How to use this document

This information is written in a way that is easy to read.
We use pictures to explain some ideas.

    This Easy Read document is a summary of other documents.
    You can find longer documents on our website:
    This document has been written by the Australian Building and Construction Commission or ABCC. When you see the word ‘we’ it means the ABCC.

    What we do

    Australia has laws to make sure workers are treated fairly. The ABCC is part of the Australian Government. Our job is to make sure everyone obeys these laws in the construction industry.

    We can help you if you work in the construction industry. 
    You can talk to us if you feel you are:

    Not being treated the same as other workers.
    Being forced to do something you don’t want to do.
    Not getting the right pay.


    Your pay

    Workers in Australia have the right to be paid for the work they do. 

    How much you must be paid depends on who you work for and what type of work you do. 

    How much you must be paid will also depend on whether you are a ‘permanent’ or a ‘casual’ worker. 

    If you are a permanent employee you may be called a full time, part time, weekly hire or daily hire worker.

    If you are a permanent employee you may be entitled to things like:

    Personal leave – being paid when you cannot work because you are sick or caring for someone in your family who is sick.
    Annual leave – sometimes called holiday pay, being paid while you have time off work.
    Allowances – extra money to cover certain things like your tools or travel. 
    We can help you work out how much you should be paid for each hour you work.


    Pay slip and deductions

    When you get paid, you must be given a pay slip. A pay slip tells you how much you have been paid. Your pay slip will also show how much tax and superannuation has been paid on your behalf.
    There are also laws about when your boss can deduct money from your pay before it is paid to you.
    An example of when your boss can deduct money would be if a court has ordered that you must pay child support out of your pay.
    An example of when your boss cannot deduct money would be if you crash a work car and your boss wants you to pay the insurance cost.
    We can help with any pay issues you have and answer questions about when your boss can take money out of your pay.


    Understanding your hours of work

    In the building and construction industry, the hours and days you will work may change depending on your employer and the project you work on.

    Your ordinary hours are usually not more than 38 hours a week. 

    Some construction workers work from Monday to Friday from 7am to 3pm, but for others this might be different

    Many construction workers who work longer than 38 hours a week get an RDO. This stands for Rostered Day Off.
    Other workers who work longer than 38 hours a week might get paid more money for the extra hours they work. This is called overtime. The amount of money you get as overtime depends on the days and times you work. 
    You can talk to your boss about what your ordinary hours of work are. We can help you understand your hours of work, overtime and RDOs.



    Union membership is your choice

    In Australia, you have the right to choose whether to join a union. At all times and on all building sites, you can choose to join a union, not join a union or leave a union. The choice is up to you. 

    A union or an employer may be breaking the law if they put pressure on you to join, not join or leave a union.
    There is no such thing as a “union construction site” or “no ticket no start”. We can help you if you are being pressured by anyone at work to join a union or pay union fees.


    You are protected from discrimination

    Discrimination is being treated differently than other people because of something you can’t change. It might be something like your race, age, disability or who you love.
    We may be able to help you if you think you are being treated differently because of your race or for some other reason.



    How we can help

    In English you can phone the ABCC on 1800 003 338.

    If you speak a language other than English, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 and ask them to phone the ABCC on 1800 003 338. TIS will help you to talk to someone who can help you at the ABCC.

    You can talk to us without telling us your name. We can give you advice even if you do not want us to get involved.

    If you want to report something to the ABCC but don’t want to get involved, you can report it anonymously on our website. Visit our website at

    We have an app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. 

    Search ABCC On Site in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

    What can we help you with

    How to check if you are getting paid the right wages and entitlements and how to get help if you are not.
    What to do if someone is forcing you to do something you don’t want to do. 

    What to do if someone is trying to force you to join, not join, or leave a union.

    Whether you can stop work.
    ABCC On Site also has all our contact details so you can get help direct from us.


    We've also provided a PDF of this document so you can read this information offline – Know Your Rights (PDF)