Working fair (Part 2)

You cannot be dismissed because of things like your race, sex, age, physical or mental disability, sexual preference

Last week we looked at some of your rights and obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 as an employee in Australia. This week we'll look at getting paid, your superannuation and dismissal.

So let's start with everyone's favourite aspect of work - pay day. Here are a few considerations to be aware of when, finally, your first pay day rolls around:

  • Make sure you either get a paper or electronic pay slip with all necessary details included. Ensure it is dated and the pay period specified.
  • Depending on your age, you may be paid a junior rate. Different rates apply for apprentices and trainees. These should be clearly set out before starting.
  • You may also be paid allowances for doing certain tasks or loadings for working at certain times, such as weekends, late nights or public holidays. Clarify this.
  • Make sure you also get paid for training and other things inside and outside the workplace like:

  • team and individual meetings, organised at the employer's request
  • trial periods of work – it is illegal to ask people to work for free unless they are volunteers
  • opening and closing the business or setting up
  • training sessions, courses or seminar days
  • travelling during work hours for your employment
  • compulsory attendance at a function.
  • Superannuation will be a whole new ballgame if you've never worked but are over 18 years of age. It comes into play when you earn $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month and is paid by your employer to a superannuation fund of your choice, on top of your wage. If you're under 18, but work more than 30 hours a week, you are also entitled to superannuation so keep track of your hours.

    Concerning dismissal. Remember to take all warnings from your employer seriously. If you don't do your job properly, you can be dismissed, however you should be given a warning first (except in the case of serious misconduct). If you are given a warning, remember to ask your employer what you need to do to improve your performance. If your lack of performance is due to bullying or harassment, tell your supervisor so the bully or harasser is dealt with.

    You may be dismissed without notice if you have:

  • acted dishonestly (for instance, lying to your employer)
  • refused to follow reasonable instructions from your employer or person in charge, or
  • behaved so badly that instant dismissal is justified (for instance, stealing or fighting).
  • You cannot be dismissed because of things like your race, sex, age, physical or mental disability, sexual preference, or for filing a complaint against your employer for breaching a law.

    For more information about employment matters contact:

    Fair Work Ombudsman

    13 13 94

    For termination of employment info

    Fair Work Commission

    1300 799 675

    For tax or superannuation info

    Australian Tax Office

    13 10 20

    This is part 2 of a post that was originally published on TAFEnow on 26 July 2013. TAFEnow is an Australia-wide online provider, operating out of North Coast TAFE, one of the 10 TAFE NSW Institutes. Enquiries can be directed to