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Conditions of employment

The ten National Employment Standards (NES) cover all NSW workers. The ten NES are:

Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.

Requests for flexible working arrangements – allows parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’s care.

Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, plus other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave. 

Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.

Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required.

Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.

Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for certain employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.

Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.

Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.

Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – employers must provide this statement to all new employees. It contains information on such things as the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment and individual flexibility arrangements.

The entitlements you receive will depend on whether you are employed on a full-time, part-time, temporary or casual basis and which modern award covers your job.

Generally, if you work part-time you should receive all the entitlement of a full-time employee but on a pro-rate or proportional basis.

If you are a casual worker, you should receive an additional payment, called a loading, instead of sick leave and other entitlements.

Hours of work

The award or enterprise agreement you are covered by has information about your hours of work and meal breaks. Most full-time employees work 38 hours per week. Part-time employees work a regular number of hours and days each week, but fewer hours than full-time workers. Casual employees are employed on an hourly or daily basis.

Hourly rates of pay

Hourly rates of pay are specified in awards or agreements for each job classification as the lowest allowable rate payable per hour. They may include allowances and loadings. Hourly rates vary for full-time and casual employees. An employer can pay you above the award rate but not below.

Ordinary hours

The hours set out in an award that an employee works each day or week that are paid at normal hourly rates. Most awards provide that full-time or weekly employees work 38 ordinary hours a week.

Spread of ordinary hours

The ‘spread of ordinary hours’ in an award defines when ordinary hours apply. For example, where a spread of ordinary hours is between 6.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday it means that an employee working within that timeframe is paid at the ordinary hourly rate of pay. Overtime or penalty payments apply for work undertaken outside that timeframe.


Overtime is work performed in addition to ordinary hours. Overtime work must be paid at the overtime rates of pay specified in awards. [Fair Work Online homepage]



Copyright © 2011 Money Stuff

An initiative from NSW Fair Trading


Last Updated: 26 November 2012

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This information must not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information about this topic, refer to the appropriate legislation.

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