Fair Work Commission – National Employment Standards

In order to avoid breaches of Fair Work Commission legislation, it is essential that all employees have access to the National Employment Standards. In 2009 the Fair Work Commission introduced the National Employment Standards within the Fair Work Act 2009.

Below is a summary of the 10 minimum standards. For more detail please visit the Fair Work Commission website.

Maximum weekly hours

An employer must not request or require an employee to work more than the following hours of work in a week, unless the additional hours are reasonable:

  • For a full-time employee, 38 hours
  • For an employee other than a full-time employee, the lesser of 38 hours

Request for flexible working arrangements

What are flexible working arrangements?

Examples of flexible working arrangements include changes to:

– Hours of work (e.g. changes to start and finish times)
– Patterns of work (e.g. split shifts or job sharing)
– Locations of work (e.g. working from home)

Who can request flexible working arrangements?

Employees (other than a casual employee) who have worked with the same employer for at-least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements if they:

  • Are the parent, or have responsibility for the care of a child who is school aged or younger
  • Are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
  • Have a disability
  • Are 55 or older
  • Are experiencing family or domestic violence
  • Provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence

Parental leave and related entitlements

Employees can access parental leave when a child is born or adopted. Parental leave entitlements include:

  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity and partner leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Special maternity leave
  • A safe job and no safe job leave
  • A right to return to old job

All employees in Australia are entitled to parental leave when they have worked for a company for at least 12 months. How the leave is to be taken is detailed in the Fair Work Act 2009.

Annual leave

How much annual leave is an employee entitled to ?

Full-time and part-time employees accrue 4 weeks of annual leave, based on the ordinary hours that they work.

Example: annual leave for part-time employees.

Jane is a part-time employee who works 20 hours per week . She will accrue her leave based on 20 hours per week, meaning she will accrue 80 hours per annum.

How does annual leave accumulate?

Annual leave accumulates from the first day of employment, even if an employee is in a probation period. The leave accumulates gradually during the year and any unused annual leave will roll over from year to year.

Personal carers leave and compassionate leave

Sick and carer’s leave (also known as personal leave or personal/carer’s leave) lets an employee take time off to help them deal with personal illness, caring responsibilities and family emergencies.

Community service leave

Employees, including casual employees, can take community service leave for certain activities such as:

  • Voluntary emergency management activities
  • Jury duty
  • With the exception of jury duty, community service leave is unpaid

Public holidays

Public holidays can be different depending on the state or territory you work in. It’s important to know when public holidays are because employees can get different entitlements on these days. The full list of public holidays can be found on the Fair Work Commission website.

Notice of termination and redundancy pay


To end an employee’s employment, an employer has to give them written notice of their last day of employment. Notice periods are outlined in the Fair Work Act 2009.


Where an entitlement exists, applicable redundancy pay must be paid to employees who are being made redundant.

Fair Work Information Statement

Employers must give every new employee a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job. The statement provides new employees with information about their conditions of employment.


Above is a summary of the NES only and proper advice should be sought for the application of these entitlements. If you are still unsure of your obligations, consider the Industryus HR membership where you can call us for HR advice whenever you need it.

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