As an employee you have legal rights and responsibilities.
You should be familiar with them! Here’s a quick summary of the important stuff when you are looking for a job.
You have to deal in "good faith"
Both parties must deal with the other in good faith which at the most basic level means telling the truth and each party being able to have trust and confidence in the other. Good faith is not about always saying yes and it does not mean the two sides have to agree, but both parties should get a fair hearing.
Permanent means permanent
It is assumed that all agreements will run indefinitely unless there is a valid reason for them to be of a fixed term nature. Such reasons may be where a temporary worker is filling in for a permanent employee on leave or where work is seasonal, e.g. calving.
In general, the dairy “season” of 1 June to 31 May is not justification for a fixed term agreement unless the position will cease to exist the following season where for example the employer is leaving the industry.
You must be provided with a written employment agreement
All new employees must have a written employment agreement. This includes all casual staff employed on farms, such as relief milkers.
All agreements are required to contain:
- The name of the employer and employee;
- A description of the work to be performed;
- An indication of where the work is to be performed;
- An indication of the hours of work;
- Wages or salary to be paid;
- A plain language explanation of how employment problems will be resolved and the 90-day opportunity the employee as for raising those grievances once they have become aware of the grievance.
If an employer refuses to provide this it is a good sign that it is the wrong job for you!
90 day probation
Businesses have the right to include a probation period in their agreement by negotiation with you and it is written into the agreement. This means that your agreement can be terminated at any time if the employer believes you are not working out. Your rights to a personal grievance are also reduced.
There is a minimum wage
Your salary, including taxable benefits, divided by the number of hours you work must exceed the minimum wage. The minimum wage changes on a regular basis. Check out the current minimum wage rates.
You have the opportunity to seek advice
Prior to employment, employees should get a copy of the proposed agreement and you should be allowed a fair and reasonable time to take the agreement away, study it and to seek advice. You prospective employer should also allow you the opportunity to negotiate the terms of the agreement - although they do not have to change the offer they have to listen as part of good faith. Indications are this should be a period of no less than three working days.
Because time is of the essence you are encouraged to go through this part of the process a quickly as practicable so that the employer can make other arrangements of you choose not to proceed.