How Do You Know How Much You Should Be Paid?

So you’ve got your first job – exciting! One of the best parts of work is having your own money to do with as you please. Of course, we want to believe that employers will do the right thing and follow the rules, and trust that they will pay you the right amount. But if you have some concerns, or are just curious to know, how can you find out how much you should be paid?


How much should you be paid?


The easiest way to find out how much you should be paid is to take a look at the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator. They calculate your pay by using the award for your industry.

Awards are defined by Fair Work as “legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment. [They] apply to employers and employees depending on the industry they work in and the type of job worked.”

There are over 100 awards in Australia, and they cover pretty much every industry and occupation imaginable. So chances are there is an award that covers you. Using their Pay Calculator, Fair Work can find out which award you’re covered by, then asks a few more questions (whether you work full-time, part-time, or casual, your age, etc.) and uses all this information to give you a minimum pay rate.

For example, say you’re 15 years old and just got your first casual job behind the counter at McDonald’s. If we put this information into the Pay Calculator, we can see that the minimum amount you should be earning hourly is $11.69. You can also view common penalty rates that apply to your award (e.g. rates for public holidays).


Find out more


The Fair Work Ombudsman website is full of heaps of useful information about employment conditions, including leave, entitlements, and info about what to do if something goes wrong.

You can also take a look at more work resources on Study Work Grow.


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