Employing people in Australia

Australia has a skilled workforce and flexible employment conditions.

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Businesses and organisations seeking to employ people in Australia should understand the legal requirements to do so. These obligations cover conditions of employment, and where relevant, visa status. The Australian Government also provides support for organisations and businesses seeking to find and develop staff.

Government support for staff, visas and immigration

Employment conditions

Australia has a well-developed employment system, subject to Australian, and state and territory government requirements.

The central elements of this system include a set of national standards of employment for all Australian employees, occupational health and safety regulations, and superannuation (pension) payments.

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission are the 2 key organisations in Australia’s workplace relations system. To understand the different roles, see the Fair Work System.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also provides information on:

  • implications of employment type (Types of employees)
  • standard entitlements such as weekly working hours, requests for flexible working arrangements, leave and related entitlements, and termination and redundancy payments National Employment Standards.
  • workplace (or enterprise) agreements that outline reciprocal rights and responsibilities agreed between an employer and a group of employees and apply on top of minimum conditions in the National Employment Standards.
  • award conditions that apply to certain industries and occupations and apply on top of the minimum conditions in the National Employment Standards (Awards)
  • rights of Independent contractors, who are are individuals who are self-employed and contract their services to other businesses and have different rights to employees (Independent Contractors).

Occupational health and safety

Employers in Australia are required to maintain a safe workplace and meet Australian occupational health and safety requirements. These requirements also ensure employers are appropriately represented in the case of a workplace incident. Australian Government legislation, state and territory laws govern occupational health and safety. A workplace authority in each state or territory provides advice on business’ obligations and the relevant policy.

For more information, see business.gov.au occupational health and safety.

For state or territory information, see work, health and safety requirements in your state or territory.

Workers’ compensation system

Employers in Australia are required to maintain a safe workplace and to maintain workers’ compensation insurance in the event of a workplace incident. Australian Government legislation, state and territory laws govern workers’ compensation. A workplace authority in each state or territory provides advice on business’ obligations and the relevant policy.

For more information see Safe Work Australia, workers’ compensation requirements.

Superannuation

Superannuation is money set aside over the employee’s lifetime to provide for their retirement. Under Australian law, most employees are entitled to have superannuation payments made on their behalf by their employer. These payments are in addition to wages.

For more information about paying superannuation to employees, see the Australian Tax Office's employee superannuation page.

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