Know Your Work Rights and Get Paid What You Deserve

Congratulations, you’ve just got a new job! Or you’ve had one for a while now – even better! But are you sure you’re getting paid the right amount for all the passion and effort you put into it?

The Fair Work Act, and the National Employment Standards (NES) therein, provide Australia-wide minimum conditions, which apply to all employees working for a Pty Ltd employer in Victoria.

Some common questions regarding rights at work are:

How many hours per week can your employer ask to work?

Your employer must not request or require you to work more than 38 hours per week. Exceptionally, a requirement that you work more than 38 hours must be reasonable, taking into account factors like your health and safety, and whether overtime and other payments are made to you.

How much annual leave are you entitled to?

If you are a permanent employee, you are also entitled to paid annual leave, 20 days per year for a full-time employee, and the pro rata equivalent for a part-time employee. Casual employees do not receive annual leave.

What about personal/carers leave?

Permanent employees accrue up to 10 days’total personal/carer’s leave each year, to be taken when you are ill or injured, or when you must remain home to care for someone else who is unwell.

All employees are entitled to two days off if a member of your immediate family or household is seriously ill or dies. These days are paid if you are a permanent employee.

Do I have to work on a public holiday?

All employees are entitled to be absent from work on a public holiday. Permanent employees receive paid days off on public holidays if you are usually rostered on to work on that day. Casual employees do not receive pay if they are absent from work. An employer may only request or require you to work on the public holiday if it’s reasonable to do so, e.g. if you work in an emergency medical clinic. All employees who work on a public holiday are likely entitled to higher hourly rates on that day based on applicable penalty rates.

How much notice do you or your employer need to give if the employment is terminated?

Permanent employees are entitled to notice of termination, starting at 1 week for new employees, increasing by 1 week every 2 years of service afterwards to a maximum 4 weeks’notice. Casual employees do not receive notice of termination. The same amount of notice applies for employees who resign – if you as an employee don’t comply with the notice period your final pay can be docked pro rata.

Is your employer pocketing your wages for themselves?

We all want to get paid correctly! All workers in Australia are entitled to be paid a minimum wage, which is determined by the modern award you are covered by. Modern awards are documents that provide for minimum wages and conditions in different professions and industries. Under each modern award, you’re entitled to a minimum wage, a loading for casual employees, overtime payments, annual leave loading, penalty rates for night shifts and weekends, and allowances if you have a certain skill like knowing first aid, or use your own car to make deliveries. If your work does not fall under a modern award, you will be entitled to the national minimum wage, currently $16.37 per hour. If you are a casual worker, a loading brings you up to $20.30 per hour.

Want to know more about your rights?

If you’d like to know more about your rights, the MSA’s new Workers Advice Service (WAS) can give you general advice regarding your entitlements under the NES and modern awards, and direct you to other organisations that can help you. Also, the Fair Work Ombudsman has a helpline and online pay calculator that can assist you.

To receive advice or referrals from the WAS, email

The Fair Work Ombudsman website is: and you can find guides to the right pay here:


About author: Daye Gang (Policy Officer, MSA Workers Advice Service)

Tags : Employment
Daye Gang

The author Daye Gang

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