Your work rights

Get insights on what your rights, responsibilities, and visa requirements are when working in Australia.

Whether you’re a local or international student—everyone has work rights that include minimum wage requirements, workplace health and safety, and protection against discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

To support your work rights, it’s good practice to keep records of your employment, including:

  • The organisation's name, address and ABN, or if you’re employed by a person, their full legal name
  • Copies of contracts or other documents you've signed
  • Emails and text messages related to your employment
  • Written records of any verbal agreements

Work rights for internships

Under the Fair Work Act, an internship needs to be paid unless:

  • It is a required and/or assessed part of your course, or
  • It is with a not-for-profit organisation.

The University’s insurance program covers currently enrolled students undertaking University of Melbourne (unpaid) course accredited and approved work experience, placements and internships.

The University must be connected to the proposed activity by either:

  • A compulsory course requirement or;
  • In accordance with a specific vocational placement agreement or contract.

If your internship is paid, the employer will normally provide insurance cover.

If you undertake an unpaid internship that isn’t part of your study program, you should consider taking out your own public liability and personal accident insurance.

Work rights for international students

If you’re a student visa holder looking for legal advice, there are additional support services available to you, such as the International Students Work Rights Legal Service. It’s free, confidential, independent, and offers multilingual assistance.

Visa conditions

If you're in Australia on a student visa, the number of hours you're allowed to work is defined in your student visa conditions. These restrictions may include any work experience undertaken as part of your study.

For more information, visit our working on a student visa page or the resources below:

Work rights for part-time or casual work

Part-time work usually involves regular hours that add up to less than 38 hours per week, with leave benefits calculated depending on your time at work.

Casual work is on an hourly or daily basis, with no guarantee of regular hours, leave entitlements or notice period—however you will be paid at a higher rate of pay than part-time work to account for this difference in entitlements.

For more information, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman's Pay and Conditions Tool (P.A.C.T).

Tax obligations

If you work and earn money in Australia, you need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) and lodge an annual tax return with the ATO.

No matter how your employer chooses to pay you, your income tax must be sent to the Australian Tax Office without exception. It’s illegal for employers to pay you without having your taxes taken out, this includes ‘cash in hand’ payment.

For more information, see:

Get advice from the Australian Government’s Fair Work Ombudsman

If you’d like to get support with your specific rights, responsibilities, and visa requirements—visit the Fair Work website for more information.

Learn more about your work rights