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:

  • 12 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 12 minimum entitlements:

  • maximum weekly hours of work
  • requests for flexible working arrangements
  • offers and requests to convert from casual to permanent employment
  • parental leave and related entitlements
  • annual leave
  • personal and carer's leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave
  • community service leave
  • long service leave
  • public holidays
  • superannuation contributions
  • 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
  • provision of a Casual Employment Information Statement.

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.

Awards and agreements

Most employees are covered by an award or registered agreement. 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 and the employee is covered by it.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides detailed information on employment conditions, including 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
  • family and domestic violence leave
  • long service leave
  • maternity and parental leave
  • community service leave.

Read more about long service leave entitlements in Queensland.

If an employee is injured at work or becomes sick due to their work, they may be entitled to workers' compensation.

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 and the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code
  • bankruptcy and liquidation
  • redundancy.

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

If you have been dismissed from your employment you may be able to make an application to the Fair Work Commission under either unfair dismissal or general protections dismissal laws. Applications under these laws must be received by the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of your dismissal taking effect.

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 ensures compliance with Australian workplace laws provided by the Fair Work Act 2009, and promotes harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations.

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.

Advice and support

The Workplace Advice Service is a free independent legal assistance program for small businesses and employees. The program, offered by the Fair Work Commission, provides advice on topics including:

  • dismissal
  • general protections
  • workplace bullying.

Read more about the Workplace Advice Service, including eligibility and how to request a consultation.

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