair Work Act as minimum conditions for all employees, as follows:

  • Ordinary hours set at a maximum of 38 per week, plus ‘reasonable additional hours’
  • Employees given the right to request flexible working in certain circumstances
  • Most employees to be eligible to apply for up to 24 months of unpaid leave in relation to the birth or adoption of a child
  • Most employees to be entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks annual leave per year. Shift workers to be entitled to 5 weeks per year
  • Most employees become eligible for personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
  • Most employees become eligible for up to 10 paid community service leave days per year
  • New, uniform Long Service Leave entitlements to be agreed by all state and territory governments – in the meantime existing State laws continue to apply
  • Certain public holidays to be guaranteed
  • New termination and redundancy pay and notice entitlements to apply to most employees
  • A Fair Work Information Statement to be provided to all new employees

Employers who breach the Standards face personal penalties of up to $6,600 and their businesses face penalties of up to $33,000.

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