There are legislated set of minimum standards that must be met by employers in any employment relationship. There are also Awards, which set out special conditions that apply for particular industries. Unions also bargain for better conditions and consequently, some workplaces are covered by Enterprise Agreements setting out conditions of employment.
An employer and employee can still agree as to any terms and conditions they might want to have in the contract of employment, but if any of those terms or conditions falls below the minimum standard set by legislation, an award or an enterprise agreement, that covers their industry, the legislation, award or agreement conditions generally prevail (with limited exceptions).
All workers in South Australia, apart from State public servants and local government employees, come under the national system (Federal law). The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) applies in respect of employers and workers under the national system. For State government and local government employees, the main legislation is the Public Sector Act 2009 (SA), the Local Government Act 1999 (SA) and the Fair Work Act 1994 (SA), along with other Acts particular to specific government bodies and departments.
The Fair Work Commission is the national workplace relations tribunal.
Telephone: 1300 799 675
The Fair Work Ombudsman provides advice on workplace rights and responsibilities and investigates workplace complaints under Federal law (all except State government or Local government).
Telephone: 13 13 94
The Fair Work Ombudsman also has the ability to receive concerns about employers anonymously - See: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/how-we-help-you/anonymous-tipoff
Safework SA administers occupational, health and safety and welfare laws (including bullying) and also provides information on awards and conditions. Complaints can be made to Safework SA about contraventions of occupational, health, safety and welfare laws.
Telephone: 1300 365 355
Dispute resolution and Decision Making for the Return to Work scheme, SA Industrial and Employment Law, Equal Opportunity Discrimination Cases, Breach of Contract Cases, Monetary Claims (eg. underpaid wages) and Work Health and Safety Law.
Telephone: (08) 8207 0999
The Working Women's Centre provides free information, advice and support to women, and in some cases very vulnerable men, on issues related to work.
Telephone: 8410 6499 ; 1800 652 697
Training and Skills Commission provide information, assistance and support in relation to traineehips and apprenticeships.Telephone: (08) 8226 3462
The Training Advocate provides information, advice and advocacy services to trainees.
Telephone: 1800 006 488
The Young Worker's Legal Service provides information, advice, and representation to workers under the age of 30.
Telephone: 8279 2233
A free legal advice service run by the University of Adelaide - providing assistance in areas of Equal Opportunity Law (e.g. sexual harassment, discrimination, etc.).
Telephone: 8207 1977 (between 10am - 3pm)
For work place health and safety and injuries see the Law Handbook section on Accidents at Work.
For discrimination at work see the Law Handbook chapter on Discrimination.
For issues relating to getting help from an employer whilst experiencing family or domestic violence (including your leave rights) - see the Law Handbook on Family Violence.
The information about Federal industrial law on this site has been partially reproduced from information from the Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Copyright Commonwealth of Australia reproduced by permission.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.