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Under the National Workplace Relations System, a unified set of rules have been created to govern various matters in relation to wages, conditions of employment, leave and other entitlements. Thus both employers and employees fall under a single national system which will not affect either party regardless of which state the business may be located in. As an employer there are two main areas of these rules that you may like to gain a better understanding of. These two areas relate to the 10 National Employment Standards (NES) and the modern awards system. Other areas of interest under the System relate to:

The National Employment Standards

It is useful for you to be aware of the 10 minimum standards prescribed by the NES which are applicable to all employees (except for casual employees in certain circumstances). The 10 standards are as follows:

  • A maximum of 38 hours of work per week;
  • Parents or carers of children may make requests for flexible working arrangements. For more information on these arrangements please see:;
  • Entitlement to unpaid parental leave for a maximum of 12 months with the option to extend leave for another 12 months.
  • Four weeks of annual leave per year including an additional week for employees who work a certain shift;
  • 10 days of paid personal or carer’s leave and 2 days of unpaid personal or carer’s leave. 2 days of compassionate leave are also included;
  • Community service leave to be given for voluntary emergency activities and jury service;
  • Long service leave to given to those employees who have met certain requirements;
  • Being given a paid day off on public holidays except where a reasonable request has been made for the employee to work;
  • Redundancy pay and notices of termination;
  • Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement which will inform employees about their rights and obligations under the Fair Work system.For more information on the NES, please visit:

Modern Awards

There are a variety of modern awards that apply to the home building industry which are relevant to all employers and employees under the Fair Work system. There are 5 main trade awards which are applicable under the home building industry. In order to know which award applies to any particular employee, clause 4 of the award should be read which will indicate the most appropriate award for the specific classification.

The National Minimum Wage Order

The National Minimum Wage Order is established on an annual basis by an Expert Panel of the Fair Work Commission. This Order covers the wages earned by employees who are not covered by either modern awards nor enterprise agreements. The Order which is effective for the period on or after 1 July 2013 until 1 July 2014 covers a range of areas including:

  • National minimum wage to the rate of $16.37 per hour for a standard 38 hour week;
  • Casual loading of 24%;
  • Special national minimum wages for employees with a disability;
  • Special national minimum wages for employees with a disability that prevents them from doing certain tasks;
  • Special national minimum wages for junior employees;
  • Special national minimum wages for apprentices;
  • Special national minimum ages for trainees.

More information about the National Minimum Wage order can be found at:


An understanding of the National Workplace Relations system is crucial to all employers in the Home Building Industry as it will allow you to provide the necessary entitlements and protections to your employees. For information on other employment matters that may be useful to you please see:


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