Your employer must pay you at least the minimum rate shown in your award or agreement.
This rate will depend on the type of work you do, and the actual times you work.
Depending on your age, you may be paid a junior rate, which is less than the adult rate.
Your employer can pay you more than the minimum rate if they want to.
You may also be paid allowances for doing certain tasks, overtime pay for working outside your regular hours or penalty rates for working nights, weekends or public holidays.
You should be paid at least once a fortnight. You may be paid in cash, by cheque or deposit into your bank account.
Remember, your employer cannot take money out of your pay without your written permission, or unless it is required by law, such as tax.
Types of pay
The amount you have earned before income tax and other deductions are subtracted from your pay.
The amount of money you actually receive after your income tax and any other deductions have been taken out from your weekly earnings.
This is your money to spend or save! This is also sometimes called your 'take home pay'.
Adult rates of pay
The majority of awards and agreements set out an age at which all employees must be paid the full adult rate of pay. Typically this is 21 years of age, but can be younger under some awards.
Most awards make provision for adult and junior wages. Minimum rates for juniors tend to be lower than those for adults.
Junior rates of pay
Junior rates of pay are based on the age of an employee and are usually set as a percentage of the adult rate.
By law your employer must provide you with a pay slip each time you are paid.
The pay slip must contain the following information:
- the name of the employer
- the Australian Business Number (ABN) (if any) of the employer
- the employee’s name
- the date of payment
- the pay period (e.g. 24/3/11 to 30/3/11)
- the gross (before tax) and net (after tax) amount of pay
- any loadings, monetary allowances, bonuses, incentive-based payments, penalty rates or other entitlements paid that can be singled out
- if the employee is paid an hourly rate - the ordinary hourly pay rate and number of hours worked at that rate and the amount of pay at that rate
- if the employee is paid an annual rate (salary) - the rate as at the last day in the pay period
- any deductions made from an employee's pay, including the amount and details of each deduction.
Superannuation contributions for an employee’s benefit should include the amount of each superannuation contribution made during the period to which the pay slip relates and the name or the name and number of the superannuation fund you put or will put superannuation contributions into.
Recovering unpaid wages
Didn't get paid the right amount? You should take the following steps.
If you are not sure how much you are owed or need help preparing your claim, you can contact Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94.
Step 1 - Prepare your claim
Gather together the evidence you need to make your claim - such as your pay slips, your letter of offer and any diary records.
Calculate exactly how much you believe you are owed. You must also:
- Identify the full name of the person, company or organisation that employed you.
- Identify the current registered or official address of your employer.
- Work out the starting date of your employment.
- Identify the award or enterprise agreement that applies to the work that you perform.
- Identify the correct pay classification in the award or enterprise agreement applying to the work you perform. Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 can help you with this.
- Complete a statement outlining the amount of money owed to you.
Step 2 - Letter of demand
As the next stage of the process, send your employer a letter/email outlining what you believe is owed to you. This is called a 'Letter of demand'. Make sure you date both documents and sign the letter. Keep a copy for your records.
Step 3 - Contact Fair Work Ombudsman
If your employer does not respond or agree to settle the matter, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 to find out what to do next.