Employment Law serves to protect the rights of both employees and employers, and regulates various aspects of employer and employee relationships to ensure they are in accordance with Australian jurisdiction and any contracts relevant to the specific matter. Employment Law protects employees’ and employers’ rights to fair working conditions by concerning and regulating aspects of the workplace such as enterprise agreements, minimum wages, hours, unfair dismissal, health and safety, industrial action, general protections, transfer of business, and all other rights and duties of both employers and employees. Legal professionals at Citilawyers possess extensive knowledge of all the mentioned workplace matters, in addition to a comprehensive understanding of all Australian legislation relevant to Employment Law. With years of expertise successfully handling a diverse range of workplace disputes and matters, we guarantee exceptional legal advice and service to procure the greatest possible outcome for all of our clients.
The Fair Work Act of 2009 governs almost all Australian workplaces and employer and employee relationships. It provides the standards for fair, productive work environments and sets out the responsibilities and entitlements of both employers and employees. The Fair Work Commission and the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman administer and enforce the Act to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions as well as outline the potential consequences if there is a breach of these terms and conditions.
Employee Entitlements and Rights
The Fair Work Act of 2009 includes a comprehensive description of the rights and protections all employees are entitled to possess in the workplace. Additionally, the National Employment Standards comprise the minimum required entitlements that all employees need to have. These ten entitlements for employees include:
Maximum 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours,
Requests for changes in working arrangements under certain circumstances outlined,
Parental leave and related entitlements – up to twelve months unpaid leave per employee, plus a right to request an extra twelve months unpaid leave, as well as other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave,
Annual leave – four weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers,
Personal or carer’s leave and compassionate leave – ten days paid personal or 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 a right to be paid for up to ten days for jury service,
Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for employees as stated in an applicable pre-modernised award, pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard,
Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work,
Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to five weeks’ notice of termination and up to sixteen weeks’ severance pay on redundancy, both based on length of service,
Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement
It must be provided by employers to all new employees, and includes information about the NES, modern awards, making of agreements, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, union rights of entry, transfer of business, and the roles of the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Additionally, employees possess the rights to protection from employer contraventions of the Australian workplace legislation. Employees’ protected rights at work include protection from:
Coercion – using intimidation or threats to force someone to engage in behavior against their will i.e. an employer commits coercion when they threaten to demote, fire, or slander the employee if they decline to commit a task incoherent with their will, so long as it is not a task required of them as stated in their workplace agreement.
Adverse Action against an employee for using a workplace right, not belonging to a union, and possessing a protected attribute. In addition, it includes firing, injuring, demoting, and discriminating against an employee.
Discrimination – firing, demoting, or acting adversely towards an employee due to their personal, protective attributes such as race, sex, religion, social origin, beliefs, pregnancy, and age.
Employer Entitlements and Rights
Employers are all protected from:
Adverse Action against an employer by an employee for ceasing work in the service of the employer or taking industrial action against the employee.
Coercion – employee threatening to not exercise workplace rights.
Misrepresentation – a person consciously making a false or misleading representation about the conduct or policies.
False Claims Against Employer – an employer has the right to request that the insurance carrier contest the comprehensibility of a claim if, for instance, the claim filed by an employee is false, exaggerated, or not related to the workplace; an employer is entitled to attend any hearings or proceedings related to an employee’s claim.
Employment Law and Litigation
Litigation is necessary when there is a serious breach of Australian employment legislation. Further, courts may impose the following orders:
Pay an amount of money as a penalty for not doing what the law says (of up to $10 800 per contravention for an individual and $54 000 per contravention for a body corporate),
Pay an employee their outstanding entitlements (plus interest),
Compensate an employee for damages or injuries suffered,
Give employee job back.
Do I need to have an Employment Contract?
It is important to consider entering a contract of employment to ensure clarity and understanding right from the beginning. The written employment contract governs the relationship between employee and the employer, sets out the basics of pay, leave, hours and notice periods, sets performance standards, and gives the employee notice of any particular conditions applicable to the employment.
If there is no employment contract, the law will imply the terms and conditions between the employee and employer. Implied terms can be dangerous for the employer. For example, it allows an employee to claim “reasonable notice” on termination, which can end up as being as much as twelve months. The terms and conditions implied by law or awards can be replaced by this clear termination and notice provisions through a properly drafted contract.
It is also worth reviewing or renewing contracts where there is a significant change in the role of the employee.
Citilawyers assists individuals and firms with all matters regarding these topics by giving professional advise and support. Therefore, feel free to contact us today!