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Employment Contracts & Policies​

Employment contracts

A contract may be oral, but written contracts are strongly recommended. Additionally, all new employees must be given a Fair Work Information Statement (or, for casual employees, a Casual Employment Information Statement) containing key terms as soon as possible after the commencement of employment. Some employees whose work is covered by modern awards, industrial-legislation-based instruments that set minimum pay and conditions, may require a document in writing (eg, a contract or letter of offer) that specifies the modern award that covers them and their classification.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory limit, but 3 to 6 months is common.


Generally not mandatory, but some policies, especially regarding anti-discrimination and harassment, bullying and occupational health and safety, are strongly encouraged by laws and regulations. Certain corporations may be required by law to have a whistleblower policy in place.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party.

Contract terms

Contract terms cannot provide for less than the minimum legal entitlements outlined in the NES and other awards or registered agreements that may apply. Workers are covered by the terms of the NES, regardless of whether a contract has been signed.

Contract extension

In Australia, the legislation regarding independent contractors is governed by the Independent Contractors Act 2006. This Act, does not explicitly define rules for contract extension for independent contractors.

Fixed-term contracts

In Australia, fixed-term contracts are employment agreements that have a predetermined end date or a specific condition that triggers the contract’s termination. These contracts are commonly used for temporary or project-based work and are regulated by Australian employment laws. From 6 December 2023, new rules apply when engaging employees on fixed term contracts. A fixed term contract terminates at the end of a specific period. The new rules include a requirement for employers to give any employees they’re engaging on a new fixed term contract a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS). There are limitations on how fixed term contracts can be used. For example, a fixed term contract can’t have an option to extend or renew the contract so that employment period (including the extension or renewal period) is longer than 2 years, or extend or renew the contract more than once.

Working hours


The standard workweek is 38 hours.


Minimum employment conditions are outlined in the Fair Work Act, 2009 and Industrial Awards. Awards are either industry-based or occupation-based. Employees covered by Awards are generally paid overtime. Most Awards provide for overtime to be paid for time worked in excess of 38 hours per week, or in excess of 10 hours per day. Overtime or a penalty is generally paid to Award based employees for work performed on a weekend or a public holiday. If an employee is not an Award employee, they are considered to be “Award Free.” Award Free employees do not have a statutory right to be paid overtime. However, such employees do have the right to work only 38 plus reasonable additional hours per week. There is no formal definition of what is “reasonable additional hours,” however, such employees are generally expected to work overtime hours that are necessary to complete the job they are employed to do.  

Working Week

Monday – Friday

Remote Work

In Australia, the Fair Work Act 2009 is the primary legislation that applies to remote work. Some employees can request flexible working arrangements if they’ve worked with the same employer for at least 12 months. Examples of flexible working arrangements include changes to hours of work, patterns of work, and locations of work. Work health and safety (WHS) laws also apply to remote work just as they do in traditional workplaces. This means a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure the health and safety of their workers, so far as is reasonably practicable, when working from home. Working alone or remotely can increase the health and safety risks of any job. Workers may be isolated from support and assistance because of where or when they’re working, or the nature of their work.

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