What is work?


Working as a full-time employee, you’ll be entitled to the following.

When you work as a full-time employee, you’ll work about 38 hours a week.

You’re entitled to:

  • paid annual leave (usually four weeks per year)
  • paid sick leave and personal leave
  • notice periods
  • a safe work environment

Arrangements for overtime will be arranged by your employer.


A part-time worker has regular hours each week, but works fewer hours than a full-time employee. As a part-time employee you’ll be given the same entitlements as a full-time employee (annual leave, sick and personal leave), but will receive these in proportion to the hours you work. Whether you get paid for any overtime you work will be arranged with your employer.


Casual workers are employed on an hourly or daily basis. Casual workers may not have regular or guaranteed hours of work. They don’t get paid sick leave or annual leave, but will receive a higher hourly rate to compensate for this.

While casual work can sometimes be beneficial for someone who has irregular availability (for example someone doing part0time study). But according to recent statistics up to 40% of working people in Australia are either employed casually or other forms of insecure work, and increasingly people who are employed casually would rather find part or full-time work.

Contract work

Some employers hire people as contractors and treat them like they are a small business or self-employed. This means that the ‘contractor’ will be responsible for their own superannuation, workers accident insurance and leave. Beware; sometimes this is used unfairly to reduce an employee’s pay and rights.

Labour hire

Labour hire organisations employ people and then hire them out to companies. Employees work under the direction of the company but are actually employed by the labour hire company. This model has been used increasingly to reduce pay and conditions for workers who are passed through a series of labour hire companies, each time reducing pay.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Work Studies/Year 9/Career and life design: Career development and management
Recognise the importance of self-awareness in career and life design.

Work Studies/Year 9/Career and life design: The nature of work
Describe the nature of work in Australia and the implications for current and future work opportunities.

Work Studies/Year 10/Career and life design: The nature of work
Investigate the relationships between work cultures, work arrangements and the individual.

Work Studies/Year 10/Career and life design: Gaining and keeping work
Explain how diverse work arrangements are impacting on the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers

Relevant Resources

First Job, Work Experience
3: Going pro
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5: Job application essentials
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