If you're not sure about whether you're being paid right, it doesn't hurt to get some advice. Every worker is entitled to at least the minimum wage for their age, industry and level of work. Not getting paid the minimum wage that applies to your work is wage theft by your boss and it's illegal.

For many young workers, your rates of pay will be contained in the Modern Award that applies to your industry. For example, if you work in a fast food restaurant, it's the Fast Food Industry Award; if you work in a restaurant, it's the Restaurant Industry Award. You can find Awards and Pay Guides (that show what your hourly rate should be) on the Fair Work website or by searching for your Award Pay Guide online.

Some important points:

  • Casual workers get paid 25% more than the hourly full-time/part-time rate but do not have job security or leave entitlements.

  • Most workers are entitled to penalty rates for weekends, public holidays and late night work.

  • If you're under 20 or 21 (depending on the industry you work in), your hourly rate may depend upon your age and will increase with each birthday.

  • You should get a detailed pay slip each time you get paid (within one working day) which shows how many hours you worked, your hourly rate/s, your total pay, superannuation contributions made by your employer, any loadings or allowances, yours and your employer's names and details.

Working out whether you are being paid right can be tricky. The best thing to do is ask us for advice. Email youngworkerscbr@unionsact.org.au. It's completely free and confidential.

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