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National Fair Work system 

All private sector employers and employees in NSW are covered by the national workplace relations system. This means that all employers and employees in the national system have the same employment rights and obligations, regardless of the state their business is located in.

The national system includes a number of important features, which both employers and employees must comply with, including:

  • the 10 minimum National Employment Standards (NES) 
  • modern awards for specific industries and occupations 
  • a national minimum wage order (where it applies) 
  • protection from unfair dismissal.

The majority of State public sector and local government employees are not covered by the national workplace relations system and remain under the NSW state system.

To help employers and employees adjust to changes in pay rates, loadings and penalty rates under some modern awards, transitional arrangements are now in place for businesses previously operating under the state industrial relations system. 

Information on transitional provisions can be found in the schedule at the end of the relevant modern award

For more information on the national Fair Work system, visit Fair Work Online [Fair Work Ombudsman] or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

Modern awards 

Modern awards are industry or occupation-based minimum employment standards which apply in addition to the entitlements outlined in the National Employment Standards.

For more information on modern awards, visit Fair Work Online [Fair Work Ombudsman] or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

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National employment standards (NES) 

The NES outlines 10 minimum standards of employment which apply to all employees in the Fair Work system. However, only certain entitlements in the NES apply to casual employees.

  1. Maximum weekly hours of work - 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
  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 - four weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain 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 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, 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 Commission and Fair Work Ombudsman.

For more information on the National Employment Standards, visit Fair Work Online [Fair Work Ombudsman] or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94

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