Not-for-profit Law
Legal help for community organisations

Employee entitlements

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Not-for-profit community organisations are bound by the same employment laws as any other employer. Working out the entitlements you owe your employees and meeting those obligations can seem overwhelming. These pages are designed to break down what you owe your employees and help you to navigate your obligations so you can identify if and where you need some more detailed advice.

Meeting the legal entitlements of your employees is vital - your organisation is breaking the law if it doesn't meet these obligations, and your organisation's success and development often hinges on your employees. Unless you meet their entitlements and treat them fairly and well, things can go very wrong! 
 
The legal obligations you owe to your employees can seem hard to follow, so this page is designed to provide you with information, and links to more detailed information, about the key legal obligations you owe to your employees.

Employee entitlements

An employment contract is the basis of the terms of an employment relationship. However, these terms are subject to:

  • certain minimum standards set out by the National Employment Standards; and
  • any applicable modern award or enterprise agreement under the Fair Work Act.

Further information on the National Employment Standards, modern awards and enterprise agreements is set out below.

Not-for-profit Law also has a fact sheet on 'Employment entitlements and protections' on The Fair Work System overview page

National Employment Standards (NES)

The NES sets out 10 minimum employment standards that apply to all employees under the Fair Work system. They include minimum entitlements for leave, public holidays, notice of termination and redundancy pay. All employers must comply with the NES.

The NES provides a safety net for all Australian employees and relates to:

  • maximum weekly hours
  • 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.

For more information on NES go to the NES website and read our Fair Work National Employment Standards fact sheet on our Fair Work System Overview page.  

Modern awards and enterprise agreements

Modern awards set out minimum employment entitlements for employees depending on their industry or occupation. The entitlements in awards apply on top of the minimum conditions in the NES. Employers must identify which modern awards apply to their employees, and ensure they comply with these modern awards.

Enterprise agreements sit above modern awards, and are created through negotiation between an employer and employees collectively - usually though a union. Not all employees will have an enterprise agreement in place with their employer. Enterprise agreements cannot exclude the minimum conditions in the NES. Read our fact sheet on modern awards and enterprise agreements on our Fair Work System Overview page.  

The Fair Work Ombudsman has an 'employment checklist' which provides an overview of your obligations and identifies where there are gaps. As the checklist states, you might then want to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for more information on specific areas.

What conditions are our employees entitled to apart from the NES?

This varies, but employees often have legally binding conditions of employment apart from the NES. These conditions might come from the relevant award or enterprise agreement, or a determination of Fair Work Australia which outlines the terms and conditions of employment that supplement the NES for that particular kind of employee.

For example, there might be extra conditions relating to penalty and overtime rates, loadings and allowances.

If you are not sure whether an award, agreement or determination applies to your new employee, and for more information go to the Fair Work Commission.

There is also information on awards at Business Victoria.

You might also like to contact a peak body for employers, like Jobs Australia or VECCI, to check that you are meeting your obligations, or visit the Business Victoria website for information and materials.

Employee legal entitlements 

The fact sheet below sets out some entitlements owed to employees. It contains information ragarding:

  • what is a Fair Work Information Statement?
  • what are the National Employment Standards?
  • what conditions are employees entitled to, and
  • managing employees.

Employee legal entitlements 

The fact sheet below sets out some entitlements owed to employees. It contains information ragarding:

  • what is a Fair Work Information Statement?
  • what are the National Employment Standards?
  • what conditions are employees entitled to, and
  • managing employees.

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