Of all the different types of employment relationships, permanent employment offers workers the most benefits and entitlements. However, to ensure that you receive them, you need to understand what they are. This article discusses what you, as a permanent employee, should look for in your permanent employment contract.

Permanent Employment

As a permanent employee, you work on a predictable and ongoing basis. Your employment only ends if you or your employer chooses to terminate it. You can either work full-time or part-time. Full-time employees work approximately 38 hours per week. These hours are either as agreed or are set in the relevant award, agreement or contract. A full-time worker has all of the benefits and entitlements of continuous employment.

Part-time employees work less than 38 hours per week. Similar to full-time employees, their working hours are regular. They receive all the same benefits as full-time staff but on a pro-rata basis. Pro-rata means that their benefits and compensation is calculated according to the number of hours worked.

What To Look For in Your Permanent Employment Contract

As a permanent employee, your employer must, at a minimum, give you all of the entitlements listed in the National Employment Standards (NES). The NES are ten minimum entitlements that apply to all employees in the national workplace system. However, casual employees are only entitled to four of them.

As a permanent employee, you need to check that your agreement provides you with all of the NES entitlements.

The NES covers rights about:

  • maximum weekly hours;
  • requests for flexible working arrangements;
  • parental leave and related entitlements;
  • annual leave;
  • personal carer’s leave and compassionate leave;
  • community service leave;
  • long service leave;
  • public holidays;
  • notice of termination and redundancy pay; and
  • the Fair Work Information Statement.

1. Maximum Weekly Hours

Your agreement must specify your ordinary hours of employment. It should also detail:

  • your maximum ordinary hours (expressed as days, weeks, months);
  • your minimum ordinary hours in a day; and
  • the times when you will work them (your spread of hours).

The NES guarantees that you can only be required to work a maximum of 38 ordinary hours per week. Your agreement cannot require you to work more than that amount of ordinary hours.

2. Flexible Arrangements

You can request flexible work arrangements if you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. You must also:

  • be a parent or care for a child school-aged or younger;
  • be a carer;
  • have a disability and qualify for a disability support pension;
  • be 55 years old or above;
  • be experiencing family or domestic violence; or
  • be providing care or support to an immediate family member or household member who is experiencing family or domestic violence.

A flexible work arrangement could involve changing your:

  • location of work;
  • pattern of work (for example, job sharing); or
  • hours of work.

You should check your agreement and whether it allows you to make this request if you meet the criteria. Your employer can only refuse a request for flexible work on reasonable business grounds.

3. Parental Leave

The NES provides access to parental leave. Parental leave includes:

  • maternity leave;
  • paternity or partner leave;
  • adoption leave; and
  • special maternity leave.

This entitlement also provides for safe job and no safe job leave if you experience health difficulties while pregnant. You also have the right to return to your job after your leave ends.

4. Other Leave Entitlements

You need to check that your agreement gives you all minimum leave entitlements.

All permanent staff have the right to annual leave. It is typically for four weeks per year for full-time staff. Part-time staff have their leave calculated based on the number of ordinary hours worked. You also have access under the NES to:

  • personal carer’s leave;
  • compassionate leave;
  • community service leave; and
  • long service leave (provided you meet all relevant criteria).

Be aware that your personal leave (for personal illness) is included under personal carer’s leave. It is usually ten days per year for full-time staff.

5. Public Holidays

As a permanent staff member, you also receive all public holiday entitlements. This includes a right to be away from work on a public holiday and to be paid if the public holiday falls on a normal working day. In addition, you have the right to reasonably refuse work on a public holiday. Your agreement should provide you with these.

6. Notice

You must give your employer notice if and when you decide to leave your employment. It is advisable to check your permanent employment contract to see when you must provide notice. You should also check any requirements as to how to give notice.

If your employer terminates your employment, they must notify you in writing and provide you with a notice period. They can simply pay you for this period, or you can continue working as normal during this period.

You should make sure that your agreement provides a specific course of action for these matters.

Also, you should be aware of the circumstances under which your employer can terminate you. If you later consider making an unfair dismissal claim, you need to know such information. However, in cases of serious misconduct, your employer does not need to provide notice of termination. They must only pay you any outstanding entitlements.

7. Redundancy

Check that your agreement requires your employer to consult with you before making any redundancies. If you are made redundant, you have the right to redundancy pay.

Be aware that you cannot claim unfair dismissal if the redundancy is genuine at law. This may be because your employer no longer needs your position filled or has engaged in appropriate consultation.

8. Fair Work Information Statement

Along with your permanent employment contract, your employer must also give you a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement.

9. Other Considerations

Check that your permanent employment contract guarantees you a safe workplace free from harassment and discrimination. Your employer also needs to pay all appropriate superannuation contributions and withhold income tax as required. You should also receive regular payslips.

Key Takeaways

If you are a permanent full-time or part-time employee, you should ensure that you are receiving all the correct entitlements. These entitlements are set out in the National Employment Standards (NES) and permanent employees are entitled to all of them. If you have questions about your employment entitlements, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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