The National Employment Standards (NES) are 10 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees.
The national minimum wage and the NES make up the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia. An award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can't provide for conditions that are less than the national minimum wage or the NES. They can’t exclude the NES.
The NES are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009.
- Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
- Requests for flexible working arrangements – an entitlement allowing employees in certain circumstances as set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 to request a change in their working arrangements because of those circumstances.
- Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave per employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, plus other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.
- Annual leave – four weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
- Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required.
- Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.
- Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for employees as outlined in an applicable pre modernised award, pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
- Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to five weeks notice of termination and up to 16 weeks severance pay on redundancy, both based on length of service.
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – must be provided by employers to all new employees, and contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, union rights of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman.