All about Employment Contract in Australia [updated]
By Will Elton, Updated: 2023-05-24 (published on 2019-01-19)
What is Contract of employment?
An employment contract is a writing or verbal statement that contains terms and conditions of employment set out between employer and employee. Employment agreement includes the rights and responsibilities of both the employee and employer.
Employment contract in Australia.
All employees in Australia will have a common law of employment contract (whether written or unwritten) which specifies terms and conditions with their employer. This contract is subject to Australian Government, and in some instances state and territory government, legislative requirements. So one should know about employment contract before signing.
An employment agreement should be different than agreements with independent contractors. Contract of employment is not same all around Australia, articular state or territory employment conditions you can contact the relevant jurisdiction. Employment contract is important for both employer and employee.
The contract may be based on workplace agreement between group of employee and an employer or industry-based awards.
Workplace agreement gives authority to the employer to set conditions tailored to their business. Basically, it contains top of the minimum conditions in the National Employment Standards. Effective contract management plays a crucial role in ensuring that workplace agreements accurately reflect the specific needs and requirements of the employer while remaining compliant with relevant employment laws and regulations. By engaging in comprehensive contract management practices, employers can carefully craft and negotiate workplace agreements that go beyond the minimum standards, addressing key aspects such as working hours, leave entitlements, remuneration, and other employment terms. This allows employers to create a fair and customized framework that suits their business operations, promotes employee satisfaction, and fosters a productive work environment.
A Workplace (or Enterprise) Agreement is a statement of reciprocal rights and responsibilities agreed between an employer and a group of employees.
It can be applied to
- one business or a group of businesses, or
- an individual employee (but these types of agreements can’t be made anymore).
When a workplace has a registered agreement, the award doesn’t apply. However:
- the base pay rate in the registered agreement can’t be less than the base pay rate in the award
- the National Employment Standards still apply
- any terms about outworkers in the award still apply.
Registered agreements apply until they are terminated or replaced.
Awards (modern awards) are legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment.There are more than 100 industry or occupation awards that cover most people who work in Australia.
A legal document that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment is an Award. It is created by an industrial tribunal
Specific industry or Occupation has set out employment condition. The conditions in awards apply on top of the minimum conditions in the National Employment Standards.
An employer may cover more than one award;
The employees job is the factor that determine weather he/she can have multiple awards or not:
Example: 2 awards applying to 1 employer
Jo runs a building and construction business. He has qualified carpenters as well as office staff who do administration work. 2 awards will apply to his business:
- Building and Construction Award – for his qualified carpenters
- Clerks Award – for his office staff.
Independent employment contract
Self-employed employee uses Independent contract in australia. They contraect their service to other business.
An example of an independent contractor is an painter who is specifically hired by a business to undertake pain work. Independent contractors have different rights to employees.
Ensure about legal minimums in employment contract in Australia.
An employment contract cannot have less than the legal minimum set out in:
- the National Employment Standards (NES)
- awards, enterprise agreements or other registered agreements that may apply.
All employees in australia are covered by the NES, regardless of whether they’ve signed a contract. Contract of employment contract can’t make employees worse off than their minimum legal entitlements by law.
Here are the list of site to get Legal advice:
The Fair Work Commission (the Commission) is the independent national workplace relations tribunal. It carries out a range of functions relating to awards and agreements, termination and industrial action and disputes.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is responsible for ensuring cooperative, productive and harmonious workplace relations in the building industry.
The Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) is the independent regulator of unions and employer associations. It promotes compliance with financial reporting, efficient management and high standards of accountability.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides a number of tools and resources to help employers, owner drivers and hirers meet their tax obligations.
Workplace health and safety
Each state and territory has a local workplace health and safety body, which regulates and investigates breaches of laws about workplace health and safety, including bullying and harassment.
- Australian Capital Territory: Work Safe ACT
- New South Wales: SafeWork NSW
- Northern Territory: NT WorkSafe
- Queensland: Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
- South Australia: SafeWork SA
- Tasmania: WorkSafe Tasmania
- Victoria: WorkSafe Victoria
- Western Australia: WorkSafe WA
Safe Work Australia is the statutory agency leading the development of national policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.
Comcare (Commonwealth) works with employees and employers to minimise the impact of harm in the workplace.
We can help with discrimination issues in the workplace. To find out how we can help go to Protection from discrimination at work.
The Australian Human Rights Commission are responsible for leading the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia. They can also help with discrimination issues including resolving complaints of discrimination under federal laws.
Each state and territory has a local anti-discrimination body, which regulates and investigates breaches of state and territory anti-discrimination laws.
- ACT Human Rights Commission
- Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales
- Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission
- Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland
- Equal Opportunity Commission – South Australia
- Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner – Tasmania
- Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
- Equal Opportunity Commission – Western Australia
- Australasian Legal Information Institute provides access to legislation and court judgements as well as summaries on the law.
- Commonwealth of Australia Law ComLaw provides online copies of Commonwealth legislation and related documents.
- The Federal Court of Australia has jurisdiction to deal with most civil disputes, along with some criminal matters.
- The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in Australia and decides cases of federal significance and hears appeals from Federal, State and Territory courts.
- Legal aid in each state and territory may be able to provide legal advice or assistance.