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What workers need to know about employment law before starting their new job

Even though our job makes up such a significant part of our lives, most employees don’t know what rights and legal entitlements are until something goes wrong and they have to take their employer to court. Employees need to know their entitlements from contractual, Award and legislative standpoints. Employment law helps safeguard employees from being taken advantage of; promoting a safe and productive workplace.

What is Employment Law?

Employment Law is an area of the law that specifies the extent and limitations of relationships between employers and employees. It covers wages, working conditions, dismissals and discrimination in the workplace around race, age, sex and sexuality.

Employment Law is constantly being updated, from small to major reforms, to accommodate and protect individuals in the workplace. 

Most employees and employers are now covered by the national Fair Work Act 2009, and the Modern Awards which commenced under that Act in 2010. 

Employment Law helps employees to:

  • Be treated fairly and equally
  • Work in an environment that is safe 
  • Be allowed breaks for meals
  • Be allowed leave entitlements
  • Be allowed notice periods in the case of a dismissal
  • Be informed of rights and responsibilities
  • Exercise their workplace rights
  • Engage in industrial activity.

The Fair Work Act protects employees from discrimination due to:

  • Race, 
  • Colour
  • Sex
  • Sexuality
  • Age
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Marital status
  • Family or carer’s responsibilities
  • Pregnancy
  • National extraction or social origin.

Employment Law aids employers to:

  • Understand how to treat employees fairly and equally
  • Implement and promote ethical business practices
  • Improve their standing in the market
  • Boost their company’s productivity and morale. 

Minimum wages

Each year, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) conducts an Annual Wage Review of the national minimum wage, to which Unions and employer groups make submissions as to whether the minimum wage should be increased, and to what extent. In 2019, the FWC set a minimum wage of $740.80 per week or $19.49 per hour from 1 July 2019. Awards include different minimum wages for an employee’s classification under that award, no less than the national minimum wage. These Award minimum wages were increased by 3% from 1 July 2019. If you find that your employer is paying you below your classification’s minimum wage, you can seek the help of your Union, the Fair Work Ombudsman or a law firm like Taylor & Scott Lawyers to make a claim for underpayments.

The National Employment Standards

There are 10 minimum requirements that every employer has to provide. These are called the National Employment Standards. They include:

  1. Maximum weekly hours
  2. Requests for flexible working arrangements
  3. Parental leave
  4. Annual leave
  5. Personal/carers’ leave and compassionate leave
  6. Community service leave
  7. Long service leave
  8. Public holidays
  9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  10. Fair Work Information Statement

If employers don’t provide or give you access to any of the 10 requirements, you may need to contact a lawyer or your Union to ensure your rights are respected. 

What Taylor & Scott can do for you

With over 60 years of extensive experience representing our clients in all State and Federal industrial courts and commissions, Taylor and Scott Lawyers are able to provide expert advice and representation to all employees, employers, private individuals, contractors, small and medium business.

We aim to provide practical, efficient and cost-effective solutions for our clients’ workplace issues.

Our highly experienced lawyers will do everything they can to ensure that you receive maximum compensation. Ring us on 1800 600 664 or email us at info@tayscott.com.au.

At Taylor & Scott Litigation Lawyers, we care for you.