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OZ Life
Working conditions and Wages

Australia has a complicated structure of laws regulating employment. The basic principles of Common Law are modified by both Federal and State legislation. While the States regulate most aspects of employment law, the Federal Government has power to legislate in relation to industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State.

A system of industrial awards has been established which dictates the minimum terms and conditions of employment for most workers.

Basic Employee Benefits & Conditions
The standard working week is 35 – 40 hours, generally Monday to Friday. Employees usually receive four weeks’ annual leave.

  • Sick Leave There is usually an entitlement to paid sick leave of at least five working days a year.
  • Annual Leave usually accrues at a rate of 20 days per year which accumulates and any unused leave is paid out on termination.
  • Compulsory Superannuation

Under Federal Legislation, employers are required to make certain minimum superannuation contributions on behalf of their employees. The minimum contribution rate as at 1st July, 2002 is 9% of the employee’s salary or wages.

Tax File Number
Your tax file number (TFN), consisting of nine digits, is probably the most important number you receive in Australia. Without one, you’re taxed at the maximum rate (47 per cent) on all your wages. You also need a TFN to claim unemployment and sickness benefits, to make any investment and to enrol in a fee-free course of higher education. It’s required when completing your annual income tax return and when you start work or change jobs (there are both personal and business tax file numbers).

You can obtain an application form for a TFN from your local Australian Tax Office (ATO). You must produce identification, such as your birth certificate, driving licence or passport with a valid visa, and should receive your TFN around two weeks after making an application. The ATO publishes a brochure, Applying for Your Tax File Number, which explains the application procedure.

Workers Compensation
Employees are also entitled to workers’ compensation ( the insurance for which is compulsory for employers) for any injuries suffered during employment.

Long Service Leave
Employees are entitled to Long Service Leave. The most common requirements are three months leave after 10 years continuous service with one employer. In some states the continuous service is 15 years.

Occupational Health & Safety
Legislation in each State & Territory specifies responsibilities for employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees, independent contractors and members of the public.

2007 Minimum Wage Decision
The Australian Fair Pay Commission has announced its 2007 Minimum Wage Decision and has increased the standard Federal Minimum Wage and all Pay Scales up to $700 a week by $10.26 per week.

The Commission has also increased all Pay Scales paying $700 a week and above by $5.32 per week. Both increases apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2007. Taken together, the Commission’s 2006 and 2007 increases have delivered an additional $37.62 per week to Australia’s lowest paid workers.

 
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