If you choose to work during your time in Australia, know that you are entitled to certain rights. While your student visa poses restrictions on the maximum number of hours you can work, your workplace rights are no different to any other worker in Australia.
Employees covered by the national workplace relations system are entitled to National Employment Standards (NES). These include:
- maximum hours of work
- requests for flexible working arrangements
- parental leave and related entitlements
- annual leave
- personal carer’s leave and compassionate leave
- community service leave
- long service leave
- public holidays
- notice of termination and redundancy pay
- the Fair Work Information Statement.
While many of these standards apply to full-time and part-time employees only, there are some rights that are applicable to all workers, including casuals.
- Minimum wage: All workers in Australia are entitled to a minimum wage. You may be paid more than the minimum rate of pay, but it is illegal for your employer to pay you less. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator can help you work out the minimum rate of pay for your field of work.
- Pay: You shouldn’t be asked to do unpaid trial work beyond what is reasonably required to demonstrate the skills for the job (usually no more than one shift). You should also be paid for any meetings or training you attend, as well as any time you spend opening or closing the business. Your employer is required to pay you at least once a month and you should be given a pay slip within one day of being paid.
- Contracts: All employees should receive a contract or agreement, and you should be given the chance to read through it thoroughly. This should outline your rate of pay, when and how often you will be paid, any penalty rates or allowances you are entitled to, when you should take breaks and how much notice you need to give if you wish to terminate your employment. You should never be forced or pressured to sign anything you’re not comfortable with.
- Unfair dismissal: It is illegal for an employee to be dismissed based on their race, colour, gender, sexual preference, marital status or because they are sick or injured. It is also illegal for an employer to fire or demote you for querying any of your workplace rights (such as your rate of pay) or for submitting a complaint or request for assistance to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
- A safe workplace free from discrimination: You should feel both physically and mentally safe at your workplace. This means that your employer must meet Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) legislation and take steps to prevent bullying and discrimination.
If you would like more information about any of the points above, or if you think you are not receiving your minimum rights and conditions at work, see the Fair Work Ombudsman website.