Before starting employment

Find out about your rights, entitlements and responsibilities before you start a new job.

Before you start work

First job

If this is your first job and you are under 21, you should check your state or territory’s rules about the minimum age employees need to be when they start work. Find out more on our What age can I start work? page.

Visit our Young workers and students page for more information about preparing for your first job.

We have a number of online courses to help you understand your entitlements. Take a look at our Starting a new job course.

You can also download A guide to starting a new job .

Unpaid trials

Before starting a new job, you might be asked to perform a trial shift to be assessed for the position you’ve applied for. This should be made clear before you start the trial. Find more information on our Unpaid trials page.

Before you start

After you’ve accepted the position, and before you start working, your employer should ask you to:

  • complete a tax declaration form. If your employer hasn’t given you a tax declaration form, visit the Australian Taxation Office external-icon.png website
  • give them some information for your employer’s records.

The information they need can include:

  • full name
  • residential address
  • phone number
  • emergency contact details, or you your parent or guardian's contact details if you are under 18
  • superannuation fund details
  • tax file number
  • bank details
  • your date of birth if you are under 21 (so your employer can determine when you are entitled to any relevant pay increases).

Your new employer has to give you a Fair Work Information Statement before, or as soon as possible after, you start a new job. This has information about your minimum entitlements and conditions of employment.

Once you’ve started your new job

Employees have different entitlements depending on their type of employment.

Full-time and part-time employees

Full-time employees normally work an average of 38 hours a week (plus reasonable additional hours). Find out more about Full-time employees.

Part-time employees normally work less than 38 hours per week. Find out more about Part-time employees.

Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to: 

Casual employees

Casual employees don’t have guaranteed hours of work each week. Casual employees are paid a casual loading instead of getting entitlements such as annual leave, sick leave, notice of termination or redundancy pay. Find out more about Casual employees.

Visit our Types of employees section for more information on employment types.

Know your rights and obligations at work

It’s important you understand your rights and obligations so that you can ensure you are being treated fairly at work.

As an employee your minimum entitlements at work come from the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009. They can also come from an award or registered agreement.

National Employment Standards

The National Employment Standards (NES) are 11 minimum entitlements that all employees are entitled to. These include entitlements such as:

  • working maximum weekly hours
  • requesting flexible working arrangements
  • paid leave (such as annual and sick and carer’s leave)
  • unpaid leave (such as parental leave and community service leave)
  • public holidays
  • notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • a Fair Work Information Statement
  • a Casual Employment Information Statement.

Some of these minimum entitlements don’t apply to casual employees. For more information, visit our Casual employees page.

Awards and agreements

Most workplaces and employees are covered by an award or registered agreement.

Awards are legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment for an industry or occupation. There are more than 120 awards that cover most people who work in Australia. Different awards can apply depending on the industry of the business and the type of work being performed.

Visit Find my award or the Awards section for more information.

Registered agreements are made between an employer and their employees and must be registered with and approved by the Fair Work Commission.

To find a registered agreement, go to Fair Work Commission website external-icon.png.

Awards, registered agreements and employment contracts can't exclude the NES, or include conditions that are less than the NES.

In some limited circumstances, there may be no award or agreement that covers your job or workplace. It’s always best to check. Employees that aren’t covered by an award or registered agreement are still entitled to the NES and the National Minimum Wage. You can contact us if you need to check.

Best practice tip:

A registered agreement or employment contract can provide for other entitlements but they can't be less than what's in the NES or the award that applies.

Minimum pay rates

All employees working in Australia are entitled to a minimum wage. This is the minimum amount an employee needs to be paid for the work that they’re doing. The minimum wage is payable before tax is deducted (known as gross pay). Superannuation is also paid in addition to minimum wage. Find out more on our Tax and superannuation page.

For most employees, minimum wages are set by the award that applies to them.

When a workplace has a registered agreement, the award doesn’t apply. The minimum pay rate in the registered agreement can’t be less than the minimum pay rate in the award.

If no award or agreement covers your job or workplace, you’re entitled to be paid the national minimum wage.

Find more information about the national minimum wage on our Minimum wages page.

An employee’s minimum wage can be different if the employee is:

Use our Pay and Conditions Tool to find the minimum pay rates, penalty rates and allowances that apply for your award.

Pay slips

Your employer needs to give you a pay slip within 1 working day of pay day, even if you are on leave.

Pay slips need to be either in hard copy or electronic form (for example, via email or an online portal) and must have contain specific information.

For more information about what should be included on your pay slip, visit our Pay slips page.

Tax and superannuation

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) provides information and advice about tax and superannuation requirements.

Visit our Payment summaries page for more information about recording tax or superannuation on pay slips (including end-of-year payment summaries).

You can also find more information on our Tax and superannuation page.

For questions about your tax, contact the ATO on 13 28 61 or visit the Australian Tax Office website external-icon.png.

Hours of work and breaks

It’s important to know when you are entitled to take a break at work. Check your award or agreement to find out which rest breaks and meal breaks apply to you. Most employees are entitled to at least a 30-minute unpaid break after five hours’ work.

For more information, visit our Breaks page.

Keep track of your hours with our Record My Hours app.

Penalty rates and allowances

You may be entitled to penalty rates and allowances under your award or registered agreement if you work during certain times or on certain days. Check your award or agreement to see what you are entitled to and talk to your employer about when they apply.

You can find more information on our Allowances, penalty rates and other penalties page.

Workplace problems

Problems can happen in the workplace. Our experience shows that employees and employers can resolve problems quickly if they work together to find a solution as soon as possible when an issue arises, and before we get involved.

For more information visit our Workplace problems section.

Tools and resources

Related information