Paying wages

Employees must be paid at least monthly and can be paid by one, or a combination of, the following:

  • cash
  • cheque, money order or postal order, payable to the employee
  • electronic funds transfer (ie. EFT or bank transfer).

Most awards, enterprise agreements or registered agreements will set out when employees must be paid (weekly, fortnightly or monthly). If it doesn't, employees must be paid at least monthly. 

Employees need to be paid money for their work - they cannot be 'paid in-kind' (for example, with goods such as food).  

There are limited situations when an employer can:

  • make a deduction from an employee's pay
  • require an employee to pay money (eg. an overpayment).

Most of the time this isn't allowed - for example, 'cashback' schemes

Find information about the payment of wages in your award, by selecting from the list below. 

Retail Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the General Retail Industry Award [MA000004].

Employees must be paid weekly or fortnightly.

Casuals are paid either:

  • at the end of each time they work, or
  • weekly or fortnightly, when the full-time or part-time employees are paid.

An employee can be paid monthly in specific circumstances. This only applies if:

  • the employer was paying their employees monthly prior to 1 January 2010
  • the employee is above classification level 3 in their role.

Averaging an employee's pay

An employee's hours might differ from week to week. For example, an employee might work more than 38 ordinary hours in 1 week and less than 38 hours the next week. 

These employees can be paid under an averaging system to avoid getting different payments on each pay day. This means the pay would stay the same each week even when an employee's hours differ from week to week.

Example: Averaging a full-time employee's pay

Tim is a full-time employee who works:

  • 32 hours in 1 week and
  • 44 hours in the following week.

He is paid 38 hours per week under the averaging system, even though his hours change from week to week.

To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Retail Award summary.

Source reference: General Retail Industry Award [MA000004] clause 11.6 and 18 external-icon.png

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Best practice tip

If paying wages by cash, the employer and employees should sign a record to confirm the amount of money that has been paid each pay period.

Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.323 external-icon.png

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