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Wage Theft Guide 💸

Wage theft is a crime at epidemic levels. 1 in 5 young workers are being paid less than the legal minimum wage they are entitled to. 

So, if you think you’re wages have been stolen, you’re not alone! 

This is a series about how to work it out, and what to do about it.

Know Your Wages💰

Hospitality

Working in hospitality is regarded by many to be a rite of passage for young Australians entering the workforce. Many jobs in hospitality offer flexible schedules, penalty rates and the opportunity to build a social life with your colleagues.

Call Centres

For young workers, call centres can offer opportunities into entry level positions without needing much experience or skills, offer flexible hours, and can pay slightly higher than a lot of other industries. This can be especially great for when you’re studying. 

Interns

An internship is a short term placement for educational purposes. Your internship should not be free labour! If you are doing the same work as an employee (or the work a paid employee should be doing), your host business may be ripping you off.

Know Your Rights ✊

The National Employment Standards (usually referred to as the NES) are a set of 10 minimum employment conditions that have to be provided to all full time and part time employees. Your Award or Agreement can’t contain clauses that reduce these standards.

Casual workers are only entitled to some of the conditions in the NES.

Full time

Full-time employees are required to work 38 hours per week, plus any other reasonable additional (overtime) hours.

  • Maximum weekly hours
  • Request for flexible working arrangements
  • Paid parental leave
  • Paid annual leave
  • Paid personal and carers leave
  • Paid community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holiday leave, penalty rates, or time in lieu
  • Notice of termination
  • Receive a Fair Work Statement when you start working for a new employer

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Under the super guarantee, employers have to pay super contributions of 11% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings when an employee is:

  • over 18 years, or
  • under 18 years and works over 30 hours a week.
  • Full time, part time or casual


From 1 July 2024, the super guarantee, that is – the percentage of your wage that your employer is required to pay into your super account, will increase from 11.0% to 11.5%. The super guarantee will continue to rise in 0.5% increments until it reaches 12% in 2025.

The super your employers paids to you should ALWAYS be displayed on your payslips. 

Part time

Part-time employees work less than 38 hours per week and their hours are usually regular each week. 

  • Maximum weekly hours
  • Request for flexible working arrangements
  • Paid parental leave
  • Paid annual leave
  • Paid personal and carers leave
  • Paid community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holiday leave, penalty rates, or time in lieu
  • Notice of termination
  • Receive a Fair Work Statement when you start working for a new employer

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Under the super guarantee, employers have to pay super contributions of 11% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings when an employee is:

  • over 18 years, or
  • under 18 years and works over 30 hours a week.
  • Full time, part time or casual


From 1 July 2024, the super guarantee, that is – the percentage of your wage that your employer is required to pay into your super account, will increase from 11.0% to 11.5%. The super guarantee will continue to rise in 0.5% increments until it reaches 12% in 2025.

The super your employers paids to you should ALWAYS be displayed on your payslips. 

Casual

Casual employees usually work irregular hours. A casual employee does not have a firm commitment in advance from their employer to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.

  • Unpaid carers leave
  • Unpaid compassionate leave
  • Unpaid community service leave
  • Paid family and domestic violence leave
  • Receive a Fair Work Statement when you start working for a new employer

 

If you have been employed as a casual for 12 months & it can be reasonably expected that your employment will continue, you are also entitled to:

  • Request flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave

Insert content here

Under the super guarantee, employers have to pay super contributions of 11% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings when an employee is:

  • over 18 years, or
  • under 18 years and works over 30 hours a week.
  • Full time, part time or casual


From 1 July 2024, the super guarantee, that is – the percentage of your wage that your employer is required to pay into your super account, will increase from 11.0% to 11.5%. The super guarantee will continue to rise in 0.5% increments until it reaches 12% in 2025.

The super your employers paids to you should ALWAYS be displayed on your payslips. 

Contracts ✍️

So you’ve just been offered a job. Fantastic news!

When starting employment with any business or organisation, the employer must offer you a contract that outlines your employment conditions for you to agree to by signing before you start working. 

Did you know… you do not need to sign your employment contract on the spot (if they offer it to you in person). 

Employment contracts can be confusing (we totally get it). You’re entitled to take your contract away, read it, and ask questions until you fully understand what you’re signing.

It’s really important that you understand any contracts that you sign, and it’s really important that an adult is present when you sign a contract if you’re under 18. If you sign a contract and you’re under 18, it may not be legally binding without your parent or guardian co-signing it.

TIP: Ask for a copy of your signed contract and keep it somewhere safe!

Header saying Contract of Employment

The short answer is no. Your employer can’t force you to sign a new contract and any attempt to force you to enter into a new contract is illegal.

An employment contract must be agreed upon by both parties.

An employer can’t change the terms of your employment agreement without informing you. This is because employment agreements need to be agreed on by both the employer and employee in order to be valid. Therefore, you need to provide consent to your employer for them to make changes to your employment contract.

Fundamental terms form the basis of an employment contract. Any alteration made to fundamental terms results in the formation of a new contract.

The fundamental terms of an employment contract include; 

  • Your pay
  • Terms of employment e.g. full time, part time or casual
  • Position
  • Hours of work e.g. your minimum hours of work per week
  • Entitlements e.g. your leave or penalty rates (if applicable)

Once the new contract has been updated; you’re entitled to take your contract away, read it, and ask questions until you fully understand what you’re signing.

A new employment contract must be agreed upon by both parties.

TIP: Ask for a copy of your new signed contract and keep it somewhere safe!

Payslips 🧾

They might be dull, but payslips are important. 
For workers, they’re a checklist of how much you’re paid per hour, how many hours you worked in the pay period, how much super is owing, how much leave you have accrued and if you have any sick leave. Watch the below video 👇 to see what should be included on your payslip (as set out by Fair Work).

At the very latest, you should get your payslip the next day after payday.

Sometimes you’ll get it just before it goes into your bank, or at the same time. (It can depend on your bank, how long after receiving your payslip you can withdraw money.) 

 

It can be via email, or an actual piece of paper (groan!) – maybe tell your boss if you have a preference. 

 

Gross income is the amount you earn before the government takes out the tax. Net income is what you get in your pocket, after the tax on your wage has been taken out.

You can find tax rates on the ATO website hereIf you’re on a low income (under $18k) you should not be paying any tax. If you’re earning over $18,201, you’ll be taxed at the lowest rate, which is 19 per cent. 

The super guarantee is 11 per cent. This is the minimum your employer is required to pay on your behalf. It must be paid into your preferred super account, or the employer’s default super account at least four times per year. It’s up to you to check if your super has been paid. 

If you’re over 18, your employer must pay the super guarantee on the hours you have worked. If you’re under 18 and work more than 30 hours per week, you are also eligible for the super guarantee. 

Part-time, full-time, casual – if you’re employed by someone other than yourself, you’re eligible for the super guarantee. 

Are you ready to test your payslip knowledge?

from the blog 🔗

Check out our blog for other useful workplace content

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