Got paid? Make sure you’re getting what’s owed to you: learn how to read your payslip!
This is not a drill
We’re not joking about this “read a payslip” thing. Yes, checking your bank balance is a surefire way of knowing whether you actually got paid or not. And we all live in hope that our employers will always do right by us, even if we don’t check up on them. But this is real life. Mistakes happen, and sometimes bad bosses happen too. Knowing what to check on your payslip can help you avoid problems like getting paid less than you’re owed or even paying too much tax.
First things first
Make sure that you actually GET a payslip! Depending on the business, these could be actual paper documents, or electronic versions you access online. Double check with your boss how the payment cycle works (every fortnight, once a month…), and how and where you can access your payslip.
Legally, a payslip must include the following:
- Name of employer
- Name of employee
- Pay period
- Date of payment
- Gross pay (your pay before tax, super and any other deductions go off)
- Net pay (your take-home pay after deductions)
- Pay rate and number of hours worked at that rate
- Loadings, allowances, penalty rates and any other entitlements
- Details of any deductions
- How much super was paid
Know your worth
From 1 July 2019, if you’re 21 years of age or older, you should be getting at least $19.49 per hour, or $740.80 per 38 hour week. This is the new national minimum wage.
Casual employees are entitled to 25% casual loading, which is basically the extra money you’re paid because you don’t get sick or annual leave.
If you’re under 21, Fair Work Australia has a handy pay calculator that will help you find out what your minimum wage should legally be. Find it here: www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/minimum-wages/junior-pay-rates
How much should you be taxed?
As the gloomy joke goes: the only sure things in life are death and taxes. Once you start earning money, you might have to pay tax, too. But: income tax is usually only deducted once you start earning over $18,200 a year. You might also be required to pay a 2% Medicare levy on top of your tax.
If you’ve been taxed extra, or can claim for any work-related items, you might get money back when doing your tax return.
The Australian Tax Office’s website is your new BFF for all things tax related: they have loads of resources and can answer questions, too. Visit bae now: www.ato.gov.au/
Boosting your super
Superannuation seems boring and very “out of sight, out of mind” – but you’ll be happy you’ve checked up on it once you reach your parents’ age!
If you’re 18 years or older, and earn $450 or more in a month, you are eligible to receive super from your employer. If you’re under 18, or a private or domestic worker (such as a nanny or carer), you must also work more than 30 hours a week to be eligible for super.
The minimum super guarantee is 9.5% of your “ordinary time earnings”. The super amount owed to you for a particular pay period should appear on your payslip. It can be tricky to keep track of because super only has to be paid into your super account quarterly.
Check your payslip to make sure you’re getting the right amount of super, then check your actual super account to make sure it’s being paid in. Most super accounts are electronic, and some will let you set up an alert for payments made. Or you could just log in regularly to check that the payments are coming in!
Records your employer MUST keep
Your employer is legally obligated to keep a record of your:
- General info
- Pay rates and actual pay they’ve given you
- The hours you’ve worked
- Any leave you’ve taken
- Any super contribution they’ve made for you
Even though your employer is supposed to do all this, it’s a very good idea that you also keep track of your own records. You need to watch your own back, after all.
My payslip is wrong – what now?
If you notice any mistakes, missing info or realise that you’ve never actually received a payslip, follow these steps:
- Talk to your employer. Mistakes happen, and they should fix it for you right away with no hassles.
- If your employer hasn’t responded to the issues you raised and you need a bit of extra clout, contact Fair Work Australia. They’ll act as a mediator between you and your employer to help fix things.
- If your employer STILL doesn’t fix the problem, and Fair Work has made it clear that you’re legally entitled to what you’re asking for, you might have to take legal action. (Also, find a better job that will treat you right.)
Find more information (and help!) here: www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/how-we-help-you
Get some more nifty money and tax tips here: