The Labour market in Australia remained stable even after recession. As per the Australian Government’s Report on “Australian Labour Market – January 2012” (“Report”) the unemployment rate fell down to 5.1 per cent in January 2012, due to growth in part – time employment (approximately 34,000 persons) and a modest rise in full-time employment (approximately 12,300 persons).

As per the Australian Government, the growth in annual employment is affected not only by worldwide economic downturn, but also due to the slower rate of population growth. As per the Report, Tasmania recorded 7 percent unemployment rate, one of the highest recorded in the state ever.
Since 1 January 2010, the National Employment Standards (“NES”) covered everyone in the national workplace relations system as per The Fair Work Act, 2009. The NES provided 10 minimum work conditions for employees and along with the National Minimum Wage, it provided a minimum safety net for employees. The minimum wage for an employee in Australia is $15.96 per hour or $606.40 per week.
As per the new system, the maximum standard working week of full time employees is 38 hours. An employee may work for extra hours, if required, however subject to his approval. An employee may request flexible working hours for taking care of a school going child or a child with disability. An employee may also demand 12 months of unpaid parental and/or adoption leave after the birth or adoption of a child. The employee also has the right to four weeks of paid annual leave. Apart from these, various other leave arrangements like compassionate, community and/or long service are provided for, which an employee may avail for, as per requirement. The system also specifies the provision for termination notice and redundancy pay.
In addition to the NES, most employees are also covered by a Modern Award. Modern Awards provide additional enforceable conditions of employment which includes minimum wages, penalty rates, types of employment, flexible working arrangements, superannuation, hours of work, rest breaks, classifications, allowances, leave, procedures for consultation, representation and dispute settlement and industry-specific redundancy entitlements.
The terms and conditions of employment may also be set through the negotiation and operation of a contract of employment. However, the minimum safety net of NES applies in these situations also. Generally in case of employment of an executive or a senior employee, the employment contract, apart from the salary, stipulates the period of termination notice and fringe benefits.
An employee has the right of collective bargaining and being represented at workplace besides his right against unfair dismissal. In case the employee is terminated through redundancy, resignation or dismissal, he is entitled to receive any outstanding employment entitlement(s) including outstanding wages, payment in lieu of notice, payment for accrued annual leave, long service leave and any applicable redundancy payment.

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