Employee Entitlements in 5 Points

What are my employees entitled to and what are my obligations?


Ensuring you are meeting your obligations to employees is not just a nice thing to do. In many cases you have legal obligations to them. This is the case when it comes to tax and pay, annual leave and parental leave, which are all covered by employment legislation.

So what are the key employee entitlements you need to know about?

Here are 5 key points on employee entitlements in Australia. 

1. Work Condition and Leave Entitlements 

Entitlements and leave provisions for many jobs are governed by the national workplace relations system, which includes modern awards and the National Employment Standards (NES). Employees covered by the national workplace relations system are also entitled to leave provisions as set out in the NES.

This is unless you’re operating in the Western Australian system. In this case you should refer to WA pay rates and WA hours of work, overtime and penalty rates.

The NES contains 10 minimum entitlements for employees, though these may differ for casual workers. These include:

  • maximum weekly hours of work
  • requests for flexible working arrangements
  • parental leave and related entitlements
  • annual leave
  • personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
  • community service leave
  • long service leave
  • public holidays
  • notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • provision of a Fair Work Information Statement.

You also need to understand the Paid Parental Leave scheme and your obligations.

2. Pay rates

Find out more about minimum rates of pay and use tools to calculate pay rates at the Fair Work Ombudsman website, where you will also find information on:

  • minimum wages
  • pay rates and conditions
  • pay slips and record-keeping
  • penalty rates
  • overtime
  • allowances
  • apprentices and trainees.

3. Awards

Awards, outlining minimum wages and conditions, apply to many employees but the award depends on the industry they work in or the job that they do.

You can get more information on awards and agreements from the the Fair Work Ombudsman.

All employees also have the right to join or not join a trade union if they wish.

If your employees are not covered by an award you may have the option of setting out wages and conditions of employment in an enterprise agreement or written contract of employment.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website also provides information about ending employment, including:

  • notice and redundancy calculator
  • notice periods and final pay
  • termination of employment
  • unfair dismissal
  • unlawful termination
  • bankruptcy and liquidation
  • redundancy
  • small business dismissals and the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

4. Superannuation

You will also need to understand your superannuation obligations and how you should make payments into your employee funds. In Australia you will need to use SuperStream to pay into superannuation funds. 

5. Employee health and safety

You are required to provide a healthy and safe work environment for your employees, visitors and customers. You need to understand and abide by Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws.

You will need to provide workplace health and safety training, fire and emergency training and Personal Protective Equipment where necessary.

Other employee entitlements relate to, though are not limited to, the right not to be bullied or harassed in the workplace, or discriminated against.

Since employee entitlements are governed by legislation, it’s critical that you consult, understand and adhere to your state/territory/national laws.