If there is no contract of employment, a person cannot be considered an employee. A contract does not have to be in writing. It may, for example, be completely oral, completely written or a combination of the two.
There are several groups of people in the workforce who do not have a contract of employment with an employer, and are therefore not considered to be employees, for example, independent contractors. These workers are excluded from the national workplace relations system.
Employers and employees not covered by the national workplace relations system are covered by the applicable state industrial relations system.
However, through Australia’s adherence to International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, national entitlements to unpaid parental leave and notice of termination or payment in lieu (instead) of notice; as well as protection from unlawful termination of employment, are extended to employees covered by a state industrial relations system.
If you think your employer is part of a state workplace relations system you should contact the industrial relations body in your state:
If you would like free legal advice or other advisory services there are community legal centres in each state and territory who may be able to assist.
The law institute or law society in your state or territory may be able to refer you to a private solicitor who specialises in workplace law.
Employee and employer organisations may also be able to provide advice and assistance.
The Fair Work Commission has a free legal assistance service available to eligible employees and employers. The Commission coordinates the Service in collaboration with lawyers from our network of partner organisations. You can check your eligibility and fill in the Workplace Advice Service request form online.