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Employment Law Essentials: Know Your Rights as an Employee in Australia

If you’re working in Australia, it’s important to be aware of your rights as an employee. These rights are protected by employment laws to ensure fair treatment and a safe working environment. Here are the key points you need to know:

  • Minimum Wage: You have the right to be paid at least the minimum wage set by the government. This wage varies based on your age, experience, and the type of work you do.
  • Working Hours: Your employer should not make you work excessively long hours. In general, the standard working week is around 38 hours. Any extra hours worked should be compensated according to overtime rates.
  • Breaks: You’re entitled to regular breaks during your work hours. The break schedules may differ from workplace to workplace.
  • Safety at Work: Your employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment. This includes proper training, protective gear, and measures to prevent accidents.
  • Discrimination and Harassment: You have the right to be treated fairly regardless of your gender, race, age, or other personal characteristics. Any form of discrimination or harassment is against the law.
  • Leave Entitlements: You’re entitled to various types of leave, including annual leave (paid time off), sick leave (paid when you’re unwell), and long service leave (extra leave for long-term employees).
  • Parental Leave: If you’re having a baby or adopting a child, you have the right to take parental leave. This allows you time off to care for your new child.
  • Termination Rights: If your employment is terminated, you have rights to notice before the termination takes effect. You might also be entitled to redundancy pay if your job is no longer needed.
  • Unfair Dismissal: You cannot be fired unfairly. If you believe you were dismissed without a valid reason, you may consider filing a complaint with the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
  • Superannuation: Your employer is required to contribute a percentage of your salary to a superannuation fund. This fund is part of your retirement savings.
  • Privacy: Your personal information should be kept private and used only for work-related purposes.
  • Contract Clarity: If you have a written employment contract, it should clearly outline your rights and responsibilities, including pay, working hours, and conditions.

Remember that these are just the basic rights outlined in Australian employment law. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as an employee, you can reach out to the Fair Work Ombudsman for guidance. It’s important to be informed about your rights so you can ensure you’re being treated fairly and can take necessary action.

Author info:

John Bui is the Principal Solicitor of JB Solicitors. The firm primarily deals with matters across family law, criminal law, immigration law, property law, and commercial law. John is a nationally accredited family law mediator and arbitrator.


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