Employee entitlements and conditions

Listen to this article
Audio file

Key Points

  • all paid workers are entitled to minimum wage rates
  • all paid workers are entitled to minimum conditions of employment.


A wage is a payment made to an employee for doing their job. A wage can be paid on a regular basis or at the completion of the job.

Your employer is responsible for:

  • providing you with a payment nomination form to complete when you start a new job
  • paying your wages on the nominated pay day
  • providing you with a payslip for each payment.

How much you are paid depends on the type of employee you are, the type of job you do and how many hours you work.

Enterprise agreements and awards

For some workers their pay rate is determined by an enterprise agreement or award.

An enterprise agreement and an award are similar documents that both include the terms and conditions of your employment. These include wages, rates, leave, deductions, hours etc.

An enterprise agreement covers employees who work for a specific business. Find your enterprise agreement.

An award covers employees who work in a specific industry or occupation. The Fair Work Commission has more information on finding your award.

National Minimum wage

If your job is not covered by an enterprise agreement or an award, you are still entitled to the minimum wage.

The minimum amount that an employee can be paid in Australia is the National Minimum Wage.

The minimum wage is different for workers who are under 21 years old, are apprentices or trainees or who have a disability that affects their capacity to do their job. Find out more about the National Minimum Wage Order 2022.

National Employment Standards

Under the Fair Work Act 2009  the  National Employment Standards (NES) are the minimum standards and entitlements that must be applied to all employees in Australia.

They are:

Casual workers

Workers have different wage entitlements and conditions of employment if they are casual workers.

They are paid a higher rate. This is because they do not receive entitlements such as paid personal or annual leave.

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), casual employees are entitled to the following: 

  • able to access a pathway to become a permanent employee
  • 2 days unpaid carer's leave and 2 days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion
  • 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave (in a 12-month period)
  • unpaid community service leave.

If a casual employee has worked at the same job for 12 months, they can also request the following:

  • flexible working arrangements
  • unpaid parental leave.

Information for employers

If you are a business owner and employ people, FairWork have created a helpful resource, to help you learn more about your employees entitlements and how to manage your obligations and your responsibilities as an employer or business owner.

Case story

Tina had just started working. She looked up her award online and discovered that she was entitled to more pay than she was receiving. So, she printed out the information from the FairWork Commission website and spoke to her boss the next day. He apologised for the mistake. She was then paid the money she was owed the following pay cycle.

Story description

Real Life Story

I was at work, when I got the call that my ex-partner had been diagnosed with a serious illness. I needed to pick up our child from school and look after her, until her grandmother arrived from interstate in a few days. I had already used all my annual leave, when I went on a holiday earlier in the year, so I had no idea how I was going to afford to take unpaid time off work, to look after my daughter. When I told my boss about what had happened and that I needed to leave work early and would not be in for two days, he was really understanding. He told me that I could apply for compassionate leave, which would mean that I would still get paid. Knowing that I could be there for my daughter, and still be paid, was a huge relief!