Employment conditions

Your rights in the workplace

Many international students in NSW take on part-time or casual work to help pay their living expenses. In Australia, we have basic rights and protection conditions that cover the workplace.

Your right to fair working conditions - Fair Work Ombudsman

International students have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia. It is important to understand your workplace rights and entitlements if you plan to get a job, especially if it’s your first job in Australia.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can help you prepare for your new job. It offers a range of free resources and tools, including a Guide to Starting a New Job and the ‘Starting a New Job’ online course at www.fairwork.gov.au/learning.

Here are some simple tips to get you started.

Be careful when finding work

Take the time to find an employer that pays correctly and doesn’t try to take advantage of you. Your employer must pay money for the work you do. Don’t accept offers of 'paid in-kind' (for example, with goods such as food) instead of your wages. Don't respond to questionable advertisements where there is only a first name and a mobile number provided. Know who you are working for – ask the question: What is the business name and Australian Business Number (ABN)?

Know what you should be paid

You should be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours that you work. You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay and Conditions Tool to work out the minimum wage for the work that you do.

Keep your own records

Pay slips and record-keeping are important for making sure you're being paid the correct wages and getting your employee entitlements. Keep a diary of the hours you work and the type of work you are doing.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours app can help you record and store the hours you work, plus other information about your employment. The free app is available in 18 languages and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Ask for help

Remember that it’s OK to ask your boss about your pay and conditions at work. You can also contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for help if you're having workplace issues, without fear of your visa being cancelled.

Read Jessica's story to find out how the Fair Work Ombudsman can help you sort out workplace issues to do with your pay and conditions.

If you know a workplace that isn’t doing the right thing, but don’t want to get involved or disclose your identity, you can report it anonymously in English or 16 other languages to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

To find out more about your rights and entitlements at work, register for My account with the Fair Work Ombudsman at www.fairwork.gov.au/register or call 13 13 94.

To access information in your own language, go to www.fairwork.gov.au/languages or call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

You can also subscribe to email and media release updates, and follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on social media (FacebookTwitter, Youtube) to keep up to date on current issues.

Other useful resources 

  • International student factsheet – a factsheet created for international students that provides information on minimum entitlements
  • Unpaid work – information about unpaid work, including unpaid internships and unpaid trials


Workplace Health & Safety - SafeWork NSW

If you’re a young worker, it’s important you know your workplace health and safety rights and obligations.

Your manager must give you appropriate training, supervision, information and equipment to ensure you can work safely. You should speak up if you think you could be hurt at work.

Health & Safety

Visit SafeWork NSW to explore the available resources for young workers, including your rights and responsibilities, employers responsibilities and manager and supervisor responsibilities. Work rights fact sheets are available in multiple languages (Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Filipino, Chinese, Malay).

Useful resources include:

You can also subscribe to the wrap newsletter and media releases updates, and follow the Safe Work NSW on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube) to keep up to date on current issues. You can contact SafeWork NSW through a number of ways.

The right to speak up

If you notice a safety hazard in your workplace, or you are concerned that safety practices are not being followed, you should talk about it with your supervisor, employer and/or health and safety representative straight away. If your supervisor or the person in charge won’t listen or you feel you can’t talk to them, use the Speak Up App to confidentially report your safety concerns.

Mental Health at Work

Mental (psychological) health, just like physical health, is an important part of work health and safety (WHS). Recognising and managing risks in the workplace that may lead to physical or psychological injury is an essential part of creating a safe, healthy and productive workplace. To find out how to create a mentally healthy workplace please visit the Mental Health at Work website.

Content provided by SafeWork NSW