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National employment standards

5 November 2013

National Employment Standards

The Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) provides an employee with a safety net of minimum terms and conditions of employment through the National Employment Standards (NES).

There are 10 minimum workplace entitlements in the NES:
1. A maximum standard working week of 38 hours for full-time employees, plus ‘reasonable’ additional hours.
2. An entitlement allowing employees in certain circumstances set out in the Act to request flexible working arrangements such as to care for a child under school age.
3. Parental and adoption leave of up to 12 months (unpaid), with a right to request an additional 12 months.
4. Four weeks paid annual leave each year.
5. Ten days paid personal/carer’s leave each year, two days paid compassionate leave as required, and two days unpaid carer’s leave as required.
6. Community service leave for jury service or activities dealing with certain emergencies or natural disasters.
7. Long service leave pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
8. Public holidays and the entitlement to be paid for ordinary hours on those days.
9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay based on length of service.
10. The right for new employees to receive the Fair Work Information Statement.

A complete copy of the NES can be accessed at

Some conditions or limitations may apply to your entitlement to the NES. For instance, there are some exclusions for casual employees.

If you work for an employer who sells or transfers their business to a new owner, some of your accrued NES leave entitlements may carry over to the new employer.

Since 1 January 2010, a Fair Work Information Statement should be provided to all new employees by their employer as soon as possible after the commencement of employment. The Statement provides basic information on matters that will affect your employment. If you require further information, you can contact the Fair Work Infoline on 1313 94, visit or contact JMA Legal. 

Author: John English
This article is general information only and should not be relied on without obtaining further specific information.

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