There's more to being paid than just being handed some money every week. As well as knowing how much you'll be paid, it's important to also know when and how you're going to be paid, and what your employer's responsibilities are.
Things like superannuation and tax also have an effect on your pay, so it's good to understand them, too.
Getting paid - The basics
Before starting a new job, there are things you should know about getting paid, including:
- How often you'll be paid
- How you will receive your pay
- What kind of information should be included on your payslip
How often you'll be paid
Before you start a job you should always ask the specific question: How often will I be paid?
Most employees are paid monthly, fortnightly or weekly. If you're covered by a federal award, your award may state the minimum pay periods. To find out more about awards, check out the "Modern Awards" section of our Rights for full-time & part-time workers page.
How you'll get your money
Usually Victorian employees are paid by one of three methods:
- Electronic funds transfer (pay deposited electronically in your bank account)
If you're covered by an award or agreement, it may say how you should be paid.
Note that employers legally have to pay the correct rate (see "Minimum wages", below). They also can't pay employees 'in kind' (i.e., they can't give you goods and services instead of actual wages).
Payslips and what should be on them
You must receive a payslip each time you are paid. Your payslip may be electronic or it may be printed out and given to you. In Victoria payslips must show:
- Payment date
- Payment period
- Number of hours/days you worked in the period
- Your gross pay (before tax) and the amount you were actually paid
- All deductions, including tax deductions, made from your gross pay
- Any superannuation payments made on your behalf
If you're covered by a federal award, more information than the above may be required - your award will specify what extra information is needed. For more about awards, check out the "Modern Awards" section of our Rights for full-time & part-time workers page.
You should definitely contact the Fair Work Ombudsman or your union if:
- You have never received payslips
- Your payslips are incorrect
- Your payslips don't provide the above information
For more information on what information should be included on your payslip, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman or your union.
Australian law sets the minimum wage rates, which establish the minimum amount that people must legally be paid for different kinds of jobs. It's okay to be paid higher than the minimum rate set, but it's illegal to pay less.
Just because you are young and eager to work doesn't mean that an employer can take advantage of you and pay you less than you deserve. Before discussing pay with an employer, you can do some research to find out what you should be paid.
To find out more about minimum wage and pay rates, check out our Getting Paid page.
It's normal to feel awkward about raising the subject of pay when applying for a job or asking for a raise, but don't let your feelings of awkwardness stop you from asking that kind of question.
Check out our page on How to negotiate at work for further information.
Superannuation ("super") is money that your employer puts aside for you on your behalf. When you retire, your superannuation is meant to be a way that you can supplement your age pension (note that you can't get access to the money in your superannuation until you retire).
Retirement may seem a long way away, but your super is an important part of your pay. The amount of super your employer puts aside is based on your pay. When your pay goes up, your employer's super contribution should also go up.
If your employer isn't paying the right amount of super, or if they're not paying it at all, you can contact your super fund or the Super Helpline on 131 020.
You can find out more about super on our Superannuation page.
Usually when you start a job, you'll be asked to sign a tax declaration, which gives your employer permission to take income tax out of your wages and pay it to the tax office.
It's illegal for your employer to deduct any money - for tax or any other reason - from your wages without your written permission. If you're worried about any illegal deductions from your wages, you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94, or contact your union.
You can find out more about tax on our Tax page.
Fair Work Ombudsman
Gives advice and helps people understand their workplace rights and responsibilities
Statewide community legal centre specialising in issues for workers in Victoria, and offering free and confidential advice