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Your employer must pay you at least the minimum rate shown in your award or enterprise agreement. This rate will depend on the type of work, and the actual times you work. Of course, you may be paid more.

Depending on your age, you may be paid a junior rate, which is less than the adult rate. See also: Junior rates of pay

You may also be paid allowances for doing certain tasks, overtime pay for working outside your regular hours or penalty rates for working nights, weekends or public holidays.

Your employer must pay you regularly, and, if you demand, must pay you at least once a fortnight. You must be paid in cash, by cheque or deposit into your bank account.

Your employer cannot take money out of your pay without your written permission, or unless it is required by law, such as tax.

You must get a pay slip every time you are paid, which shows your pay and any deductions, such as tax.

Pay slips

Pay slips are a record of the pay an employer gives a worker. A pay slip must be provided to each employee when they are paid. The pay slip must contain details such as the name of the employer, the name of the employee, date when the payment was made, the amount of money paid before tax, the amount deducted for tax, the amount paid after tax and superannuation contributions.

To view a sample pay slip visit:
( [Fair Work Homepage]

Gross pay

The amount you have earned before income tax and other deductions are subtracted from your pay.

Net pay

The amount of money you receive after income tax and other deductions have been taken out from your weekly earnings. Also called ‘take home pay’.

Deductions from your pay

Any amounts of money deducted from your pay. Except by court order or a request from Centrelink, your employer may only make a deduction from your pay if you authorised it in writing or the deduction is principally for your benefit.


The money put aside during your working life for use when you retire. An employer must contribute 9% of your wages into a superannuation fund. The superannuation payment is an additional benefit on top of your wage or salary.

You may not receive superannuation if you are a causal employer. To receive superannuation as a casual employee you must earn $450 or more a month or, if you are under 18 years of age, work 30 hours or more each week.


A compulsory financial charge imposed by governments on such things as income, goods and property for use in public spending and administration, also known as taxation.

Income tax

A government tax charged on what a person earns from work each year. The amount of income tax paid is dependent on how much is earned and certain other entitlements and exemptions.

Group Certificate

A form which shows an employee's gross pay, net earnings, tax and other deductions which is given to employees by employers at the end of the financial year for taxation purposes.

Cash payments

What can I do if my employer only wants to pay me in cash?

It is legal to be paid in cash as long as tax has been deducted from your earnings.  Your employer must send the tax payment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and include gross earnings and tax deducted in your group certificate (payment summary).

There is a tax-free threshold, below which tax is not deducted. If your employer wants to pay you ‘cash in hand’ without paying tax, then this is illegal. A complaint of ‘tax evasion’ can be lodged with the Australian Tax Office.

( [ATO Homepage]
» Corporate » How to report tax evasion

Keeping a work diary

It is a good idea to keep a work diary (a separate diary to your personal diary) as a record of events that you may need to refer to in the future if you feel you are being underpaid or are having problems at work.

You should record:

  • start and finish times
  • any leave taken
  • who you worked with (supervisor, other workers)
  • any critical or unwanted incidents (harassment, equipment breakdown, unsafe work situations)
  • important conversations
  • work-related expenses
  • significant workplace achievements and events.

You must record this on the same day events happen and must not change information in case it needs to be used as evidence at a later date. It is also important to keep pay slips and all work-related correspondence between you and your employer.


You should be paid for all overtime worked if you earn an hourly wage, but workers on salaries, or those paid per item (piecework) often have different arrangements with their employers. The salary you receive annually is usually not linked to minimum or maximum hours of work. However, if your work is covered by an award or enterprise agreement then your salary must be equal to or greater than the award/agreement rate including any applicable overtime or penalty payments, or your contract can be ‘deemed unfair’ and your underpayments can be recovered.


Copyright © 2011 Money Stuff

An initiative from NSW Fair Trading


Last Updated: 26 November 2012

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This information must not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information about this topic, refer to the appropriate legislation.

© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading
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