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$ (AUD)

Work Hours


Officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia, it is a sovereign nation that includes Tasmania and several smaller islands. There is no official designated language, but much of the population speaks English. Australia hosts an incredibly diverse economy with a low rate of poverty and one of the highest average rates of wealth. Political and economic stability in conjunction with a strategic location makes Australia an ideal destination for expansion.

An employment contract in Australia can be verbal or written. Employment contracts are agreements between an individual employer and employee that establish the terms and conditions of employment. The terms and conditions in an employment contract must meet at least the minimum standards and entitlements contained within the National Employment Standards and any applicable award. When an employer has a registered workplace agreement in place, that agreement applies. If there is no workplace agreement but there is an award that covers the employer and the type of work being performed by the employee, then the terms and conditions within the award apply. Where there is no workplace agreement or award, then the minimum entitlements within the Fair Work Act and other legislation apply.

Working hours in Australia can be determined by an employer, the position held by an employee, or the sector an employer is operating in. The standard workweek in Australia is 38 hours, over five days. It is not uncommon for employees to work a 40-hour week and receive a half day (four hours) off every other week. Anything exceeding 38 hours per week is considered overtime. Overtime is paid at 1.5 times the ordinary rate of pay for the first three hours (two hours in some industries) and two times the basic rate after that.

Employees are entitled to sick and care leave in Australia. This is also referred to as personal/carer’s leave. Full and part time employees receive at least 10 days of paid annual sick and care leave, to use if unable to work due to illness or to care for an immediate family member who is ill. Unused leave is carried over to the next year. Employees can take any accumulated sick or care leave. Employees are paid at their base rate on days they are on personal/carer’s leave. Employees also receive two days unpaid leave to care for an immediate family or household member. Employees are not permitted to take unpaid care leave when they have available paid personal/carer’s leave.

In Australia, eligible parents are entitled to 20 weeks of Parental Leave Pay following the birth or adoption of a child. Pregnant workers may begin their leave up to 6 weeks in advance of the expected date of delivery, but no later than the date of the child’s birth.

Individuals must notify their employer at least 10 weeks before the child’s due date or date of adoption. Claims for Parental Leave Pay may be submitted up to 3 months before the child’s expected date of birth or adoption, and up to 52 weeks after.

The scheme provides eligible parents up to 20 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the national minimum wage. 

Employees in Australia are entitled to a basic minimum wage per hour/week and applies unless there is another agreement in place for the employer or industry. Most employees in Australia are covered by an award or enterprise agreement and are entitled to the minimum wage in the award or agreement. Bonuses are common in Australia and are based on annual pay or determined by an award or enterprise agreement..

In addition to public holidays, full-time and part-time employees receive four weeks of paid annual leave in Australia, but as many as six weeks is common. Employees working in shifts may get up to five weeks annual leave. Unused leave can be carried over. An employee may be required to take leave if carrying an excessive balance. Employees may be able to cash out or receive pay for unused vacation. Employees must retain at least four weeks of leave, there must be a written agreement each time leave is cashed out, an employee cannot be forced to cash out and the employee must be paid the same amount as if they had worked. Any unused leave is paid out on termination of employment.

In Australia, the public holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day

  • Australia Day

  • Good Friday

  • Easter Monday

  • Anzac Day

  • Independence Day

  • Christmas Day (with the exception of Heard & McDonalds Islands)

  • Boxing Day (with the exception of Heard & McDonald Islands)

Australia provides public healthcare coverage, Medicare, that covers the costs of most services provided by public hospitals. Private health insurance is common to cover expenses not covered by Medicare, such as dental and optical services. Many employers offer private health insurance benefits. Employers are required to enroll their employees in a superannuation scheme. When choosing which scheme to offer to employees, employers must consider: what the required retrenchment is in their state or territory, what supplier is best for the needs of its employees and what will be covered under the scheme. Each state and territory has legislation regarding superannuation.

In Australia, termination of employment can occur during the probation period, at the end of the contract term, by the employer (with or without cause) or by the employee. An employer can dismiss an employee without providing notice at the end of a fixed-term contract, for serious misconduct, or if the employee performs certain daily or season work. Serious misconduct includes theft, fraud, assault, failure to follow reasonable instructions and conduct that risks the health and safety of another person or the employer’s business. Absent a fixed-term contract or misconduct, employers must provide notice prior to terminating an employee. This includes employees still within the probation period. Employment contracts and other agreements can establish longer notice periods. Employers can provide pay in lieu of notice. Employers are required to pay severance to employees dismissed due to redundancy. This includes eliminations related to new technologies, business slow-downs, insolvencies, bankruptcies, offshoring and onshore relocations and restructuring. Employers with fewer than 15 employees are not required to pay severance. Employers may also reduce the amount of severance by applying to the Fair Work Commission. Employees may be required to provide notice on resignation. The notice period should be specified in the employee’s contract or other agreement. If no notice period is provided, the employee must provide reasonable notice.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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