Wages and conditions
The majority of workplaces in Australia are covered by awards. Awards vary depending on the industry you work in and the job you do. The minimum wages and conditions an employee is entitled to are outlined in awards.
Most awards have special coverage for apprentices and trainees. Your employer should pay you at least the minimum rate shown in your award or agreement.
Overtime and weekend penalty rates
If overtime or weekend work is required, you should be aware of the conditions. Ask your employer:
- What counts as overtime?
- What will my overtime pay rate be?
- Should I be receiving penalty rates for working overtime (time and a half or double time)?
- Do penalty rates apply for weekend or late night work?
Use the FairWork pay calculator to calculate base pay rates, allowances and penalty rates (including overtime).
Conditions of payment
You should be paid for all the hours you work. This includes:
- team and individual meetings at your employer's request,
- opening and closing the business, training sessions,
- days travelling during work hours for your job, and compulsory attendance at a function.
You should be paid on a set day, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. You must receive a pay slip from your employer within one day of being paid so you know what you’re being paid for.
Discover more information about FairWork apprentice and trainee pay rates.
If you’re 18 or older and you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month, your employer must make superannuation contributions on your behalf.
If you’re under 18 and you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month and you work more than 30 hours in a week, your employer must also make superannuation contributions on your behalf.
Use the Australian Taxation Office’s Estimate My Super tool to estimate how much super your employer should pay.
More information: call the ATO Superannuation Infoline on 13 10 20.
Deductions from pay
Your employer shouldn’t deduct anything from your wages unless the law requires it or you’ve agreed in writing. The deduction must be for your benefit. If you’re under 18, your parent or guardian must also agree to the deduction in writing.
Most employees are entitled to at least a half hour break after five hours of work.
Check your award or agreement to find out what your rest and meal breaks are.
Discover more about the minimum break requirements in your industry.
Public holidays and leave
If you’re required to work on a public holiday, you’re generally entitled to penalty rates. This may vary according to your award or agreement and employment type (full-time or part-time).
You can say no to working on a public holiday if you have reasonable grounds. This depends on the type of work you do, whether you get extra pay for working on holidays, how much notice you’re given, and your reasons for refusing (i.e. family responsibilities).
Full-time and part-time workers get four weeks of annual leave based on their ordinary hours of work.
Explore how annual leave accumulates.
You can take paid sick leave when you can't work due to personal illness or injury.
Use the Leave Calculator to calculate your sick and carer's leave entitlements.
Hours of work
Your hours of work will depend on your industry and the award or agreement you work under.
There may be minimum hours that you’ll be required to work. If you work hours outside of your agreed hours, you may also be entitled to overtime. Your work supervisor should outline these expectations during your workplace induction.
Training and fees
Some awards contain entitlements for time spent at training as well as reimbursement of training costs, fees and textbooks.
Check which entitlements apply to you.
If you're a full-time apprentice or trainee and an Australian resident, you may be eligible for:
If you're under 22 years of age and have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work, you may be eligible for a Youth Disability Supplement.
If you get sick or have a short-term illness that affects your ability to work or study, Centrelink may be able to help.
Centrelink may also be able to provide you with rent assistance or a low income health care card.
Contact Centrelink to find out more.