Australia has a well-developed employment system, designed to provide flexibility and certainty to both employers and their employees. This system is subject to Australian, and state and territory government requirements.
The central elements of this system include a set of national standards of employment for all Australian employees, occupational health and safety regulations, and superannuation (pension) payments. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and The Fair Work Commission (FWC) are the two key organisations in Australia’s workplace relations system. To understand the different roles of these two organisations, see the FWO: Fair Work System.
Further information on Australian employment conditions is provided below.
Forms of employment
Workers can be employed in a number of different forms in Australia. Each provides different levels of flexibility and stability for employees and businesses, and will impact on the employment agreement and type of entitlements that may apply. Workers can be either an employee or contractor.
Employers should consider which forms of employment best suit the needs of the business and its employees when deciding on which basis to recruit employees.
For information on the forms of employment in Australia, see FWO: Employment types.
Typical employment standards
All employees in Australia are entitled by law to the terms and conditions defined by national employment standards. Certain entitlements apply to casual employees.
These standards cover entitlements such as weekly working hours, requests for flexible working arrangements, leave and related entitlements, and termination and redundancy payments.
For further information, see FWO: National Employment Standards.
Information on the various employment agreements in Australia, including workplace agreements, awards, and agreements with independent contractors.
Australian occupational health and safety
Employers in Australia are required to maintain a safe workplace and meet Australian occupational health and safety requirements. These requirements also ensure employers are appropriately represented in the case of a workplace incident.
In addition to Australian Government legislation, state and territory laws govern occupational health and safety. A workplace authority in each state or territory provides advice on business’ obligations and the relevant policy.
For further information, see business.gov.au occupational health and safety. For particular state or territory information, contact the relevant jurisdiction or see business.gov.au: WHS requirements in your state or territory.
Workers’ compensation system
Employers in Australia are required to maintain a safe workplace and to maintain workers’ compensation insurance in the event of a workplace incident. This system is administered by the Australian Government.
In addition to Australian Government legislation, state and territory laws govern workers’ compensation. A workplace authority in each state or territory provides advice on business’ obligations and the relevant policy.
For further information see Workers’ compensation requirements. For particular state or territory information, please contact the relevant jurisdiction or see Safework Australia for further advice.
Australian Superannuation (Retirement Pension)
Superannuation is money set aside over the employee’s lifetime to provide for their retirement. Under Australian law, most employees are entitled to have superannuation payments made on their behalf by their employer. These payments are in addition to wages.
The Superannuation Guarantee law requires that all eligible employees receive a minimum superannuation payment per quarter, payable by their employer into the individual’s nominated superannuation account in a complying superannuation fund. For further information, see ATO: Employers Superannuation.
Personal income tax
Information on a business owner’s obligations for their employees’ personal income tax is available in the Guide under