Types of Employment in Australia

In Australia, there are many employment options. It’s important to know the wages and entitlements for different types of work, whether you are a business owner or jobseeker. This will help you make the best choices.


  • Permanent Employment
  • Casual Employment
  • Short-term Employment such as Fixed-term Contracts, Labour Hire, Daily and Weekly Hire, and labor hire
  • Other types of Employment include outworkers and shift workers.

Permanent Employment

Workers who are permanently employed have a commitment from their employer regarding the number of days and hours they will work. Job security and a regular, steady wage are important to them.

Full-time Employment

The average full-time employee works 38 hours a week. The number of hours that employees are expected to work per week is specified in their award, registered agreement, or contract.

Workers who work full-time accrue paid leaves, including annual, sick, caregiver’s, and long service leave. The right to termination is a written notice or payment for the notice period.

Part-time Employment

Part-time workers have a regular schedule, even though they work fewer than 38 hours a week. Part-time employees are entitled to the same benefits as full-time workers, but their entitlements are calculated on a pro-rata basis based on how many hours they work.

As an example, full-time workers who work 38 hours per week are entitled to 10 sick days or 76 hours of leave each year. Part-time employees who work 19 hours per week will receive five sick days or 38 hours.

Part-time workers are often required to keep additional records under awards and registered agreements. Part-time workers may require a contract that details their work hours, breaks for meals, and daily minimum hours.

Casual Employment

Casual employees don’t usually expect to be employed on a permanent basis. They tend to have irregular hours that fluctuate according to business demands. They can swap shifts and accept or reject work offers.

Because casual employees do not have paid leave, they are often paid an additional load to their hourly rate. The simple loading percentage is specified in their modern award or registered contract.

Casual workers employed for more than 12 months can request flexible work arrangements and unpaid parental leave.

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Short-term Employment

This type of employment arrangement is not permanent.

Fixed-term contracts

An employee can be hired for a set period. For example, a 6- or 12-month contract to complete a project or replace an employee on leave. They may work part-time or full-time during their employment period.

Employees on fixed-term contracts have the same rights to leave, wages, and penalties as permanent employees. However, they are paid pro rata based on the length of their employment. The award or registered contract may include additional requirements about their rights and conditions of Employment.

Hire Labour

In a labor hire arrangement, the organization hires workers through a labor hire agency. However, the agency is the employer of the worker, not the organization. A nurse who works for a nursing agency is an example.

The agency will outsource a worker for labor hire to an organization, either short-term or long-term, in exchange for a fee or commission. The agency pays the worker’s wages and entitlements, but the worker does the work for the organization. The worker does not have a contractual relationship with an organization.

Hire daily and hire weekly.

The plumbing, building, and construction industries may hire daily or weekly. They can be employed to work part-time or full-time and have the right to an annual sick leave. The hourly rate of pay includes a “follow-the-job” loading to compensate for the time they spend between jobs.

Employees hired on a daily basis can terminate their Employment with one day’s notice.

Under the Building and Construction General Onsite Award and Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award, employers must hire apprentices on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. The Plumbing Award requires that apprentices be employed as full-time, weekly employees.

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Other forms of Employment

You may come across these types of Employment, from shift workers to apprenticeships.


Outworkers, which are common in the textiles, clothing, or footwear industries, are employees or contractors who work outside of the business premises — at home, for example.

Outworkers also have the right to leave for annual leave, long service leave, and carer’s leaves. The relevant modern award or registered contract will usually detail working conditions and wages. For non-awarded and agreement-free employees, the National Employment Standards minimum wage and National Employment Standards apply.

Outworkers are entitled to the same terms as other employees unless their employment contract or award contains specific conditions for outworkers.

Shift workers

Shiftworkers are common in the hospitality, security, and customer service industries. They keep businesses operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees either rotate through the same schedule or work in shifts that are divided by morning, night, and weekend. Shift workers are often required to work Sundays and holidays.

Shift workers receive an extra week of annual leave. Shiftworkers also receive a penalty or shift loading. The modern award or registered contract outlines the minimum conditions of work and entitlements.

Commission-rate and piece-rate employees

Some employees are paid based on their results, or how much work they have done, rather than by the number of hours worked. It is possible to have this arrangement for those covered by a contract or award that allows it or for individuals who are not covered.

Workers who are overseas or migrants

Employers will sometimes sponsor a skilled overseas worker to come and work in Australia. They might also hire a visa-holder who is already in Australia and qualified to perform.

Migrant workers usually have the same rights at work as Australian workers.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships generally involve on-the-job learning. Internships are usually 3-4 years long for people who want to get a trade qualification, such as hairdresser or chef. Some people are studying to achieve a certificate qualification in industries such as childcare or IT. They do this through 1-2 year traineeships.

Employees who have a formal contract for training are paid at the apprentice or trainee rate. Apprentices may receive pay increases as they gain experience or become more qualified.


New hires are often required to undergo a probationary phase of between three and six months. During this period, both employers and employees can decide whether the recruit is right for the job. Employees on probation have the same rights as employees who are not on probation. They can also accrue paid leave, such as annual or sick leave.

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