National Employment Standards (NES)

Employers must comply with a set of National Employment Standards.

There are 10 National Employment Standards (NES) which set out mimiumum terms and conditions for ALL part-time and full-time employeers.  Some of the terms and conditions apply to casual employees as well.

Employers must comply with the NES.  Your employer can offer you better terms and conditions, but not less than what the NES says.

The 10 National Employment Standards are:


Are you a casual employee?

If you are a casual employee, you only get NES entitlements relating to:

In some states and territories long serving casuals are eligible for long service leave.

Casual employees who have been employed regularly and systematically for at least 12 months by an employer, and with an expectation of ongoing employment are entitled to:

  • make requests for flexible working arrangements; and
  • unpaid parental leave.

More information about the national workplace relations system can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.


(If you work in Western Australia, your situation might be different.  Check the information listed under Western Australia below).

Differences between states

Western Australia

National System Employees

You’re probably a national system employee if your employer is a company.

State System Employees

Like national system employees, State system employees are entitled to certain minimum employment conditions. Casual employees aren’t entitled to all the minimum employment conditions, but are entitled to some of them.

You’re probably a State system employee if your employer is a State government department, an individual (i.e. a sole trader), a partnership where the partners are individuals, or a not-for-profit organisation that doesn’t charge for any goods or services.

The minimum conditions for State system employees relate to how much leave you are entitled to, the maximum hours you can work, termination/ redundancy requirements and so on.

In addition to being entitled to minimum employment conditions under State laws, State system employees are also entitled to parental leave and termination notice under the National Employment Standards.

If you’re not sure if you’re a national system employee or a State system employee, you can call Wageline on 1300 655 266, the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or the Employment Law Centre on 1300 130 956 or 9227 0111.