All employees in Australia will have a common law contract of employment (whether written or unwritten) which specifies terms and conditions with their employer. This contract is subject to Australian Government, and in some instances state and territory government, legislative requirements.
The employment contract may be based on a workplace agreement between an employer and a group of employees or industry-based awards. Employment agreements should also be distinguished from agreements with independent contractors.
Further information on the different employment agreements is provided below. For particular state or territory employment conditions please contact the relevant jurisdiction.
A Workplace (or Enterprise) Agreement is a statement of reciprocal rights and responsibilities agreed between an employer and a group of employees.
These agreements allow employers to set employment conditions tailored to their business. The conditions in the agreement apply on top of the minimum conditions in the National Employment Standards.
For further information, see FWO: Agreements.
In some industries and occupations, employment conditions are set out in an award. An award is a legal instrument created by an industrial tribunal.
An award sets out employment conditions that apply for a specific industry or occupation. The conditions in awards apply on top of the minimum conditions in the National Employment Standards.
For further information, see FWO: Awards.
Independent contractors are individuals who are self-employed and contract their services to other businesses. An example of an independent contractor is an electrician who is specifically hired by a business to undertake electrical work as part of factory development. Independent contractors have different rights to employees.
For further information, see FWO: Independent Contractors.