Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is the National Employment Standard?

The new Fair Work Act refers to 10 minimum conditions of employment known as the National Employment Standard (NES). In short these are:

1. Weekly Hours of work are set at 38 plus reasonable additional hours.

2. Request for flexible work arrangements. A parent or carer of an under school age child or a disabled child under 18, may request from their employer a change in working arrangements in order to care for the child. Changes may include change of hours, change in patterns of work or change in location of work. Some conditions apply however; employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, the employer must respond to the request within 21 days, and the employer can refuse only on reasonable business grounds and must provide reasons for refusal.

3. Parental leave and related entitlements. In addition to 12 months entitlement of unpaid parental leave (after 12 months service) parents now have the right to request an extra 12 months unpaid parental leave. Each parent can take 12 months unpaid leave, or one parent can take 24 months unpaid leave.

4. Annual Leave. All employees are entitled to four weeks leave and the provision for all employees to cash out their annual leave provided an accrued balance of at least four weeks leave remains.

5. Personal / Carer’s Leave: All employees (except casuals) are entitled to paid personal or carer’s leave of 10 days per year, unpaid personal or carer’s leave of 2 days per year, and paid compassionate leave of 2 days per occasion. Casual employees are not entitled to paid personal leave but are entitled to unpaid carer’s and compassionate leave.

6. Community Service Leave. Employees may take unpaid leave for eligible community service, such as jury duty, and employers must top-up the employees’ pay in the case of jury duty for a period of up to ten days.

7. Long Service Leave. Will continue to be regulated by the relevant State provisions whilst the Commonwealth works towards a uniform national system

8. Public Holidays. Employees are entitled to eight national public holidays at the employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours that would have been worked on that day. The eight national public holidays now include the Queen’s Birthday Holiday, New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with state public holidays to continue as gazetted.

9. Termination. The reforms centre on managing undesirable behaviour through tighter performance management measures, including verbal and written warnings, and allowing employees time to rectify their behaviour. Small businesses that wish to terminate an employee must now follow the steps required in the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code so that the dismissal is considered fair

10. Provision of Fair Work information to all employees. On commencement of employment, employers must provide the Statement detailing the rights of employees and how to seek advice and assistance.

Link to NES at Fairwork

Back to Contents