Getting paid the right amount

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When you’re looking for work, or even if you’ve already got a job, one of the main things on your mind is money. So how do you know if you’re getting paid properly?

Things that can affect how much you're paid

Things that affect how much you get paid include:

  • Your industry
  • Your age
  • If you're a trainee or apprentice
  • Whether the job is full time, part-time, permanent or casual
  • Your level of seniority, experience, qualifications and responsibilities
  • Government awards, agreements or industrial laws relevant to the job

Before discussing pay with an employer, you can do some research to find out what you should be paid. Depending on your work situation you should either look into minimum wages or salary rates. 

  • If you work a casual job you're probably being paid a wage
  • If you work a part-time or full-time you're probably being paid an annual salary

Minimum wages

The law in Australia 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, but it's unlawful to be paid less. 

  • The Fair Work Ombudsman's Minimum wages page (new window) has information about minimum wages for different industries. You can also call 13 13 94 for advice.
  • The ACTU Worksite's Rights at work page (new window) has info about wages and salaries, and factsheets to download.

Salary rates

Here are some ways to find out about current trends for salaries in Australia:

  • Hays (new window) is an international recruitment company that releases salary reports for a range of industries.
  • Hudson (new window) is another recruitment company that produces salary guides and industry overviews. 

What to do if you’re being underpaid

If you don't think you're getting paid as much as you legally should be, there are things you can do.

If you signed a contract

If you signed a contract or an agreement before starting your job and you think you're being underpaid or working in unfair conditions, you can contact:

  • JobWatch (new window) - An independent employment rights legal centre
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman (new window) - Call them on 13 13 94 to get advice about wages and steps you can take

If you don’t have anything in writing

If you don't have a contract or anything in writing, but you think you’re being underpaid, start by finding out the standard pay in your industry for someone of your age and qualifications. You can do this by:

For more information on getting paid, including info about superannuation and tax, check out our Salary & Wages page.

Links

Fair Work Ombudsman
Gives advice and helps people understand their workplace rights and responsibilities, including minimum wages and award conditions.

JobWatch
State-wide community legal centre specialising in issues for workers in Victoria, and offering free and confidential advice.

ACTU Worksite - Rights at Work
The Australian Council of Trade Unions provides lots of introductory information about the world of work.