Monday, September 29, 2014

Only in Australia?

This post is for the September expat blog challenge.  It's still September.  I haven't run out of time.

Our prompt is:  "Only in ...".  We're supposed to take a store from the news or current events in our country and explain why it makes me say, "Only in (x country) ...".

The only problem with this prompt is that I don't really watch the news and I never know the current events anywhere.  Maybe some people would think this is embarrassing, but not me.  I think that most of the things that happen in this world are depressing and I'm depressed enough without help.  LOL!

But I have some things I can contribute to this topic.  I'm just not sure these things happen "only in Australia."  I can tell you this, though ... these things DO NOT happen in the States.

When you start a job in Australia, you automatically get 10 minimum entitlements.
  • You are only supposed to work 38 hours in a week before you start earning overtime.  Employers can also offer you TOIL (time off in lieu).  Here's the thing.  Most full time roles are paid a salary and I don't know anyone who only works 38 hours a week or get TOIL that means anything.  But the thing is ... you are only supposed to have to work 38 hours a week instead of 40.
  • After working for the same employer for 12 months (ha!), you can request flexible working arrangements.  You can ask to change your start and finish times, split shifts or job sharing and/or working from home.  You have to put the request in writing and explain why you need this arrangement.  Your employer has 21 days to reply.  They can refuse, but they have to make a good case for why it's not feasible.
  • Once you have worked for the same employer for 12 months, you are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave.  You can also request another 12 months of unpaid leave.  At the end of this time, your employer has to give you your same job back.  Therefore, there are lots of contract jobs in Australia.  The employer has to find someone to cover the job until the parent comes back to work.
  • Vacation aka Annual Leave:  All full- and part-time employees are entitled to 4 weeks of annual leave per year on a pro-rata basis.  And speaking of annual leave ... you can get approval pretty easily for taking unpaid annual leave.  I've known several people who have taken off 3+ months off.  The company will just take in a temp while you are away.  It's unbelievable.
  • There is paid and unpaid sick and carers' leave.  Full-time employees get 10 days of paid leave; part-timers earn leave on a pro-rata basis.  If someone in your household gets sick or needs care, you can use paid or unpaid carers' leave.  You also get compassionate leave.  Two days each time you need it for immediate family.
  • Employees get paid jury duty and unpaid emergency management leave.  I don't know how often this is used.
  • In New South Wales, after 5 years an employee is entitled to long service leave.  There's a whole calculator and everything.  Obviously, I've never qualified for something like this, but this leave is on top of any regular annual leave accumulated and is paid out when an employee leaves the company if it's not used.
  • There are 9 public holidays in New South Wales: New Year's Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Queen's Birthday, Labour Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
  • There are rules about how much notice an employer needs to give their employee if they terminate their employment.  They can opt to pay it out instead of having the employee work it out.  Employers have to give the same notice if they make an employee redundant, as well.  Redundancy is similar to lay offs.
  • Lastly, the employer has to provide a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement.  :)

Another thing Australians have is a fair minimum wage of $16.87/hour.  I could start talking about the miserable minimum wage in America right now, but honestly ... I'm tired of typing and I just don't want to.