Young workers & students

Starting work can be an exciting time. While every workplace is different, there are rights and responsibilities that apply to all employees.

Follow the tips below to help prepare for a new job.

When you start a new job, you might get told things, or asked to do things that don't seem quite right. Find out about common myths and tips to help you.

Know your rights

There are some things you should find out from your employer as soon as possible. This includes:

  • your pay rate
  • whether you're full-time, part-time or casual (this affects your hours of work, pay rate and leave entitlements)
  • your hours of work
  • what your job duties will be
  • whether there’s an award or registered agreement that covers your job (this affects your pay rate, hours of work and other entitlements)
  • if there's a probation period for your job.

There are minimum workplace rights that can’t be taken away from you, including the National Employment Standards (NES). The NES covers types of leave, public holidays and notice if you get fired.

Watch a video about warning signs in the workplace so you know what to watch out for.


Find out about:

Awards (modern awards) are legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment. Use our 3-step Find my award tool to help find the award you're covered by.

If you're doing an apprenticeship or traineeship, find out more about entitlements on our Apprentices and trainees page.

Prepare for your first day  

Your first day can be overwhelming. Make sure you're prepared by finding out:

  • where you need to go, and how and when to get there
  • the dress code for your job
  • whether there's any paperwork you need to complete
  • who your supervisor is.

Use our Guide to starting a new job , take our Starting a new job online course and fill in our Starting a new job checklist to help you prepare.

Watch a video with 6 tips on starting a new job external-icon.png to make sure you get the most out of it.

Know your responsibilities

You have responsibilities as an employee. These include performing the duties of your job, being punctual and reliable, and following any workplace policies, procedures, and health and safety rules.

A new job can give you a lot of opportunities - try to make the most of it. Check with your employer to see how you’re performing and look for ways to improve how you work.

Resolve issues

Issues can occur in the workplace. It's important to deal with them as they arise and talk to your employer if something is making you uncomfortable. If you're not sure how to start a conversation, take our free Difficult conversations in the workplace course in our Online learning centre.

Learn about the steps you can follow and tips for having a difficult conversation with the unfair treatment at work video.

Know the rules about unpaid work

Unpaid work can occur in the workforce in different forms - from vocational placements to unpaid job placements, internships, work experience and trials. They are entered into for a number of reasons.

Find out more about:

Watch a video about common types of unpaid work external-icon.png to make sure you know the rules. 

International students

It’s important to know that international students can come to us for help if they're having workplace issues, without fear of their visa being cancelled.

Check out our videos below to see how we have helped international students. You’ll learn how each student had a different workplace problem and how we helped sort each one out.

Case study 1 – Felipe’s story

Felipe shares his story about how we helped increase his awareness of workplace rights, including busting a common workplace myth. Felipe’s story is based on a true story.

Case study 2 – Jessica’s story

Jessica tells her story about how we helped her sort out workplace issues about pay and hours of work. Jessica’s story is based on a true story.

Are you an international student? Learn more about workplace rights and protections at Visa holders and migrants.

Tools and resources

Related information

Have a workplace problem?

Problems can happen in any workplace. If you have a workplace problem, we have tools and information to help you resolve it.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.

Help for small business