Modern employment conditions

Modern employment conditions can be found in the Queensland Employment Standards and employees’ applicable industrial instruments. They apply to all employees in the Queensland industrial relations jurisdiction.

Please note: private sector employees in Queensland are generally covered by the federal Fair Work Act 2009, and the National Employment Standards under that Act.

What are the Queensland Employment Standards (QES)?

The QES are a set of minimum employment standards contained in the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act). The QES guarantee employees’ minimum entitlements or rights on the following matters:

  • minimum wage entitlements
  • working hours
  • the right to request flexible working arrangements
  • annual leave and leave loading entitlements
  • entitlements to personal leave and sick/carer’s leave, compassionate or bereavement leave, and unpaid cultural leave
  • paid domestic and family violence leave entitlements
  • parental leave entitlements
  • long service leave entitlements
  • public holiday working requirements
  • unpaid leave entitlements for voluntary emergency management activities
  • jury service leave entitlements
  • notice of termination and redundancy entitlements
  • employers’ obligations to provide information statements
  • notification of relevant industrial instruments to employees.

Full details of the QES entitlements and conditions are set out in Chapter 2, Part 3 of the Act.

Am I entitled to all of the QES?

The applicability of some QES will depend whether you are working full-time or part-time, or if you are employed on a casual basis. Specifically:

  • pro rata arrangements apply to paid leave entitlements for non-casual employees working less than full-time, with the exception of compassionate and bereavement leave
  • generally casual employees are not entitled to paid leave, but are entitled to some forms of unpaid leave. An exception to this is that long-term casual employees are entitled to payment for long service leave
  • termination and redundancy entitlements are only available to particular categories of employees, and in certain circumstances.

Do any other employment conditions apply to me?

In addition to the QES, employment conditions may be found in applicable industrial instruments as long as they do not displace, or are otherwise inconsistent with the QES and are at least as favourable as the QES.

Applicable industrial instruments include modern awards, bargaining awards, certified agreements and determinations.

A modern award and a certified agreement may apply to an employee at the same time.

Further information

For specific information, contact your employer’s Human Resources or Industrial Relations area or your union.

Queensland Industrial Relations Framework

A comprehensive review of Queensland’s industrial relations laws resulted in the government adopting all 68 of the review’s recommendations which will promote a fair and balanced industrial relations framework. A significant majority of the recommendations will be given effect though the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (the Act). The Act received assent on 9 December 2016 following its successful passage through the Queensland Parliament on 30 November 2016. Most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 March 2017.

The Act provides a framework for the conduct of industrial relations within the State’s industrial relations jurisdiction that is fair and balanced and supports the delivery of high-quality services, economic prosperity and social justice for Queenslanders. The defining features of the State industrial relations system are:

  1. a set of minimum employment conditions and standards
  2. collective bargaining as a cornerstone for setting wages and conditions including good faith bargaining and other consultation
  3. requirements to promote consultation between employers and employees
  4. a set of individual rights to fair treatment
  5. effective, transparent and accountable governance and reporting obligations for all registered industrial organisations and employer associations
  6. the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) as a strong and effective independent umpire.

The Act covers employers and employees to whom the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not apply. Generally this means employers and employees of the Queensland government and local governments are covered by the Queensland Act.

Last updated 26 March 2020