Visit Finding the right pay to find out the right base rate of pay for your job. Minimum wages depend on a number of things, including the type of work you’re doing, your age and where you are working.
If you’re covered by an enterprise agreement check the pay rates in the agreement. The rates of pay in agreements can’t be any less then the rates under the relevant award.
If you’re not covered by an award or an agreement then you need to be paid at least the national minimum wage for all hours that you work.
You can be paid more then the minimum, but you can’t be paid less.
It depends on your job and what you’re covered by.
Most people are covered by an award or enterprise agreement. These usually have higher rates of pay (penalty rates) when you work on public holidays, weekends, overtime, late at night or early in the morning.
If you’re covered by an enterprise agreement, check what the agreement says about penalty rates.
If you’re not covered by an award or an agreement and you don’t have a contract with your employer then you need to be paid at least the national minimum wage for all hours that you work - regardless of when they are.
Visit Finding the right pay for tools you can use to calculate your minimum wages, including any penalty rates.
No, as long as you’re still being paid above the minimum wage.
If you’re being underpaid we can help you find a solution. For details see Complaints.
There are a couple of reasons why this may be OK. It may be because your friend’s workplace is in a different workplace relations system. Since 2010 most workplaces in Australia are in the national system but if you’re in WA, some might still be in the state system.
Or it may be because your friend is working under an enterprise agreement with different penalty rates.
Your friend might also be being paid above their minimum wages. While there are minimum wages you must be paid, there is nothing stopping employers from paying more than the minimum.
Your friend’s employer may have also started their business at a different time, which can impact weekend rates.
Visit Finding the right pay for tools and information to help you find out what your minimum entitlements are.
In some cases your employer can take money from your pay for equipment, overpayments etc. They can only do this if:
- you agree in writing to the exact amount of the deduction and it’s for your benefit (e.g. salary sacrificing)
- the deduction is allowed under your enterprise agreement or award or
- a Fair Work Commission order, a law or a court order says they can (for example tax or child support payments).
Every year, the Fair Work Commission (previously called Fair Work Australia) reviews the minimum wages. If they change the minimum wage, the new amount starts to apply from 1 July.
From 1 July 2012, Fair Work Australia decided on an increase of 2.9% to modern award weekly wages.
This increase applies to pay rates for employees covered by the national minimum wage, modern awards, all transitional pay and classification scales, state reference transitional awards and Division 2B State Awards.
For adult employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, the adult national minimum wage was increased from $589.30 per week to $606.40, or $15.96 per hour.
From 1 July 2011, Fair Work Australia decided on an increase of 3.4% to modern award weekly wages.
This increase applied to pay rates for employees covered by the national minimum wage, modern awards, all transitional pay and classification scales, state reference transitional awards and Division 2B State Awards.
For adult employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, the adult national minimum wage was increased from $569.90 per week to $589.30, or $15.51 per hour.
From 1 July 2013, the super guarantee is increasing to 9.25%. This will continue to increase every year until it reaches 12% from 1 July 2019.
Superannuation is paid on top of the minimum entitlements in the award or agreement that applies.
Employees can’t be paid less than the minimum wages that apply to them.
If an employee is paid more than their minimum entitlements and if their employer wants to reduce their wages to compensate for the increased super rate or for any other reason, the employer should seek independent advice from a lawyer or their employer association.
The model phasing schedule is part of most modern awards. It phases in the rates of pay in modern awards (including wages, loadings, penalty rates and shift allowances) in 5 equal instalments from 1 July 2010 to 1 July 2014.
This shouldn’t happen. The phasing arrangements for modern awards are not meant to reduce anyone’s take-home pay.
If it does happen, contact the Fair Work Commission about applying for a take-home pay order.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) generally looks after superannuation. If you think your employer is not paying your superannuation, the ATO can help you. For more information, visit ATO - unpaid super or call 13 10 20.
Some modern awards have extra superannuation requirements. See How to find an award to find the award that applies. If your award has super requirements that you’re not getting, visit the Complaints section for information about what to do.
Awards often have allowances that apply to employees in some circumstances. An industry allowance is a payment made to all employees in an industry to compensate for the type of work they do. This type of allowance is commonly found in the building and construction industry.
See How to find an award to find the award that applies.
Visit Finding the right pay to find out the right base rate of pay for your staff.
If they are covered by an enterprise agreement you need to pay them the rate in the agreement. The base rate in the agreement has to be at least the same as the rate in the relevant modern award.
Only if this is allowed by the agreement or modern award that applies to your employees.
Most modern awards allow employers paying over the award rate to absorb penalty rates into over-award payments. However, you need to make sure that any contract you have with the individual employee allows you to do this.
Some modern awards also have specific clauses about annual salaries. These clauses often allow employer to pay a certain amount above the minimum wage instead of paying certain other entitlements, like overtime. Check your award to see what applies.
First, you need to know if you’re in the national workplace relations system. If you don’t know this, see What is happening in my state?. You will most likely be in the national system unless you’re a sole trader or partnership in Western Australia. If your business is a sole trader or partnership in Western Australia, visit the Labour Relations division of the WA Department on Commerce website .
If you’re in the national system you need to know:
Visit the My business page for more information about your obligations including record-keeping and pay slips. You’ll also find links to resources including templates, checklists and fact sheets to help you understand what you need to do.
Sick leave is paid at an employee’s base rate of pay. Penalty and overtime rates are only payable if your employee actually works.
Phasing pay rates - answers for employers
No, as long as the over-award payments you are making covers your obligations under the modern award, including the wage increase. If you have an employment contract check the terms as they may be different.
If you didn’t have to pay penalty rates before 1 January 2010, you can gradually phase in the modern award penalty rates in 5 annual increases from July 2010 until July 2014.
This table shows how it works.
|Before the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2010
||0% (none of the penalty rate in the modern award applies)
|From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2010
|From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2011
|From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2012
|From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2013
|From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2014
||100% (the penalty rate in the modern award applies in full)
The modern awards transitional arrangements apply to all employees covered by the modern award. This includes juniors, trainees, apprentices and employees with a disability as well as existing and new employees.
If a pre-modern award loading or penalty rate is exactly the same as the modern award loading or penalty rate, then the modern award rate applies in full from 1 January 2010.
Fines, legal action and prosecution are not our first response. Our priority is to educate people and help them understand how to make sure they’re meeting their obligations.
Generally, the Fair Work Ombudsman will not prosecute if you readily fix a mistake. However, if an employer has deliberately breached the law or harmed vulnerable workers then we may consider legal action.