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Employee entitlements and awards

All private sector employers in Queensland are covered by the Fair Work national workplace relations system. As an employer, you must provide your employees with the minimum entitlements under this system, or you could face penalties.

The Fair Work system provides for the minimum employment standards and regulates on a range of employment and industrial matters.

The key features of the Fair Work system are:

  • 10 minimum National Employment Standards
  • awards that apply nationally for specific industries and occupations
  • the national minimum wage
  • protection from unfair dismissal.

Awards, together with the National Employment Standards and the national minimum wage, make up a safety net of entitlements for employees covered by the Fair Work system.

National Employment Standards (NES)

The NES are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009. All Australian workers covered by the NES are provided these 10 minimum entitlements:

  • maximum weekly hours of work
  • requests for flexible working arrangements
  • parental leave and related entitlements
  • annual leave
  • personal and carer's leave and compassionate leave
  • community service leave
  • long service leave
  • public holidays
  • notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • provision of a Fair Work Information Statement, which includes information about NES, pay details, termination of employment and leave.

Pay rates

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information, tools and resources to help you calculate pay rates for your employees, including:

  • minimum wages
  • pay rates and conditions
  • pay slips and record-keeping
  • penalty rates
  • overtime
  • allowances
  • apprentices and trainees.


Most workplaces in Australia are now covered by awards. Awards apply to employees depending on the industry they work in or the job that they do. The minimum wages and conditions an employee is entitled to are set out in awards. Awards don't apply when a business has an enterprise agreement or other registered agreement in place.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides detailed information on awards and agreements, and tools to help you work out what awards your employees are covered by.


Your employees have certain leave entitlements under the NES that are detailed on the Fair Work Ombudsman website. These entitlements cover:

  • annual leave
  • sick and carer's leave
  • public holidays
  • compassionate and bereavement leave
  • long service leave
  • maternity and parental leave
  • workers' compensation
  • community service leave.

Read more about long service leave entitlements in Queensland.

Paid parental leave

The Australian Government's Paid Parental Leave scheme provides financial support for new parents while they're off work caring for a newborn or recently adopted child. It does not change existing leave entitlements under the NES or give employees a new entitlement to leave.

You may be required to provide government-funded Parental Leave Pay to an employee. Find out more about what the Paid Parental Leave scheme means for you.

Ending employment

The NES outlines the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees regarding termination of employment.

If you decide to dismiss an employee, you need to be aware of your legal obligations and make sure the dismissal is not unfair or unlawful.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website provides information about ending employment, including:

  • notice and redundancy calculator
  • notice periods and final pay
  • termination of employment
  • unfair dismissal
  • unlawful termination
  • bankruptcy and liquidation
  • redundancy
  • small business dismissals and the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

Read more about notice periods and final pay when employment ends.

Fair Work institutions

Fair Work Commission

Fair Work Commission is the national workplace relations tribunal. It is an independent body that deals with a range of issues including unfair dismissal, industrial action, workplace disputes and minimum conditions of employment.

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman monitors compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, and provides support for employers, employees, contractors, other workers and the community about the NES and other employment issues.

Fair Work Divisions of the Court

Special divisions of the court have been developed to hear workplace-related law matters.

Read more about the Federal Circuit Court of Australia's Fair Work jurisdiction.

Record keeping

You are legally obligated to keep records about staff pay, such as pay slips and time sheets.

The Fair Work Ombudsman outlines employer record keeping obligations and the ATO provides a record keeping evaluation tool to help you work out what records you need to keep for the whole of your business.

Read more about record keeping for tax purposes.

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