Know Your Rights - Payment of Wages and Payslips

Published on: Feb 13 2017

You have a right to be paid the correct grade:

Employees should be paid in accordance with their correct classification or “grade”.

Enterprise agreements and Modern Awards have a classification section which sets out job roles and the associated duties. Each classification usually has a different pay rate.

Often in Enterprise Agreements there are ‘store team member’ type roles which most employees fall under, but often there are higher level supervisory or specialised roles which carry with them a higher level of pay.

Problems arise where employees are paid at a lower grade to the duties they are performing. For example, a worker may be earning an ordinary ‘team member’ wage but expected to fulfil the activities of a higher grade employee, for example a ‘Supervisor’ or ‘Relief Manager’.

In these instances it is advisable that you check your Enterprise Agreement or relevant Modern Award and the associated classifications. Classifications set out the activities and responsibilities of each grade.

If you are fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a higher grade then you should be paid as such.


You have a right to be paid for the hours you work:

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

It is common for employees in retail and fast food to be expected to be on the register “ready to go” at their starting time on the roster. In reality you may have to start up to 10 or 15 minutes earlier, for example, to clock-on, turn on registers, collect cash, count it in and put it in the register. Similarly it is common for people to be rostered to finish at the closing time of the store, and the register must remain open until close. Only at that time are the registers able to be cashed up, cash locked away, alarms set and store locked. This means you could finish up to 15 minutes later than your roster says you do.


These are examples of unpaid work and under no circumstances should you work without pay.


Similarly the SDA has received calls regarding training or team member meetings. On numerous occasions employers have asked their workers to attend work on their rostered day off, or stay back for meetings and in some instances those workers were not paid. If you are required to attend a work meeting then you have a right to be paid for your time. You should check your relevant Agreement or Award to see what the minimum engagements are for training and staff meetings.

As an employee you should be paid the correct rate for ALL the work you do and you should not have to start early or stay back unpaid.



Do you know if you're getting paid correctly? When was the last time you checked your payslip? Payslips are vital to ensure that you, the employee, receive the correct pay and entitlements and  that your employer keeps accurate and complete records.


According to the regulations of the Fair Work Act, your employer, by law, must give you a payslip within one working day of pay day, even if you're on leave.


Your employer must issue your payslip in electronic format or hard copy. Electronic payslips must contain the exact same information as paper payslips and be in an easily printable format.


What has to be on your payslip?


Payslips have to cover details of an employee's pay for each pay period. Below is a list of what must be included:


  • employer's name
  • employer's Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • employees name
  • pay period e.g. From 04/01/2016 - To 10/01/2016
  • date of payment
  • gross and nettpay
  • if the employee is paid an hourly rate;
    • the ordinary hourly rate
    • the number of hours worked at that rate
    • the total dollar amount of pay at that rate
  • any loadings, allowances, penalty rates, bonuses, incentive-based payments or other paid entitlements that can be separated out from an employee's ordinary hourly rate
  • any deductions from the employee's pay, including;
    • the amount and details of each deduction
    • the name, or name and number of the account the deduction was paid into
  • any superannuation contributions paid, including;
    • the amount of contributions made during the pay period
    • the name, or name and number of the superannuation fund the contributions were made to


Any deductions from an employee's pay must be authorised in writing by the employee. An employer is allowed to make a deduction from an employee's pay only if:


  • The employee agrees in writing and the deduction is for the employee's benefit;
  • The employee authorises the deduction in accordance with the relevant EBA; or
  • The deduction has been authorised by an Award or order of Fair Work


Should leave balances be included on a payslip?


Whilst it is best practice to show an employee's leave balance on their payslip; it is not a legal requirement.

Employers do need to tell employees their leave balance if asked.


If your employment is terminated, for whatever reason, or your resign from your position, your last payslip should include the pay rate that applied on the last day of your employment.


What happens if I'm not given a payslip?


Your employer is required by law to issue you a payslip.

These payslip requirements apply to all businesses, large or small. Therefore whether your employer employs ten or ten thousand employees, your rights concerning payslips are the same.


Failure to comply with payslip requirements may result in the Fair Work Commission issuing your employer with an infringement notice.


However, if an employer’s failure to meet these requirements is of a serious nature; Fair Work have the ability to take your employer to court.


It is also worth noting that employers have to keep time and wages records for seven years. These have to be legible, recorded in English and readily accessible to a Fair Work Inspector, if need be.


Time and wages records cannot be:

  • changed unless the change is to correct an error
  • false or misleading


We understand that mistakes can and do happen. The best way to fix up issues usually starts with talking. If you have any concerns or queries about your payslips, leave balances, you're not being paid correctly, or you're having difficulty accessing your time and wage records, please call our office on 4961 4694 and speak to our Information Officer.







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