Employment rights for international students

Hi, welcome to Tips Tuesday. My name is Melanie Thorley and I’m the principal solicitor at MJT Law. Today we’re going to look at the rights of international students.

To do that we’re going to jump onto the Fair Work Ombudsman website and we’re going to look at the rights international students have. International students are just like any other employee working in Australia. If they are an employee of a federal jurisdiction then they would still be under the Fair Work Act. If they are an employee of a constitutional corporation, i. E. a business that is not government, then they would be under the Fair Work Act. If they are an employee for a state or territory government then they may well be under the employment regime that is in that state or territory.

We are going to look at the Fair Work Act and the requirements there. Of course you may be a full time, part time, or casual worker; you may also be a contract worker. We’ve talked a little bit about this before, and if you’ve got any questions about the different types of employment please give me a call. Remember I do provide thirty minutes free legal advice over the telephone.

We’re going to move on to the minimum conditions. Every employee in Australia has these minimum conditions. They’re called the National Employment Standards and there are ten of them. If you jump onto my website you’ll see under news … You’ll scroll down and you’ll see that I’ve done an article on the ten National Employment Standards. This will just give you a brief idea of what those standards are. Okay, going back to that, as an international student you still have rights under the employment standards.

When it is not okay at work, or what is not okay at work? Now, remember being unpaid while working is not okay. Unless it is a placement for an authorized education facility, i.e. university or a TAFE, and your placement is to do with your education, then it is likely that you’re going to need to be paid for what work you’re doing. This means internships, volunteer work, depending on the volunteer work, and also trials. You should be paid for all those things. You need to be given payslips, you meed to be given training, and you should be paid for that training, as well. If you are sent home early, unless you are a casual employee, it’s likely that you are going to be paid for that. It’s not okay to receive goods and services instead of pay. There are some conditions to that. Sometimes it’s okay to receive some housing instead of being paid but it needs to balance. If you’ve got any questions here, please contact us.

Can you have deductions from your wages? The short answer is no, unless there are certain criteria. The first criteria is that it needs to be for your benefit and you need to agree to it in writing. Another criteria is an award or an agreement or the Fair Work Commission orders that. Otherwise it’s authorized under a state or commonwealth court. This means that it’s unlikely that your employer can make any deductions to your pay unless you’ve given them written authority to do so.

You can get paid in cash but you still need a payslip. It is a breach of the Fair Work Act not to provide payslips and your tax withholdings should be paid out of that.

If you’ve got any questions about you being an international student or you’re taking on an international student and the rights and obligations, please give us a call. This is a very important subject. If you’ve got any questions whatsoever about your rights and responsibilities please, please give me a call. I should be able to steer you in the right direction. My phone number is 07 3040 0337 Don’t walk in the dark on this one, this is a very, very hot topic. Remember I provide thirty minutes free legal advice over the telephone.

Thank you very much.