The National Employment Standards (NES) are a set of entitlements that have to be provided to all employees. An employment contract, Award, or Enterprise Agreement cannot provide for less than the national minimum wage or the NES. 

The NES are: 

  1. A maximum of 38 hours of work per week, plus reasonable additional hours 

  2. Certain employees can request flexible working arrangements 

  3. Up to 12 months unpaid parental leave, and the right to request an extra 12 months unpaid leave 

  4. Four weeks paid annual leave per year, plus an extra week for some shift workers 

  5. 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave, two days of unpaid carer’s leave, two days of compassionate leave, and five days of unpaid family/domestic violence leave (per year) 

  6. Unpaid leave for voluntary community service activities, and 10 days of paid leave for jury service 

  7. Paid long service leave for workers who have been with the same employer for a long time 

  8. Paid day off on public holidays, except where reasonably requested to work 

  9. Up to five weeks notice of termination of employment, and up to 16 weeks of redundancy pay 

  10. Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees 

However, only certain entitlements apply to casuals. As a casual, you are entitled to: 

  • Maximum weekly hours 

  • Two days unpaid carer’s leave and two days unpaid compassionate leave per occasion 

  • Five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave (in a 12-month period) 

  • Community service leave (except paid jury service) 

  • Public holidays 

  • Provision of the Fair Work Information Statement 

Long term casuals, who have been employed as a casual on a regular and consistent basis by the same employer for at least 12 months, can request flexible working arrangements and may be entitled to parental leave. 

Awards and Agreements cannot exclude or provide for less than the NES. However, Awards and Agreements can vary the NES, or provide additional entitlements. 

(Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) Part 2.2)

What do I do if I think I am not getting what I am entitled to? 

If you have a question about your entitlements, get in touch with us. We can give you advice about what your entitlements are, and help you decide what to do. We can also direct you to other people who can help.  

To find out more about how to join your union, visit or have a look at our fact sheet here.

Authorised by M Harrison for UnionsACT, 11 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601.

Did this answer your question?