Employment law.


1st February, 2018

Employment law

Understanding employment law in the time it takes to sew a button onto a shirt.

Just like a button holds a shirt together, employment law brings together the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in the workplace. Employment law helps make sure that the workplace runs smoothly and fairly.

In the time it takes to sew on a new button, we’ll take you through different areas of employment law to stitch up your knowledge on your legal obligations as an employer.

This will take about four minutes of reading time.

Employment law outlines the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees under the Commonwealth of Australia.

These policies are largely based on federal legislation and are communicated by Fair Work Australia, the government department responsible for teaching employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities.

Areas of employment law

Employment law covers many areas that deal with workers’ rights and responsibilities in the workplace. These include the following topics:

Job applications

Access to employment needs to be as fair as possible. There are many anti-discrimination policies in place to make sure application processes are equitable.

During the hiring process, employers aren’t allowed to discriminate against potential employees on the basis of an attribute, including sex, race, pregnancy, age, disability or impairment, political belief or activity.

Awards and agreements

This area of employment law covers the minimum requirements of working agreements you make with your employees.

Awards outline the basic levels of pay for employees, which are based on the role, industry and the nature of employment (whether it’s full-time, part-time or casual work.)


This area covers laws that regulate pay, including penalty rates for weekends and public holidays, as well as employee rights when it comes to unpaid and volunteer work.
This area of law also covers superannuation and tax.


Employees are entitled to various types of leave during their employment. This includes sick leave and carer’s leave, as well as annual leave if they’re on a full-time or part-time contract.

There are various laws outlining what these entitlements are and what kind of formal notice should be given to access these.

Employee entitlements

There are many entitlements that protect employees in the workplace. These outline their legal hours of work, compulsory breaks, what happens in instance of bullying and harassment in the workplace, how to take industrial action and join a union, as well as other means of protection.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

Employers have a responsibility for providing safe working conditions in the workplace. Their obligations are outlined by OHS policies, which you can read more about here.

Ending employment

This area of law outlines how employees and employers should deal with the end of employment.

As this can be a particularly tricky area to navigate, we’ve gone deep to outline what you need to know. You can read about that here.

Top 3 takeaways

  1. Employment law is broad. It outlines the rights and responsibilities for employers and employees when it comes to work and the workplace. Employment law is controlled by both Federal and State Governments.
  2. Employment law aims to make work agreements as fair as possible and protect the interests of workers.
  3. Employment law covers areas such as job applications, awards and agreements, payroll, leave, employee entitlements, occupational health and safety and ending employment.


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