In Cairns, Queensland there are two legislative frameworks which provide minimum employment standards for employees. These frameworks are used in drafting staff contracts to ensure all employees are treated fairly according to their legal rights. They are the National Employment Standards (NES) and the Queensland Employment Standards (QES).
The National Employment Standards (NES) make up the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia. The national minimum wage, along with the 10 minimum employment entitlements applies to employees in the national workplace relations system.
Queensland Employment Standards (QES) are a set of nine minimum employment conditions legislatively guaranteed for employees in the state industrial relations system. These standards generally apply to Local & State Government Employees and employees of Queensland statutory agencies (Queensland Health, Queensland Police Service, Electoral Commission Queensland etc).
Below we explore the similarities and key differences of the two frameworks.
Both NES and QES include provisions for:
- Minimum wage pay rates
- Maximum weekly hours
- Right to request flexible working arrangements
- Annual Leave Provisions
- Personal leave, Sick leave, Carer’s leave, Bereavement leave, Compassionate Leave entitlements.
- Parental Leave
- Long Service Leave
- Public Holidays
- Emergency / Jury Service / Community Service Leave
- Notice of Termination and Redundancy
Awards, staff contracts, enterprise agreements or other registered agreements cannot provide conditions that are less than, or exclude the NES or QES.
Key differences between NES & QES:
- Right to request flexible working arrangements - NES employees must have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months. There is no minimum period of employment for QES employees.
- Annual Leave Provisions - QES includes a standard provision for annual leave loading and a cashing out leave option. Employees covered by the NES need to refer to their relevant Award and registered agreements to determine if leave loading and cash out options apply.
- Personal Leave / Sick Leave / Carers Leave - NES employers can ask an employee to provide evidence if they have been off sick for one day. Under QES, evidence is only required if it is more than two consecutive days. For casual employees, NES allows for two days unpaid carers leave. QES also allows two days unpaid carers leave for short-term casuals, but 10 days unpaid carers leave for long-term casuals
- Cultural Leave - QES includes a provision for unpaid Cultural Leave. This is not a provision included the NES.
- Domestic and Family Violence Leave - QES includes provisions for paid or unpaid Domestic and Family Violence leave. This is not a provision included the NES.
If you need advice in Cairns about your legal rights as an employee, contact our team of friendly Lawyers at Cairns Employment Law ph 4052 0700.