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.
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.
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 (DOCX 34.9KB) (PDF 250.8KB), take our Starting a new job online course
and fill in our Starting a new job checklist (DOCX 45.6KB) to help you prepare.
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.
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
You may be offered a trial or internship where you don't get paid. Sometimes that’s okay – it depends on the type of trial or internship - but if you’re actually working as an employee then you should be paid.
Find out more about:
We have specialised resources for young workers. Check out our:
You can also watch our young worker's videos (below) and test your knowledge with our Workplace Basics quiz. It has sections on everyday issues like pay, leave and termination. You'll get feedback and links to resources and you can download a completion certificate when you've finished.
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