Employment and your rights

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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 Australian Government’s Business website has information about your rights and a range of support services.

You can also see business and commercial matters.

Basic rights of employees

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

Giving notice to end employment

How much notice an employer must give

In most cases employers must give notice if they are going to end 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 (for example theft or assault) or you are a casual employee.

There is information about the minimum notice periods that an employer has to give on the Fair Work Ombudsman website. However, your employer may have to give you more notice if a workplace agreement or your contract of employment says so..

An employer may also choose to pay out their employee for the ‘amount of notice’, which means that you won’t have to work during the notice period but will still get paid for this time.

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 must give.

If you don’t give the right amount of notice before quitting your job, your employer could keep 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.

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