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The NES: National Employment Standards

casual conversion employee rights fair work family and domestic violence hours of work hr compliance leave and entitlements long service leave minimum entitlements modern awards paid leave parental leave permanent employee public holiday unpaid leave Nov 16, 2023

The National Employment Standards (NES) are 11 minimum entitlements that are applicable to all national system employees within Australia. Any entitlements that are provided for in relevant Awards or Agreements must provide equal and/or better conditions than those in the NES. Such Awards and Agreements also cannot exclude the NES entitlements.


The 11 NES with a brief summary are below:

  1. Maximum weekly hours - this is generally 38 hours per week with some Awards allowing for reasonable additional hours.
  2. Flexible working arrangements - Employees who have worked for their employer for 12 months may make a flexible working request, including changes to: hours/patterns/location of work.
  3. Casual conversion - After 12 months of employment, casual employees may be offered permanent employment, so long as it satisfies reasonable business grounds (this does not apply to small businesses).
  4. Parental leave - Employees who meet the requirements may be entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave (some Awards allow for this period to be extended to 24 months).
  5. Annual leave - Permanent employees are entitled to 4 weeks of paid annual leave (this entitlement is based on their ordinary hours of work and is provided on a pro-rata basis for part-time employees).
  6. Personal and Carer's leave (this extends to include compassionate leave and family and domestic violence leave) - Employees are entitled to: 10 paid sick days per year, 2 paid compassionate days per occasion (so long as they meet the criteria), and 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave per year.
  7. Community service leave - Employees can take unpaid community service leave so long as it meets the requirements (with the exception of jury duty, as this is a paid entitlement).
  8. Long service leave - This entitlement is applicable to employees who work with the same employer over a specified period of time. This entitlement varies per State.
  9. Public holidays - Where employees work on a public holiday, they will be entitled to different pay and entitlements. Public holidays vary per State.
  10. Notice of termination and redundancy pay - There are rules around how much notice both employees and employers need to give upon termination. In the instance an employee is made redundant, they may also be entitled to redundancy pay.
  11. Fair Work information statement, the Casual information statement and Fixed term employee information statement (new) - Employers must provide all new employees with a copy of the applicable docs (all employees get the general Fair Work Information Statement).


While all 11 NES are an entitlement for all national employees within Australia, casual employees only have access to the following:

  1. Casual conversion
  2. PAID family and domestic violence leave
  3. UNPAID carer's leave
  4. UNPAID compassionate leave
  5. UNPAID community service leave
  6. Fair Work information statement and the Casual information statement

For casual employees, depending on the State in which they live and are employed in, they may be eligible for long service leave. This entitlement varies from state to state, so you may need to check your employment contract for more information.


In terms of flexible working arrangements and UNPAID parental leave, casual employees may submit a request if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have been employed by the same employer as a casual employee for at least 12 months on a 'regular and systematic' basis; and
  • Expect to continue their employment on a 'regular and systematic' basis moving forward.


If you have any questions about the NES and how they apply to you, please reach out to the Employii Team  at [email protected]

If you'd like more information from Fair Work on the NES, please click here.



Author: Chelsea Finlay (HR Officer).