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When I'm at work: My rights/responsibilities - Participant's workbook

Aim of the 'When I'm at work' series

The aim of the 'When I'm at work' series is to bring together information about being at work. The resources that comprise the series focus on the workplace and provide information, scenarios, and suggested activities to assist you and the supported employees working in your Australian Disability Enterprise.

Topics in the 'When I'm at work' series are as follows.

Using the 'When I'm at work' series will help Australian Disability Enterprises meet the requirements of a number of Disability Services Standards. For example, it will be useful in relation to Standard 11 that requires the provision of appropriate and relevant training and skills for each staff member.

My rights/responsibilities

My rights at work

It is important to know what:

Rights at work are about making sure:

My responsibilities at work

It is important to know what:

Responsibilities at work are about making sure you:

Things can happen if I'm not responsible at work

Both you and your employer need to obey the rules about your employment. Although your employer will try and help you to settle in and learn your job, if you don't meet your responsibilities bad things could happen. First your employer will tell you what you are doing wrong. You will then be asked to do the right thing, and will be given help if you need it to improve. You will then have a chance to do better. If you keep doing the wrong thing you could probably lose your job.

Work conditions

There are some things that cannot be changed in your work. Your manager has to:

You might be a full-time, part-time, or casual worker. It is important that you know what this means.

If you are a full-time worker, you:

If you are a part-time worker, you:

If you are a casual worker, you:

Different types of work I work...

If you are concerned about not receiving your correct leave entitlements you can access help and information from the workplace ombudsman. Contact details are in the 'further information' section of this workbook.


What is probation?

Probation happens when you start a new job. It is a period of time during which you and your manager think about how you are going with your job. During the probation period, you and your manager will decide if this is the job for you. Sometimes the probation period can last three months or six months. There are times when there won't be a probation period, for example, if you are a casual worker you probably will not have a probation period.

There are lots of things that you and your manager will look at and talk about during the probation period. Here are some things that you might talk about.

Things my manager and I can think about during probation What my manager and I can do about it
What I do really well  
What I don't do really well  
What help or support I need to work better  
What training I need to work better  

Leave from work

Annual leave

If you work full-time, you will have about 20 days each year that you can take as holidays. This is called annual leave. When you take this time away from work, you will be paid as much as when you are at work. Annual leave is a time when you do not have to go to work, and you are free to do other things that you like doing.

Long service leave

When you work for the same employer for a long time you get extra paid holiday time, called long service leave. Usually you need to work for 10 years before you are able to take long service leave, and at most workplaces it is for two months. Some awards or organisations may offer more than two months. Some people like to take all of their long service leave at once, and take a very long holiday. Other people might take some long service leave every now and then.

Sick leave

If you are a permanent worker you build up sick leave for each week that you work. Sick leave means that you can still be paid, even when you stay at home because you are too sick to work. You can take sick leave:

If you are sick and off work for only one day, you may not need to go to a doctor. This means that you will use some of your sick leave without a doctor's certificate.

If you are off work for a few days and go to your doctor, your manager will need to know that you have done that. You will need to ask your doctor for a piece of paper called a certificate. The doctor signs this and gives it to you. You then give that to your manager.

Different workplaces have different ideas about whether you must have a doctor's certificate if you are off work because you are sick. Some workplaces say you must have a doctor's certificate even if you have been sick only one day. Your manager should tell you what happens at your workplace if you are sick.

If you are employed as a casual you are paid a higher hourly rate, and won't build up sick leave. Your sick leave is part of this higher rate.

If you are concerned about your work conditions, you can find help and information from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission or the workplace ombudsman. Contact details are in the 'further information' section of this workbook.

Types of leave you can take if you are a permanent full-time or part-time employee How much leave I have
Annual leave  
Long service leave  
Sick leave without a doctor's certificate  
Sick leave with a doctor's certificate  

Hours of work

Your hours of work are very important. This means being at work in the right place, and being ready to work at the right time.

Some people work seven hours and 30 minutes each day, which is a total of 37 hours and 30 minutes each week. Other people work shorter or longer hours.

It is your responsibility to know how many hours you have to work every day, and what time you are supposed to start and finish.

Hours of work My hours of work
Start time  
Break times  
Finish time  


Your workplace puts money into a special account for you, every time you are paid. This does not come out of your wages. The money is saved for you, for when you retire from work. This money is called superannuation, sometimes people also call it their 'super'.

Your workplace should give you information about where your superannuation is kept, and the amounts that are paid into your account each year.

Not everyone has superannuation paid by their workplace. You have to earn a certain level of pay, set by the Australian Taxation Office, before your employer pays this money. If your employer does not pay superannuation for you, you can still choose to pay money into a superannuation account yourself. In some cases, the government will put money in as well. Talk with your manager, or your family member/advocate about this.

If you want more information, you can visit the Australian Government's website on superannuation at

Questions about my superannuation fund Answers
Where is my superannuation money kept?  
How much money is paid in each year?  
How much money do I currently have in my superannuation fund?  

My wage

The Australian Government has rules for how you get paid if you work in an Australian Disability Enterprise. You have to be paid for the work you do. Your pay will be worked out by a wage assessment.

During a wage assessment someone will watch you doing your job. They will decide:

After you finish the wage assessment your wage is worked out. If you are not happy with the result you can speak to your supervisor.

Wage assessments are done on a regular basis. Your workplace will tell you how often. If you are working better and are able to do more you will get a higher rate of pay.

Wage determination questions Answers
Which assessment tool was used for me?  
How was my pay worked out?  
How much should I get paid  
Am I paid what my wage assessment said I would be paid?  

My pay

You should always be given correct and up-to-date information about how and when you will be paid.

For example, your workplace may ask you for your bank account number so that your pay can be put into your account. You workplace should tell you when your pay will be there.

Rates of pay questions Answers
How do I get paid?  
When do I get paid?  

Training and support to do my job

In your job, you will get a chance to set some goals. These goals are about the new things you want to do at work. They will also help you to decide what you need to learn so that you can do these new things at work.

You will do your job best if you are shown what you have to do, and if you get the chance to practise doing it. You will also do your job better if you get extra training to learn new things. It is important that you talk to your manager about this.

From time to time, you may need extra help to do your work. Your manager should be able to get you the right kind of support, so that you can do your job well. This support can be things like having:

What training do I need to do my job?  
What training do I need to do the other jobs I'm interested in?  
What extra supports do I need?  

If you are concerned about not receiving the proper training you can access help and information from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission or the workplace ombudsman. Contact details are in the 'further information' section of this workbook.

Occupational health and safety (OH&S)

Your manager has to make sure that your workplace is safe. Your manager also has to make sure that you are working in a way that keeps you and others safe.

You can help with this by:

My responsibilities How I work safely
When would I tell my manager or supervisor about something that seems unsafe?  
How do I tell my manager or supervisor if I think someone will get hurt?  
What personal protective clothing (PPE) has been given to me?  
Why has it been given to me?  
What have I been told to do so that I will keep safe?  
Do I know what to do if there is a fire?  
Where are the safety rules for my workplace?  
Do I know what my workplace's safety rules are?  

If you are still worried that your workplace may not be safe, ask your supervisor to help you look at the OH&S websites in the 'further information' section of this workbook.

Further information

You can look at the following websites if you need to know more about the workplace rights and responsibilities of supported employees.

Disability advocacy agencies

Australian Government workplace ombudsman

Other references

Workplace ombudsman – workplace rights and rules

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Wage determination


OH&S websites

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

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