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Aboriginal Community Engagement Unit

NSW IR's Aboriginal Community Engagement Unit provides information and advice on industrial relations, employment and related matters to help improve the employment conditions experienced by Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders in New South Wales.

Since 2001 the Unit has been assisting Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders in NSW to understand their rights and responsibilities as employers, managers and employees.

In particular, the Unit advises Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders on the laws relating to pay rates, employment conditions, leave entitlements, work practices, issues covering recruitment and termination of employment, payslips and employment records.

Call us on: 1300 361 968

Or email us at [email protected]

Information and Advisory Service

The Aboriginal Community Engagement Unit provides a statewide telephone, and e-mail, enquiry service to indigenous people on Federal and NSW industrial laws, award entitlements and other employment related issues. They include:

  • pay rates
  • employment conditions
  • leave entitlements and work practices
  • basic issues covering recruitment and termination of employment
  • payslips and employment records.

The Unit provides initial telephone/e-mail information, identifies options and facilitates contact and refers clients to appropriate agencies wherever possible.

The Unit works closely with a number of government agencies to undertake visits to regional areas of NSW to:

  • educate indigenous employers and employees of their industrial rights and responsibilities; and
  • promote awareness about the services offered by the Unit and other agencies.

Information Sessions and workshops

The Aboriginal Community Engagement Unit conducts workshops for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on employment issues, Federal and NSW employment laws, minimum standards of employment and best employment practices.

Workshops are conducted on request, through community organisations and with other government agencies. This service is provided in the Sydney metropolitan and regional areas throughout NSW.

ACEU recorded webinar

Frequently Asked Questions

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How much notice do I get if I am on a probation period?

Being on a probation period will not change the amount of notice that an employee would receive on termination. The notice period is found under the National Employment Standards. The amount of notice is based on the employee’s years of service with an employer. The amount of notice is capped at five weeks.

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What happens if I get sick during my notice period?

You can use your personal/carer’s leave during your notice period. The same rules will apply as if you were not working out a notice period – you would need to give your employer as much notice as possible that you are unable to work. Your employer may also ask for evidence about why you were unable to work.

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Can I take annual leave during my notice period?

Yes. If you wish to take annual leave during your notice period, you can request a period of annual leave form your employer. As with all types of leave requests, a request for annual leave should be done as soon as possible. Your employer would need to agree to the request. An employer cannot unreasonably refuse your request to take annual leave.

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Can my employer make me take annual leave instead of working out my notice?

No, your employer can either:

  • ask you to work out your notice period, or
  • pay you instead of  giving you the required notice as per the National Employment Standards.

An employer would need to pay you at least the amount that you would get if you worked during the notice period. As an example, if you were entitled to 1 weeks’ notice, you would receive 1 weeks’ pay instead.

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What would be serious misconduct?

Examples of serious misconduct are:

  • theft
  • fraud
  • assault
  • being drunk at work
  • refusing to do something that is lawful and reasonable that is a part of your job
  • seriously risking someone else’s health or your employer’s business
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What are general protections?

The Fair Work Act 2009 prohibits employers from firing employee’s  for certain reasons.

For an example, you cannot be fired because of:

  • your age, race or sex
  • being away from work because you are sick or injured
  • making a complaint against your employer
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Does an employer have to give three warnings before sacking an employee?

No, an employer does not have to give three warnings to an employee before a termination – however, it is advisable to give an employee at least one warning. An employer should always follow their termination policy regarding how many warnings are to be given. If an employee is dismissed and that employee was to claim an unfair dismissal claim against an employer – the Fair Work Commission may look at the process that has been taken to dismiss the employee – was the employee told that there was an issue regarding their performance or conduct and that a termination may occur if their performance or behaviour of the employee does not improve.

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I worked over the weekend/ a public holiday – should I get paid more?

This will depend on the type of work that you do and whether or not you are covered by a modern award.  If you are covered by a modern award or an enterprise agreement, check what the award or agreement states regarding working on the weekend or on a public holiday.

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Can new employees be paid as a trainee whilst they are on a probation period?

An employee can oly be paid as a trainee if the employee is doing a registered traineeship that is recognised in NSW. An employee cannot be paid on a trainee wage if they are new to the organisation or on a probation period.

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Can my employer send me home without pay if it is quiet?

Can my employer send me home without pay if it is quiet?

Common Modern Awards