Minimum conditions of employment - NSW, Victoria & Qld

Analysis

Minimum conditions of employment - NSW, Victoria & Qld

With the probability of the Federal Government introducing new federal workplace legislation later in the year, references have been made to various state or territory employment legislation that will continue to provide a 'safety net' for certain employment conditions.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

With the probability of the Federal Government introducing new federal workplace legislation later in the year, references have been made to various state or territory employment legislation that will continue to provide a 'safety net' for certain employment conditions. The question is: what are actually provided as minimum conditions by state legislation?

Historically, state and territory governments have been slow in legislating minimum conditions of employment for workers not covered by the federal system, leaving the setting of minimum employment conditions to the appropriate state industrial tribunal.

Depending on the detail of the proposed federal workplace changes, the minimum employment conditions prescribed by state legislation may become increasingly relevant to employment conditions.

Overview

In recent days, the Federal Government has intimated that various state employment legislation may provide certain minimum employment conditions, in the absence of specific federal legislation. Examples of employment conditions referred to by Federal Government representatives include meal breaks and entitlement to public holidays. However, there is a general lack of state employment legislation which provides for such specific employment conditions.

Some jurisdictions, such as Queensland and Western Australia, have state employment legislation which provide basic employment entitlements for all workers in that State, but this is an exception. In referring to state employment legislation, however, it should be noted that a federal certified agreement or an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) currently override any state or territory legislation, and this is not expected to change under any new federal workplace system.

The following is a summary of minimum employment conditions which are prescribed by the relevant state legislation in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. A second article will cover the other state and territory legislation.

New South Wales

General conditions: There are no legislative minimum employment entitlements in NSW prescribed for conditions such as a minimum wage, sick leave, meal breaks or ordinary weekly hours of work.

Annual leave: The minimum conditions for annual leave are governed by the Annual Holidays Act 1944 [NSW], which prescribes four weeks' annual leave after each year of continuous employment, with an entitlement to payment of a proportionate amount of annual leave equal to 1/12th of the employee's ordinary rate of pay for each week of the incomplete year.

Long service leave: The minimum conditions for long service leave are governed by the Long Service Leave Act 1955 [NSW], which prescribes two months leave after 10 years continuous service. There is an entitlement to pro rata leave upon termination between five and ten years continuous service under certain circumstances, but no pro rata entitlement on termination for an employee with less than five years continuous service.

Parental leave: The Industrial Relations Act 1996 [NSW] provides for a minimum entitlement to all employees in NSW of up to 52 weeks' unpaid parental leave, ie. maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave, after twelve months continuous service with the employer.

Public holidays: There is no statutory entitlement to public holidays in NSW, however, the Banks and Bank Holidays Act 1912 [NSW] is used to provide the date of observance of any public holiday for the purpose of nominated days prescribed by an industrial instrument or individual contract of employment.

Victoria

General conditions: The minimum employment conditions for Victorian workers are prescribed in Schedule 1A of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 [Cth], which provides for conditions such as four weeks annual leave, eight days personal (sick) leave each year, 52 weeks unpaid parental leave, and a half-hour meal break after five hours, unless otherwise agreed, after commencing work.

Long service leave: : Up to 31 December 2005, the minimum conditions for long service leave are prescribed by the Long Service Leave Act 1992 [Vic], which provides for 13 weeks leave after 15 years continuous service. From 1 January 2006 - Long service leave is available after 10 years service. The actual period of leave entitlement remains proportionately the same - ie eight and two-third weeks' leave after 10 years' service.

Public holidays: The Public Holidays Act 1993 [Vic] provides for the observance of 10 named public holidays for all employees in Victoria.

Queensland

The Industrial Relations Act 1999 [Qld] prescribes a set of general employment conditions that includes, amongst other issues, entitlements to a range of leave provisions for all employees regardless of whether or not their employment is covered by an award or industrial agreement.

Minimum wage: The Act provides for a Queensland Minimum Wage for all employees whether or not they are covered by a Queensland award or agreement. The minimum wage is determined annually by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and is currently $467.40 per week.

Sick leave: The minimum sick leave provision applicable to all Queensland workers is eight days leave per year, accruing at the rate of one day for each six weeks of employment. Sick leave accumulates with the unused portion from any year being carried over as an available entitlement in subsequent years. There is no limitation on the amount of sick leave an employee may accumulate.

Annual leave: The Act provides for four weeks annual leave per year for all workers, with five weeks annual leave for seven-day shift workers, ie. a roster worked over 24 hours each day, seven days per week. There is no limitation on the amount of untaken annual leave an employee may accumulate. There is an entitlement to proportionate annual leave on termination of employment.

Long service leave: The Act provides for 8.6667 weeks long service leave after 10 years continuous service for all Queensland workers. Under certain circumstances, an employee is entitled to payment of pro rata leave on termination of employment if between seven and 10 years continuous service has been completed by the employee. There is no entitlement to pro rata leave on termination for an employee with less than seven years service. The Act also allows an employee to cash-out their long service leave entitlement, by order of the QIRC, under certain circumstances, eg. financial hardship.

Public holidays: The Act provides for 10 public holidays each year for all Queensland workers when a holiday falls on an employee's ordinary work day. An employee who works on a public holiday is paid ordinary rates for that day unless otherwise prescribed by the applicable industrial instrument.

Family leave: The Act provides for leave to be taken to care for an immediate member of the family or the employee's household when they are ill. Such leave allows an employee to access their sick leave credits, bereavement leave, annual leave or to make other arrangements with their employer.

Bereavement leave: The Act provides for at least two days bereavement leave on the death of a member of the employee's immediate family, or household, in Australia.

Cultural leave: The Act provides for up to five days unpaid cultural leave in each year, if the employer agrees.

Parental leave: The Act provides for 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave, ie. maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave, which is available to all Queensland workers, after 12 months continuous service with the employer.

Related

Howard sets revolutionary path for IR system

Principal IR and employment legislation in Australia

Check the various conditions of employment in the encyclopaedia.
 

 

Post details