Employment and your rights

Employment and your rights

Information in this topic is about your basic rights, entitlements and obligations as an employee. Independent contractors are not protected in the same way that employees are.

It is important to find out which kind of worker you are. Sometimes it is not easy to tell the difference. You may think you are an independent contractor when you are actually an employee.

Difference between employees and contractors

An employee is hired by an employer to carry out work under an agreed employment contract.

An independent contractor or sub-contractor works for themselves and hires out their services. They are responsible for paying their own tax, insurance and superannuation out of the money they earn.

When trying to work out whether someone is an employee or a contractor under law, it is the actual situation that is important, not the label of ‘employee’ or ‘contractor’ that is being used.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has information to help tell the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.

If you are an independent contractor, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has information about your rights and a range of support services.

You can also see business and commercial matters.

Basic rights and entitlements of employees

All employees have entitlements, even if they are not in writing. These can include:

Giving notice to end employment

How much notice an employer has to give

In most cases employers have to give notice if they are going to terminate your employment. The amount of notice they have to give depends on how old you are and how long you have been working for the employer. This may not apply if you are dismissed for serious misconduct or you are a casual employee.

An employer may pay out their employee for the amount of notice.

There is information about the minimum notice periods that an employer has to give on the Fair Work Ombudsman website. However, you may be entitled to more than this depending on the terms of any award or workplace agreement that applies to your employment, or the agreement that you made with your employer about your employment (contract of employment).

How much notice to give an employer

If you are a permanent employee, check whether you have a document that explains the rules about leaving your job. This could be an employment contract, an award or a workplace agreement, or all three of these documents. If you don't have a document, call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 to confirm the minimum amount of notice you have to give.

If you don’t give the correct amount of notice of resignation your employer may withhold money from your final pay.

More information

Employment contracts and conditions

Minimum rates of pay and getting paid properly

Workplace safety

Superannuation and complaints

Termination of employment

Work if you’re under 15

Get help

Find out how you can get help with employment and your rights.