Employment contracts

Changes to fixed term contracts

New rules that limit the use of fixed term contracts apply from 6 December 2023.

This is part of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay changes to the Fair Work Act.

Find out more at Fixed term contract employees.

An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee that sets out terms and conditions of employment. A contract can be in writing or verbal.

Contracts and legal minimum entitlements

An employment contract can’t provide for less than the legal minimum entitlements set out in:

All employees are covered by the NES, regardless of whether they’ve signed a contract. A contract can’t leave employees worse off than their minimum legal entitlements.

Use our 3-step Find my award tool to help work out your award. If you know your award, you can access it on our List of awards page.

Covered by a registered agreement? Search for it at Fair Work Commission – Find an agreement database.

You can check minimum award rates using our Pay and Conditions Tool. This includes penalty rates and allowances.

Fixed Term Contracts

A fixed term contract terminates at the end of a set period (for example, the contract ends on a set date, or after a set period of time or a season).

There are rules that apply to making a fixed term contract and employees on a new fixed term contract must be given the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement.

For more information, visit Fixed term contract employees.

Pay secrecy in employment contracts

There are rules against including pay secrecy terms in employment contracts. Learn more at Pay secrecy.

Getting help with employment contracts

If you’re new to hiring staff, use the business.gov.au – Employment Contract Tool. The tool helps you build an employment contract that’s tailored to your business needs and complies with workplace laws. It also includes easy-to-understand information on all the legal minimums you need to include.

To use the tool, your employee must be:

  • full-time, part-time or casual
  • covered by an award
  • paid an hourly or weekly wage.

The Employment Contract Tool isn’t for every worker. It can’t be used for:

  • employees who’ll be paid a salary
  • apprentices and trainees
  • seasonal workers
  • independent contractors, or
  • employees covered by registered agreements.

Use the business.gov.au – Employment Contract Tool.

We can also give advice about the legal minimums in an employment contract. You will need to contact a lawyer for advice about any other terms and conditions in the contract.

Find out where to get legal advice.

Think a mistake might have been made about the legal minimums in a contract?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you still can't resolve it.

Tools and resources

Related information

Help for small business