The USU Private Sector Organising Team has worked closely together on researching an approach to organising, recruiting and retaining new members in the Private Sector. One of our key messages to worplaces across NSW is that workers need to know their rights, and that by being part of the USU members have the protection of the collective strength that USU membership provides.
The USU - Working to Protect the Rights of Members by:
- Direct negotiations with employers
- Appeals to industrial tribunals
- Prosecutions before appropriate authorities.
- With few exceptions, an individual as such, has little influence or control over the pay and conditions offered for his/her labour.
- A Union representing a person has the influence, which flows from its resource capacity, knowledge and expertise.
- Disputes can arise between employers and employees over simple matters, such as a difference of opinion as to the meaning of a clause. In most cases, decisions can be made against the non-member in favour of the employer, and he/she simply accepts it. However, a member has the support of the Union, which may follow it up and he/she may possibly be taken more seriously.
What are the 10 NES entitlements?
The NES are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 and comprise 10 minimum standards of employment. In summary, the NES involve the following minimum entitlements:
1. Maximum weekly hours of work - 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
2. Requests for flexible working arrangements - allows parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’s care.
3. Parental leave and related entitlements - up to 12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, and other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.
4. Annual leave - 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
5. Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave - 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required.
6. Community service leave - unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.
7. Long service leave - a transitional entitlement for employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
8. Public holidays - a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.
9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay - up to 4 weeks notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.
10. Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement - employers must provide this statement to all new employees. It contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, right of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.