Pay

An employee's minimum pay rate can come from an award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement Link opens external website in new tab or the national minimum wage.

Employees have to be paid the right pay rate for all hours they work, including time spent:

  • training
  • in team meetings
  • opening and closing the business
  • working unreasonable trial shifts.

Learn about pay obligations, including minimum wages, pay slip and record-keeping requirements and the rules regarding unpaid work.

You can test your knowledge about pay entitlements and obligations with the Fair Work Ombudsman's (FWO) Workplace Basics quiz Link opens external website in new tab.

Pay Calculator

The FWO's Pay Calculator Link opens external website in new tab calculates base pay rates, allowances and penalty rates (including overtime).

More about the pay calculator ↗

Minimum wages

You can calculate minimum pay rates, penalties and allowances under an award using the FWO's Pay Calculator Link opens external website in new tab. It can help you find your award if you're not sure.

You can also use the FWO's Pay guides Link opens external website in new tab to find this information for most classifications under a particular award in a single guide.

If you're covered by an enterprise agreement or other registered agreement Link opens external website in new tab, check the agreement for rates.

Certain employees may have different pay entitlements depending on whether they have a reduced work capacity because of disability, if they're under the age of 21 or if they are an apprentice or trainee. For more information about pay for these employees, visit:

There are also some pay arrangements that employers can put in place if their award allows for it and awards with special pay rates. You can find extra information on these types of pay on the pages below:

More about minimum wages ↗

Penalty rates & allowances

Use the FWO's Pay Calculator Link opens external website in new tab to calculate penalty rates and allowances in your industry.

You can also check the FWO's pay guides Link opens external website in new tab for pay rates, allowances and common penalties in your industry.

If you're covered by an enterprise agreement or other registered agreement Link opens external website in new tab, your penalty rates and allowances will be contained in your agreement. To find an agreement, go to the Fair Work Commission website.

More about penalty rates & allowances ↗

Deducting pay & overpayments

Check when money can be taken out of an employee's pay and how overpayments are recovered.

More about deducting pay & overpayments ↗ 

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 Link opens external website in new tab will set out when employees must be paid. If it doesn't, employees must be paid monthly. 

More about paying wages ↗ 

Pay slips & record-keeping

In any business, large or small, record-keeping is vital to success. Record-keeping and pay slip obligations ensure employees receive correct wages and entitlements.

Check out the FWO's pay slips page Link opens external website in new tab to learn what has to be included on pay slips and find the pay slip template.

Visit the FWO's record-keeping page Link opens external website in new tab to learn about record-keeping requirements and to download the record-keeping templates.

More about pay slips & record-keeping  ↗ 

Tax & superannuation

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) gives advice and information about tax requirements and super guarantee contributions.

For questions about your tax contact the ATO on 13 28 61 or visit their website external-icon.png.

For information about recording tax or superannuation on employee records or pay slips, go to the FWO's Pay slips and record-keeping page. 

More about tax & superannuation ↗ 

Pay during stand down & severe weather

An employer can send employees home if there is no useful work for them to do because of:

  • equipment break down
  • natural disaster (including floods, bushfires, tropical cyclones)
  • industrial action Link opens external website in new tab.

This is known as a stand down. This can only happen if the reason for the stand down was out of the employer's control.

Employees can't be stood down just because there is not enough work.

More about pay during stand down & severe weather  ↗  

Unpaid work

Unpaid work can take on different forms - from vocational placements, unpaid internships, unpaid work experience and unpaid trials. They are entered into for a number of reasons. These include:

  • to give a person experience in a job or industry
  • to test a person’s job skills
  • to volunteer time and effort to a not-for-profit organisation.

With some of these arrangements it’s okay not to pay the person doing the work. With other arrangements the person is actually an employee and should be paid.

Find out about types of unpaid work arrangements and some of the problems that can occur with:

More about unpaid work ↗

Get help with pay

Get help finding the answers to your questions about pay and entitlements.

More about getting help with pay ↗ 

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or enquiry [at] abcc.gov.au.