The National Employment Standards and How They Apply to Payroll
The National Employment Standards are modern awards that make up a safety net for employees covered by the national workplace relations system.
The 10 minimum entitlements of National Employment Standards are:
- Maximum weekly hours of work
Employees are only required to work 38 hours per week plus reasonable additional hours.
- Requests for flexible working arrangements
Employees in specific circumstances as set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 can request a change in their working arrangements to match their needs.
- Parental leave and related entitlements
If an employee is a parent they are entitled to take one year of unpaid leave and request an additional year of unpaid leave if they choose to do so. This also applies to other types of leave including maternity and adoption.
- Annual leave
Every employee is entitled to four weeks of paid holiday leave each year while certain shift workers receive an additional week.
- Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
Per year an employee receives 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave, two days unpaid
carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave if required.
- Community service leave
If an employee volunteers for emergency services activities they qualify for unpaid leave of up to 10 days. If the employee is required to serve jury duty, they are to be paid an entitlement for up to 10 days.
- Long service leave
If an employee’s award outlines they’re entitled to long service leave, they will receive extended leave time based on the amount of time they’ve worked for an organisation.
- Public holidays
Employees are given a paid day off on each public holiday unless they are reasonably requested to work.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay
Up to five weeks’ notice of termination and up to 16 weeks’ severance pay are to be given, based on the amount of time an employee has been working for that company.
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement
A statement that contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, union rights of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman must be provided by employers to all new employees.
How they connect to payroll responsibilities
Even if terms in awards, agreements, and contracts differ; they cannot exclude or provide less that the above ten entitlements. However; specific and fair terms can be agreed to, such as averaging an employee’s ordinary hours of work, cashing out annual or sick leave, situations where redundancy pay entitlements do not apply, or the substitution of public holidays.
This means that your company payroll officer or outsourced payroll specialist must have a thorough understanding of these entitlements and if there are any specific terms that affect employees so that they can be accurately and fairly applied.