How much I should be paid?

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Wages or pay are set under law in different ways. 

Even if your employer has not let you know how your pay is set or decided, they do still need to pay you in a way that protects you under law. 

How much you should be paid by law can depend on your:

  • job being covered under Australian national employment laws or Western Australian (WA) state laws for pay
  • age (there are lower pay or wages for young people compared with adults aged 21 years or older)
  • Paid under a minimum wage (no adult can be paid less than the minimum)
  • Paid under an Award (a legal document that sets pay as well as working hours, leave and other conditions for industries or jobs);
  • Paid under an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) (so-named under National law) or an Industrial Agreement (as named under WA law), both of which set out working conditions in a single business, or a group of businesses under one company.
  • Any deductions your employer is authorised to make (these must be authorised - find out more information here).

Some employment laws apply no matter whether you are under the National or WA systems. For example, the Children and Community Services Act 2004 regulates the employment of children under the age of 15 years in WA; the Long Service Leave Act 1958 also gives paid leave entitlement for long term work, usually with the same employer, and covers all who are under WA employment law as well as some who are under National laws. Most working people in Western Australia are paid under National employment law.

If you have a letter or written contract confirming your employment it may include details about your pay or how your pay it is decided, for example as a:

  • National or WA Minimum Wage (see above);
  • A National or WA Award (which covers a range of jobs across various industries or occupations), or;
  • An Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) (National law) or Industrial Agreement (WA Law), this is an agreement that is approved by either the Australian Fair Work Commission or the WA Industrial Relations Commission to cover the pay and conditions of people working for a specific business, company or organisation.

If you are employed under National employment law, then an employer must provide you with a Fair Work Information Statement (see this link online).

This page will give you some links to work out how much you should be paid. If you think you have been underpaid, you can share your story in-confidence with us and we will get back to you to help

National or WA State System?

 The Australian, national or federal system of workplace laws covers businesses and organisations (and their employees) that operate as:

  • Pty Ltd businesses that are trading or financial corporations (e.g. Smith Pty Ltd trading as Jane’s Café)
  • incorporated partnerships (e.g. Smith Pty Ltd and Bob Smith trading as Jane's Café)
  • incorporated trust arrangements (e.g. Smith Pty Ltd as trustee for the Smith Family Trust trading as Jane's Café)
  • incorporated associations and other not-for-profit organisations that are trading or financial corporations.

The WA state system of workplace law covers businesses and organisations (and their employees) that operate as:

  • sole traders (e.g. Jane Smith trading as Jane’s Café)
  • unincorporated partnerships (e.g. Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane’s Café)
  • unincorporated trust arrangements (Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for the Smith Family Trust trading as Jane’s Café)
  • incorporated associations and other not-for-profit organisations that are not trading or financial corporations.

If you are not sure whether your pay is under the National or WA employment law systems you can:

Age and Minimum Wages

Minimum wages are set by both National and Western Australian employment law. The minimum pay figures in the table below are the amounts before any taxation is taken out of wages, so the amount in the hand of a working person is usually less. No one should be paid below the relevant minimum wage.  Awards, Enterprise Bargaining Agreements or Industrial Agreements, usually provide higher than minimum wages.  Minimum wages apply for those working people who are not under an Award, Enterprise Bargaining Agreement or Industrial Agreement.

Under National minimum wage rates for adults and young people from 1 July 2021 are:

Age

Hourly Minimum

Casual Rate (includes an extra 25%)

Under 16

$7.48

$9.35

16

$9.62

$12.02

17

$11.75

$14.69

18

$13.89

$17.36

19

$16.77

$20.97

20

$19.86

$24.83

21 and over

$20.33

$25.41

The Fair Work Australia (FWO) is an Australian Government body with a number of responsibilities for National Employment laws. If you know that you are paid under a National Minimum Wage then there is some further information available on the Fair Work Ombudsman's website here.  It is relevant to note that because many apprentices and trainees are also young people, there can be different rates of pay for apprentices and trainees (see details online here for those covered under National employment laws). These are listed in Awards (see below) or Industrial Agreement (also below).  Some working people with disability can be paid lower wages that others based on work performance, called the Supported Wage System (link here).

Under West Australian workplace laws the current minimum wage rates for adults and young people from 1 July 2021 are:

Age

Hourly Minimum

Casual Rate  (includes an extra 20%)

Under 16

$8.20

$9.84

16

$10.25

$12.30

17

$12.30

$14.76

18

$14.35

$17.22

19

$16.40

$19.68

20

$18.45

$22.14

21 and over

$20.50

$24.60

It is relevant to note that because many apprentices and trainees are also young people, there can be different rates of pay for apprentices and trainees. However, these rates should not be lower than these minimum rates.  For apprentices and trainees covered under WA laws all rates of pay can be viewed online here (see the document "Award-free employees"). These are listed in Awards (see below) or an Industrial Agreement (also below). Those covered under Western Australian law who work in a domestic home or agriculture, might be paid lower than minimum hourly rates - if you think this applies to you please share your details (link here) so we can give you good information and advice.

Award or Enterprise Bargaining/Industrial Agreement?

Some details about National Awards are available online here and here for a list of all National Awards (link here). The Fair Work Ombudsman has a web site function to calculate what someone should be paid and that can be used online here.  You can call the Fair Work Ombudsman's Office (FWO) on 13 13 94.  You can view or download the FWO Fair Work Information Statement about pay and other work rights here.

Information about National Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA's) can be had by doing a search of all National EBA's online here to find the one that covers you.

There is some useful information about many WA awards summarised online here. You can find WA Industrial Agreements listed online here. You can also call "Wageline" at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is a free telephone information service on 1300 655 266 (8.30am to 4.30pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday or 9am to 4.30pm Tuesday). There is some extra information on WA employment laws and your rights available online here.

What next?

If you are not sure about what you should be paid, please share some details with us in-confidence online here and we will get back to help. 

Do you want to know how you can get paid for what you are owed?

If you think you have not been paid properly under National employment law and want to report your employer or try to get back pay you may be owed, please follow this link online here.

If you think you have not been paid properly under WA employment law and want to report your employer or to try and get back pay you may be owed, please follow this link online here.

 

DMIRS have a link to legal versus illegal deductions from pay for state system employees: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/labour-relations/deductions-pay