Rights and protections in the workplace



Everyone working in Australia is entitled to basic rights and protections at work.

This includes payment of a minimum wage, rest breaks, sick leave and access to minimum entitlements as set out in the award or agreement that covers your job.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides free advice and information about Australia’s employment laws for employers and employees at www.fairwork.gov.au including in languages other than English.
Minimum pay

All employees in Australia are entitled to be paid at least a minimum wage. The amount will depend on which state or territory you work in, your age, which award applies, and the details of your employment contract.

Your employer must pay you regularly and must not make deductions from your salary (except for tax and superannuation purposes) without your permission. Ask your employer to clearly explain your deductions to you when you start working. You can set up deductions from your pay.

You must also be given a pay slip within one working day of pay day.
Conditions of employment

All workers in Australia are entitled to minimum conditions of employment. These standards cover working hours, payment for overtime, rest breaks, sick leave and holidays.
Rights to representation

All workers in Australia have the right to join and be represented by a trade union. Unions give their members advice on wages, employment conditions and workplace rights. They help with workplace problems and bargain with employers about members’ pay and employment conditions.

You do not have to tell your employer you are a union member. Your employer must not treat you unfavourably or dismiss you because you belong to a union.

If you want to join a union but don’t know which union to join, you can contact Australian Unions at www.australianunions.com.au Australian Unions is a membership and advice service run by the Australian Council of Trade Unions. It can help if you have a question about your rights or entitlements at work.
Protection against discrimination

You are protected against discrimination and ‘adverse action’ at work for reasons like your race, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual preference, disability or for being a member of a trade union.

‘Adverse action’ is when a person has been:

refused a job
dismissed from employment
denied training opportunities
denied promotion or
subjected to less favourable working conditions or terms of employment.

For more information on discrimination laws, see www.humanrights.gov.au/employers/good-practice-good-business-factsheets/quick-guide-australian-discrimination-laws

To make a complaint, go to www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints/complaint-guides/what-you-can-complain-about/complaints-about-discrimination-employment
Other workplace rights

Your employer cannot treat you unfavourably or dismiss you because you make an inquiry or complaint about your employment (to your employer or to an applicable authority) or because you seek to enforce your rights.
More information

If you are unsure whether you are receiving the correct pay, conditions and workplace rights, or to make a complaint about your employer, you can find more information at:

For more information please go to