Got a Temporary or Permanent Work Visa for Australia? Know Your Work Rights!
As an immigrant you must know that you have workplace rights since the moment you establish yourself in any country; in the case of Australia every worker – with a permanent or temporary visa – has certain rights and protections at work. These rights involve varying aspects like foreign nationals, visa conditions, overstayed visas, and working lawfully. Also, you need to know that pay rates and workplace are established by Australian law.
Some government bodies like the Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) that provides the necessary information to every person about pay rates, change calculations, leave arrangements, notice and redundancy entitlements, and the Fair Work Ombudsman that offers extra information and advice to you about workplaces, rights, and obligations and it’s available in different languages are a big help to immigrants in Australia.
It is important for you, as owner of a visa, to know your rights as a worker. Foreign workers are known as people that aren’t Australian citizens or permanent ones. It is usual to see that at workplaces in Australia apply legal laws equally to every employee because they need to guarantee the fulfillment of Australian and Immigration laws. Based on this, in Australia exists the National Employment Standards (NES) that has 10 minimum entitlements. These include:
- Maximum weekly hours of work
- Requests for flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave and related entitlements
- Annual leave
- Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
- Community service leave
- Long service leave
- Public holidays
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement
As a foreign worker, you must ask your employer for a contract of employment or a legal document that establishes your minimum rights and conditions at work. In the case that an agreement doesn’t apply, all employees are within their rights to receive basic minimum pay, conditions, and protection under workplaces laws. Also, if you are asked to sign something that specifies your work conditions you must read and understand it before signing plus keep a copy of them. Likewise, you can’t feel undue pressure to sign an agreement.
Another common doubt is if your employer can reduce money from your wages. Generally, no. This can’t happen unless it is because of specific reasons like if it is for your benefit and you agree to it, must be authorized under an agreement or an order from the Fair Work Commission or an order of a court. In essence, an employer can’t take money from your salaries unless you agree with that and nobody can force you to agree to a reduction.
Your employer can choose among cash, check, or electronic funds to pay you, cash can be allowed only if the tax has been taken and sent to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), “cash in hand” means payments that haven’t been taxed and it’s illegal.
In conclusion, if you are a foreign worker or an Australian resident, work rights and a good behavior in your workplace is necessary for everyone, and if you know about some case or you are living one you can demand contacting the Fair Work Infoline.