Busting myths about Australian workplaces

May 7, 2018 by Curtin CEL Team

Busting myths about Australian workplaces

There’s been a bit of talk recently about the exploitation of young and inexperienced employees, especially in regards to in unpaid internships. Unfortunately, it’s not just those in unpaid roles that are being taken advantage of. 

We all know getting a job can be exciting for a number of reasons – the money, the people, the opportunities – but being aware of your rights means you will get what you’re entitled to. While every workplace is different, remember, international students have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia.

The Fair Work Ombudsman helps us bust some of the more common workplace myths. 

  1. Myth: Paying low, flat rates of pay for all hours worked is OK if the worker agrees
    Fact: Minimum lawful pay rates are mandatory. In many jobs, penalty rates must be paid for evening, weekend, public holiday and overtime work. Calculate minimum rates using the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator.
  2. Myth: Employees don’t need to be paid for time spent
    opening and closing a business.
    Fact: Employees must be paid for all hours they work and this includes time spent opening or closing. For example, if an employee is required to be at work at 7:45 a.m. to prepare for an 8 a.m. opening, they need to be paid from 7:45 a.m.
  3. Myth: Paying employees with goods such as food, drink
    or clothing is OK.
    Fact: Payment-in-kind is against the law. Employees must be paid money for all work performed.
  4. Myth: Employers can make deductions from an employee’s wages to cover losses arising from cash register discrepancies, breakages and customers who don’t pay.
    Fact: Unauthorised deductions from an employee’s pay are unlawful. Deductions can be made only in very limited circumstances. Find out more at Deducting pay and overpayments.
  5. Myth: Pay slips aren’t mandatory – employers only need to give employees pay slips if they ask for them.
    Fact: Employers must give all employees a pay slip within one working day of pay-day. It doesn’t matter how many people the business employs, or how long an employee has been working there. Employers can give employees paper or electronic pay slips, such as a link sent via email.

The FWO provides information and support specifically for young workers and students.  They’ve also teamed up with the Foundation for Young Australians to create a series of videos that can help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work.

In support of this conversation, we are running a Workplace Rights & Responsibilities workshop on Monday 7 May 2018. If you missed it, our online module is always available.

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