Know your rights

Recent articles from The Age, and rural news outlets like The Weekly Times have highlighted issues that international students and backpackers can face when trying to work and study in Australia. The government has rules and regulations in place to protect people from dishonest employers and it is important to know what is and isn’t within the law.

Before starting work of any kind, make sure that you understand your workplace rights and employment conditions. The main things to be aware of are:

  • Your pay must be at or above the minimum rate of pay and that you are subject to the work place conditions set for your area of employment or ' award' by the Fair Work Commission.
  • It is against the law to be paid 'cash in hand'.
  • You should be paid for all work you undertake (unless you are volunteering or doing work experience arranged through your education provider).
  • Take time to read through your employment contract before you sign it.

Visit the following links to find out more:

Fair Work Ombudsman for information about pay rates, working conditions, employment contracts, recruitment and dismissal.

Australian Human Rights Commission helps with discrimination and breaches of human rights in the workplace.

For non-students, the Working Holiday Visa can be extended for a second year if certain criteria are met. It comes with additional regulations and you can find out more here and here.

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