Table of Contents


Table of Contents


Australian Dollar (AUD)

Payroll Frequency

Semi-Monthly / Monthly

Employer Taxes


About Australia

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, while also being relatively isolated from the rest of the world (sometimes called the “island continent”). Although there are more than 200 spoken languages amongst its population, English is the most spoken language, followed by Mandarin. Having been a former colony, British culture dominates the country despite multi-ethnic migration to its shores.

The Australian economy had a GDP of A$1.69 trillion in 2017, making it the second-wealthiest country in per capita terms, after Switzerland. Its economy has faced some challenges, but the country emerged from the 2009 recession with minimal damage. Having such a strong economy has come with its own challenges, the primary being a fiscal deficit caused by the government prior to 2009 which has affected the effectiveness of subsequent governments. Despite this, Australia is highly competitive in technology, service delivery, manufacturing, and innovation and science services. The political stability, robust legal system, and bureaucracy in the country has also greatly enhanced transparency in civic life.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

In Australia, permanent employees are employed on an ongoing basis until either an employer or an employee ends the employment relationship. Permanent employees can be full-time or part-time depending on their working hours. They are entitled to paid leave days, right to notice period, redundancy pay, and, in some cases, they are entitled to request flexible working arrangements.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

In Australia, fixed-term contract employees are hired for a specific period of time or task. The dates of commencement and completion of the contract must be unambiguous. A fixed-term contract can allow for review and extension by consent after a specified period of time. Fixed-term contract employees can usually work full-time or part-time. There is a distinction between fixed-term and maximum-term employment contracts in Australia, and employers need to be careful to ensure that the appropriate type is used. Full-time or part-time fixed-term employees are generally entitled to the same wages, penalties, and leave as permanent employees. An award or registered agreement may provide additional terms and conditions for a fixed-term employee.

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

In Australia, the terms ‘temporary employment contracts’ and ‘temporary employees’ are not recognized. The equivalent recognizable terms are ‘casual employment contracts’ and ‘casual employees.’ A person is a casual employee if they accept a job offer from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work. Either party can end employment without notice unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award, or employment contract. For this reason, casual employment is considered a ‘shift by shift’ employment arrangement. Casual employees are entitled to a higher hourly pay rate than equivalent full-time or part-time employees ("casual loading") since they are not entitled to benefits such as sick or annual leave. Casual employees who have worked for their employer for 12 months (having worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months) need to be offered the option to convert to full-time or part-time (permanent) employment by their employer. Employers must give every new casual employee a Casual Employment Information Statement before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job.

Probationary Period

In Australia, employers can put their employees on a probationary period (also referred to as ‘probation’) to assess if employees are suitable for the role and business. The employer decides on the length of the probationary period. It typically ranges from 3 months to 6 months at the start of employment. The probationary period is not a separate period of employment. While on probation, employees typically continue to receive the same entitlements as someone who is not on probation. The only commercial difference is that an employer may offer the base-level notice of termination during probation, and then additional notice of termination (above the base level under the National Employment Standard) once the employee passes probation.

Working Hours

The standard workweek in Australia is 38 hours. Awards, certified agreements, and Australian Workplace Agreements generally contain provisions setting out ordinary hours of work, rest breaks as well as overtime and penalty rates. New South Wales – awards prescribe working weeks not exceeding 40 hours Queensland – law mandates that employees cannot be required to work more than: 6 days in any 7 consecutive days 40 hours in any 6 consecutive days 8 hours in any day South Australia and Tasmania – awards prescribe standard working hours similar to the other states. Eligible employees can request flexible working arrangements, such as changes to hours, patterns, or locations of work. Employees covered by an award also have some extra rights when asking for flexible working arrangements. Employees who have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangement. From February 2024, employees have the right to disconnect from their work outside of their normal working hours. They can refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact from an employer or a third party, unless such a refusal is unreasonable. 

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

Public holidays in Australia may vary, depending on each state and territory’s laws. Australian Capital Territory current statutory holidays: New Year’s Day – January 1 Australia Day – January 26  Canberra Day – March 9  Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday) – the date is subject to change every year Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday – dates are subject to change every year  Anzac Day – April 25 Reconciliation Day – the date is subject to change every year  Queen’s Birthday – June 8  Labour Day – October 5 Christmas Day – December 25 Boxing Day – December 26 (December 28 in some other states)

• Paid Annual Leave

In Australia, full-time and part-time employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave for every 12 months of continuous service. Shift workers are entitled to five weeks of paid annual leave. Casual workers are not eligible for annual leave. It is up to each employer and employee to agree on when and for how long annual leave can be taken. Annual leave accumulates from the first day of employment, even if an employee is in a probationary period. The leave accumulates gradually during the year, and any unused annual leave will roll over from year to year. If the employee resigns or is dismissed, their accrued, unused annual leave must be paid out on termination. Employees also receive entitlements for long (and usually continuous) service. In most jurisdictions, workers are entitled to 3 months’ leave after working for the same employer for 15 years. 

• Sick Leave

In Australia, sick and carer’s leave comes under the same leave entitlement. It is also known as personal/carer’s leave. Full-time employees receive 10 days each year. Part-time employees receive a proportion of 10 days each year, depending on their hours of work. This leave is paid at an employee’s base pay rate for each hour or part of an hour of leave they take. An employee has to let their employer know that they are going to take sick or carer’s leave. Employers can ask for medical certificate as proof for even 1 day of leave.

• Maternity Leave

In Australia, eligible parents are entitled to 20 weeks of Parental Leave Pay following the birth or adoption of a child. Pregnant workers may begin their leave up to 6 weeks in advance of the expected date of delivery, but no later than the date of the child’s birth. Individuals must notify their employer at least 10 weeks before the child’s due date or date of adoption. Claims for Parental Leave Pay may be submitted up to 3 months before the child’s expected date of birth or adoption, and up to 52 weeks after. The scheme provides eligible parents up to 20 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the national minimum wage. 

• Paternity Leave

In Australia, male employees may be entitled to Parental Leave Pay of up to 20 weeks, provided they fulfill eligibility criteria. Parental leave benefits are also covered under government-funded parental leave. To be eligible for this payment, an employee must be: The biological father of the child The partner of the birth mother The adoptive parent The partner of an adoptive parent The person caring for a child born of a surrogacy arrangement

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

In Australia, employers must give minimum periods of notice to employees based on the employee's continuous service, as follows: 1 week's notice for 1 year or less of service 2 weeks' notice for service between 1 and 3 years 3 weeks' notice for service between 3 and 5 years 4 weeks' notice for more than 5 years of service Employees over 45 years old, who have worked for an employer for at least 2 years get an extra week of notice. A contract may generally be summarily terminated if the employee is fired because of serious misconduct (e.g., engaging in theft, fraud, or assault).

• Severance Benefits

In Australia, there is no provision for severance pay except for redundancy. The amount of redundancy pay varies between 4 and 16 weeks’ salary, depending on the length of an employee’s continuous service. The obligation to issue severance pay does not apply to small business employers (employers with fewer than 15 employees). Casual employees, apprentices and those dismissed for gross misconduct are not entitled to redundancy pay. When a business is bankrupt, employees can get help through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG). The FEG is available to eligible employees to help them get their unpaid entitlements.