If you’re starting a new job in Australia, it’s important to make sure you sign a carefully drafted contract to ensure you’re protected by the full scope of the law. While there’s no legal requirement to have a contract in Australia, any employment lawyer will tell you that you’d be stupid not to have one – regardless of whether you’re an employer or an employee.
However, there are a few different types of contract, and it can be hard to determine which is best suited to your specific situation. It’s important to be fully informed before you begin contract negotiations, which is why we’ve outlined the different employment options available. As always speak to a trained employment lawyer if you have queries or would like help drafting a new contract.
What Are the Main Contract Types?
In short, there are two main types of contract in Australia. These can be further split into different types of employment – and we’ll go into that shortly – but first, let’s take a closer look at what they are.
- Open-ended contracts are the most common and involve an employee being hired for an unspecified amount of time. They usually include information about contract termination, including how much notice needs to be given and what, if any financial payouts a dismissed employee is entitled to.
- Fixed-term contracts are rare but certainly worth being aware of. They generally specify a hard end-date when employment will terminate. A good example of a fixed-term contract would be when you commit to working with a company for a year on a project, but don’t want to continue after this.
Now that you understand what types of contracts are available, let’s have a quick look at the most common employment types in Australia.
What Types of Employment Are There?
In Australia, there are three main employment types that most people are familiar with:
- Full-time, which involves a specified number of hours per week. In most cases, full-time work is 38-40 hours per week.
- Part-time, which is similar to full-time but with less hours.
- Casual, which is a much more flexible arrangement. Casual workers are usually paid more, but aren’t entitled to leave or any other benefits.
Along with this, there are a few more specific types of employment, including:
- Fixed-term, which can be casual, part-time, or full-time, but involves pre-specified start and end dates.
- Shiftwork involving constantly changing work hours and, in many cases, working at night.
- Daily or weekly hire for small projects or when you need temporary additional help.
- Probation, which is a short period at the start of employment that allows employers to trial new employees before hiring them on a permanent part or full-time basis.
As you can see, the Australian employment system is actually quite simple. There are only limited options available, and each is relatively self-explanatory. However, it’s still very important to make sure that you’re legally protected when you’re signing a new contract. If you have any questions or issues you’re not sure about, make sure you speak with your local employment lawyers. Sure, it might be a little expensive, but it will be worth it in the long run – trust us!