You must be paid for the work you perform on behalf of your employer and you must be paid no less than the relevant minimum hourly or weekly rate of pay. There is nothing preventing your employer from electing or agreeing to pay you a higher rate of pay but it is unlawful to pay you less than the relevant minimum rate stipulated by law.
For many types of work there are also penalties, loadings and allowances which are applicable. For example, if you are employed as a casual, you are entitled to a casual loading typically between 20% and 28.5% in the industries covered by the SDA.
To determine your correct hourly or weekly rate of pay you must find out in the first instance if you are covered by an Award or an Enterprise Agreement.
National Minimum Wage
If you are not covered by an Award or Enterprise Agreement, the National Minimum Wage applies.
The full-time minimum wage is currently $16.37 per hour or $622.20 per week;
Casuals covered by the national minimum wage currently get an extra 24% ($20.30 per hour);
There are special national minimum wages for trainees, apprentices and juniors who don’t have an Award or Enterprise agreement; and
There are also 2 special national minimum wages for employees with disability.
Award covered employees
Most employees in the national workplace relations system are covered by an Award. If you are covered by an Award, your minimum hourly or weekly rate of pay is set out in that Award. Your relevant hourly rate of pay will depend on a number of factors including your age, contract of employment, the type of the work perform, your qualifications and whether or not you are indentured under a traineeship or apprenticeship.
Take a look at Awards for more information about the minimum rates which apply in your industry or to the work you perform.
Enterprise Agreement covered employees
Many SDA members are covered by Enterprise Agreements which have been negotiated between the Union and employers. These Enterprise Agreements contain terms and conditions of employment which result in employees being better off overall compared to the minimum safety net provided by the relevant Award in conjunction with National Employment Standards.
If you are covered by an Enterprise Agreement, your minimum hourly or weekly rate of pay is set out in that Enterprise Agreement. The base hourly rate of pay in the Enterprise Agreement cannot be less than the particular base rate in the Award or the National Minimum Wage, as relevant.
Your relevant hourly rate of pay will depend on a number of factors including your age, contract of employment, the type of the work perform, your qualifications and whether or not you are indentured under a traineeship or apprenticeship.
The Fair Work Commission reviews minimum wages in Modern Awards and the National Minimum Wage - for employees who don’t have an Award or an Enterprise Agreement - each year. Any changes commence from 1 July each year.
The timing and the amount of any wage increases payable under Enterprise Agreements are determined by the bargaining representatives, which are in most cases the Union and the employer(s). These terms are, of course, subject to the approval of employees, subject to approval by the Fair Work Commission and must, in all cases, contain base rates of pay which are no less than that [prescribed by the relevant Award.
If you have any questions about your wages please take a look at the Awards and Enterprise Agreements available at our Resources tab or SDA members are welcome to contact the Branch for further advice and information.