When migrating to Australia and looking to work, it is incredibly important to understand the country’s workplace and employment laws. Being a relatively progressive country, these laws have been subject to a lot of change over time, with many amendments occurring in just the past 100 years alone.

To help keep track and display these changes, Employsure, a business who provide advice on employment relations, have created a timeline which shows the major amendments each Australian Prime Minister has implemented to workplace regulations and laws over the past 100 years. You can explore the timeline below:


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Data Provided by Employsure

By looking through the timeline it’s easy to see that there have been many important changes, like the first Equal Pay Act which was introduced in 1966. But if you’re a migrant looking to work in Australia, the most relevant changes have only occurred in more recent times. The most important being the establishment of the Fair Work Act in 2009. This Act is the foundation for all employment standards and regulations that currently govern work in Australia.

A broad understanding of the Fair Work Act would be that it:

  • Provides for terms and conditions of employment
  • Sets out rights and responsibilities of employees, employers and organisations in relation to their employment
  • Provides for compliance with and enforcement of the Act
  • Provides for the administration of the Act by establishing the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman

If you’re looking to start a family while working in Australia, it’s also important to know the parental laws which the Fair Work Act provides for. For example, in Australia, mothers are entitled to 12 months paid parental leave and since 2012, partners and fathers are entitled to two weeks paid minimum wage. If you look through the timeline above, you can see that this is thanks to Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. She was also interestingly the first Prime Minister of Australia to introduce default superannuation funds for all employees.

Australia is a beautiful country with a vast number of opportunities for migrants, with excellent organisational cultures and laws in place to help guide you toward a successful working life. However, it’s vital that before you dive into work in Australia that you understand the legislation in place. These laws are designed to protect your rights as an employee.

With Australia’s ever-changing business-sphere, it never hurts to be prepared – whether you’re planning on being an employee or an employer. While we can prepare for work by polishing our shoes or perfecting the top-notch Windsor knot, it’s always better to be prepared by properly understanding your rights as a worker.

For more on your rights as an employee in Australia visit :




MIGRANT NINJA TIP – An employee’s minimum entitlements are set out in the National Employment Standards (NES) and awards. A registered agreement or employment contract can provide for other entitlements but they can’t be less than what’s in the NES or the award that applies.

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