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Important tips for young workers and students

Posted by Fair Work Ombudsman on 17 May 2019

Starting work can be an exciting time. While every workplace is different, there are rights and responsibilities that apply to all employees. 

Follow the tips below to help prepare for a new job. 

  • know your rights 
  • prepare for your first day
  • know your responsibilities
  • resolve issues
  • know the rules about unpaid work
  • read fairwork's helpful resources.

When you start a new job, you might get told things, or asked to do things that don't seem quite right. Find out about common myths and tips to help you. 

Know your rights 

There are some things you should find out from your employer as soon as possible. 

This includes: 

  • your pay rate
  • whether you're full time, part-time or casual (this affects your hours of work, pay rate and leave entitlements)
  • your hours of work 
  • what your job duties will be
  • whether there's an award or registered agreement that covers your job (this affectas your pay rate, hours of work and other entitlements)
  • if there's a probation period for your job

There are a minimum workplace rights that can't be taken away from you, including the National Employment Standards (NES). The NES covers types of leave, public holidays and notice if you get fired. 

Awards (modern awards) are legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment. Use our 3-step Find my award tool to help you find the award you're covered by. 

If you're doing an apprenticeship or traineeship, find out more about entitlements on our Apprentices and trainees page.

Know your responsibilties 

You have responsibilities as an employee. These include performing the duties of your job, being punctual and reliable, and following any workplace policies, procedures, and health and safety rules. 

A new job can give you a lot of opportunities - try to make the most of it. Check with your employer to see how you're performing and look for ways to improve how you work. 

Resolve Issues 

Issues can occur in the workplace. It's important to deal with then as they arise and talk to your employer if something is making you uncomfortable. 

If you're not sure how to start a conversation, take our free Difficult conversations in the workplace course in our Online learning centre.

Know the rules about unpaid work

Unpaid work can occur in the workforce in different forms - from vocational placements to unpaid job placements, internships, work experience and trials. They are entered into for a number of reasons.

Find out more about:

  • types of unpaid work, and when you should be paid
  • when unpaid work trials are okay
  • student placements
  • work experience and internships.

You can also watch our young worker's videos Job Trial Fails and Young Workers Best Practice Guide and test your knowledge with our Workplace Basics quiz. It has sections on everyday issues like pay, leave and termination. You'll get feedback and links to resources and you can download a completion certificate when you've finished.

To read more helpful tips, click here. 

Author: Fair Work Ombudsman
Tags: Resources Consumer Information

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