Not all employers suck. In fact, I’ve been blessed with a solid ratio of like 7:1.5 fab workplaces. That one bad one was the soul-sucking pits, though. Then a perfectly fine cafe job still had bosses that would (and did) get away with cutting any payment corners they could. And heck, even honest and good employers sometimes make a little whoopsie.
The point of this rant being, you really need to be aware of what the heck is going on with your paycheck because the only person who is truly affected by how much money you’re making is you.
I know it all seems obvious, but I’ll bet you didn’t know about at least two of these payroll rules from CEO and payroll expert at Australian Payroll Association Tracy Angwin – they sure as heck surprised me.
1. You’ve gotta be paid for out of hours work stuff
I mean, not ALL of it. You can definitely cannot demand compensation for a few cheeky after work bevvies with your workmates. However if it’s a meeting or you’re doing any kind of training, yes they are considered to be time worked and must be added to your paycheck. In some cases, compensation can be given as Time In Lieu.
2. You’ve gotta be paid your full notice period
If you’ve given a notice period and your workplace asks you to leave earlier, they’ve still got to pay you for the whole time. Of course, if you’re the one who refuses to work your full notice period, employers don’t have to pay you for ANY of the notice period.
In fact, under many awards, your employer could even deduct up to a week’s wages from your final paycheck (but not leave entitlements) if you’ve refused to work your full notice period.
3. You’ve gotta be paid full rates even when you’re training
There are very strict rules around ‘trainee’ rates. Simply being an apprentice/ trainee/ junior employee doesn’t count. Employers legally must have a registered training contract in place and have lodged it with the relevant authorities. Otherwise, you have to be paid the same as any other employee.
4. You’ve gotta get more than two days Compassionate leave
Although Compassionate Leave allows you to take two days from work if your immediate family member or household member dies, you can take two days off work every time this situation occurs. Obviously, this one is on an ‘as needed’ basis and hopefully, you’ll never need it. But if you do, it’s not just two days for the year and then you’re done.
5. You’ve gotta ask for your leave balances
Employers don’t have to state your sick or annual leave balances on your payslip, but they do have to provide the information for you if you ask them for it.
6. You’ve gotta check if you’re owed employee compensations as a contractor
Being a contractor doesn’t automatically mean that the company you contract for doesn’t owe you all the same tax, insurance and leave benefits their employees receive.
You might be working for an organisation under an Australian Business Number (ABN), but if you’re providing labour in the same way as an employee does the organisation still has to meet minimum pay requirements. They might even need to include your payments in their own payroll tax and PAYG obligations, as well as possibly needing to pay you superannuation and provide sick and annual leave benefits.
7. You’ve gotta be paid for productive work even in trials and internships
Unpaid work trials and internships ARE legal, but they should be short. They should only be about one hour to one shift – just long enough to demonstrate relevant skills to the job.
Outside of that, unpaid work placements and internships must be part of approved job training, work experience or vocational placement. If you’re doing anything that is ‘productive work’ – that is, any work that contributes to the company’s deliverables and outcomes – you need to be paid minimum wage.