The National Employment Standards are the minimum terms and conditions for employees in the national workplace relations system.
About the standards
The National Employment Standards (NES) are part of the safety net for employees in the national workplace relations system. The national minimum wage is the other part of the safety net.
These standards set the minimum terms and conditions of employment. They are in Part 2-2 of the Fair Work Act 2009.
Even if an employee is covered by an award, enterprise agreement or employment contract, those conditions cannot be any less than the minimum in the NES.
Some parts of the NES (parental leave and notice of termination) also apply to employees who are not in the national workplace relations system.
Some parts of the NES do not apply to casual employees, or apply to casual employees differently. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman's website for details.
Summary of the standards
We summarise these conditions below. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website to understand the full details.
- Maximum weekly hours – 38 weekly hours of work, plus reasonable extra hours.
- Flexible working arrangements – in some situations employees can ask to change how they work.
- Changing from casual to permanent (‘casual conversion’) – in some situations employees can ask, and employers must offer, to change the employment status from casual to permanent part-time or full time. Employers must give all casual employees the Casual Employment Information Statement.
- Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months' unpaid leave and a right to ask for an additional 12 months' unpaid leave. Also covers other maternity, paternity and adoption-related leave.
- Annual leave – 4 weeks' paid leave per year, plus an extra week for certain shift workers.
- Other leave – personal/carer's leave, compassionate and bereavement leave and family and domestic violence leave:
- 10 days' paid personal/carer's leave (includes sick leave)
- 2 days' unpaid carer's leave as required
- 2 days' compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required
- 5 days' unpaid family and domestic violence leave (in a 12-month period).
- Community service leave
- unpaid for voluntary emergency activities
- up to 10 days of paid leave for jury duty (after 10 days is unpaid).
- Long service leave – this varies for awards older than 2010 and newer modern awards.
- Public holidays – a paid day off on each public holiday, except where the employer reasonably asks the employee to work.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay – based on the employee’s length of service:
- up to 4 weeks' notice on termination (plus an extra week for employees aged over 45 and in the job for at least 2 years)
- up to 16 weeks' severance pay on redundancy.
- The Information Statements – employers must give the Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees, and must also give the Casual Employment Information Statement to all casual employees.
Note: State and territory laws may also apply to certain employees, and may be more beneficial than the NES.