Industrial relations (IR) is the management of work-related obligations and entitlements between employers and their workers. It is essential that business owners and workers understand whether their workplace is covered by either the state or national industrial relations system, because the two systems have different employment rights and obligations.

Private sector

All South Australian private sector businesses (including the non-government community services sector, private schools and universities) are covered by the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 and are part of the national IR system.

The national IR system includes pay and employment conditions for private sector employers. Check the Fair Work Ombudsman website for details. The website also includes a pay calculator and a list of awards.

All claims and enquiries should be directed to the Fair Work Ombudsman - the independent Commonwealth agency that works with employers, workers, contractors and the community.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can assist you with:

  • pay and wages
  • award and conditions of employment, such as sick leave and annual leave
  • advice to assist businesses that employ young workers
  • information for different types of employees such as casual workers, shift workers, probationary periods, work experience, trial work and other unpaid work.

The agency's role is to ensure that the workplace rights and obligations of workers and employers are understood and protected, to enforce compliance with Australia's workplace laws, and to investigate workplace complaints.

Contact the Fair Work Ombudsman InfoLine on 13 13 94 for more information.

Public sector and local government

State public sector and local government employees are not covered by the national system.

Pay and employment conditions for the South Australian public sector, including almost all Government Business Enterprises, and the South Australian local government sector are part of the state industrial relations system.


If you believe that you have not been paid correctly, or not received all of your employment entitlements, you can request that we investigate the matter by filling in a claim form.

We may make a copy of this claim available to your employer.

If you are unsure whether you are under a State Award /Agreement or State Legislation, ring the SafeWork SA Help Centre on 1300 365 255.