Wk 2 - What is? Fair Work Act & NES

Hi everyone, I’m Peta Cussell from Project Ops and this week I am going to talk about the Fair Work Act and the National Employment Standards (NES) and what it means for small business.

The Act commenced in July 2009 and along came with that the creation of minimum employment entitlements known as the NES; obligations to keep records; unfair dismissal laws; higher protection for employees; legal obligations for employers and the introduction of fines.

The NES are 10 minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees. An award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement cannot provide for conditions that are less than the NES and they can’t exclude the NES. These entitlements cover: 

  1. Maximum weekly hours
  2. Requests for flexible working arrangements
  3. Parental leave and related entitlements
  4. Annual leave
  5. Personal carers leave and compassionate leave
  6. Community service leave
  7. Long service leave
  8. Public holidays
  9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  10. Fair Work Information Statement

It is now of the upmost importance that any business that has staff: is compliant with the NES; is equipped to deal appropriately with any employment termination in order to prevent unfair dismissal; and has Employment Contracts & HR Policies clearly in place to set out your workplace ‘rules’ and expectations. Compliance and transparency is key.

You may think you’ve got it covered but so did a company that recently was fined $24,000 for a sick leave mistake. Can you imagine dealing with that?

With Project Ops, we ensure compliance and take all the heavy-lifting out of all HR and Staffing matters. Small business owners have enough to worry about... leave HR to the experts.

If your business is yet to establish Employment Contracts and HR Policies and you don’t know where to start or you need advice on what the NES means for your business, please get in touch!


Project Ops are one of Australia’s leading outsourcing specialists, providing some of Australia’s best talent to businesses of all sizes on short or long-term contracts. Specialising in Human Resources (HR), Recruitment, Business Operations, Change Management, Project Management and Event Management.