First job

When you start a new job it's important to find out if you're getting the right pay and what to do if you have problems at work.

Here we explain the ins and outs of starting a new job.

Types of employment

When you get a job, make sure you understand whether you're being hired as a full-time employee, a part-time employee, a casual employee or an independent contractor, as this can affect your pay and entitlements. If you're not sure, ask your boss.

The table below sets out some of the differences between these employment types.

Type of employee

Employment conditions

  • Set hours (e.g. average 38 hours per week)
  • Paid regularly (e.g. each fortnight)
  • Minimum working conditions are set out in the Fair Work Ombudsman's National Employment Standards.
  • Must pay income tax.
  • Set hours (less than the average 38 hours per week)
  • Same entitlements as full-time employees but on a 'pro-rata' basis.
  • Hours may differ from week to week
  • Paid by the hour (at a higher rate than part-time or full-time employees, due to no sick or annual leave).
Independent contractor
  • Can negotiate your own fees and working arrangements
  • Can work for more than one client at a time
  • No compulsory superannuation or payments for holidays or sick days.

First Business app First Business Image

Thinking about going into business for yourself? ASIC's First Business app can help you as you move towards starting your own business. The app provides tips and things to think about, checklists, case studies and links to additional small business information.

Getting paid

It's important to make sure you're getting paid the right amount and you're paying the right amount of tax.

Your pay slip

Every time you get paid, your employer must give you a pay slip. You could receive it on a piece of paper, or electronically via email or online.

Your pay slip shows:

  • the number of hours you worked
  • how much you were paid for each hour of work
  • the amount of superannuation your employer has paid into your super fund
  • any money taken out for tax.

Your pay slip sets out your gross pay and net pay amounts. Gross pay is the amount you are paid before any deductions. So, if your wage is $30,000 per year, that is your gross pay. Your net pay is the amount you receive after tax.  It is how much you will get in your bank account.

Smart tip

Check your pay slip to make sure you're being paid the correct amount. If you don't understand the information on your pay slip, ask your employer.

To find out how much you should be paid (including allowances and entitlements), visit Fair Work Ombudsman: Minimum wages.

If you don't think you are getting the right pay or conditions, see our steps to solve pay issues.


If you are earning income you will probably pay tax. To understand how income tax works and how to do your tax return, see Your first tax return.

Work out how much tax you should be paying.

Income tax calculator


Superannuation (super) is money that is saved for when you retire. Your employer usually has to pay a minimum amount into a super fund for you. This is in addition to your pay.

Super is paid whether you are full-time, part-time or casual. You should be paid super if you are:

  • aged 18 or over and earn at least $450 a month (before tax), or
  • aged under 18, work at least 30 hours a week and earn at least $450 a month (before tax).

See how super works for more details.

Work out how much super you should be paid.

Employer contributions calculator

You can make extra super payments yourself if you want to save more money for your retirement.

Budgeting your money

When you start working, you may have a number of new expenses, like buying new clothes, paying for transport or getting new tools or equipment. These costs can quickly add up, so be prepared and make a budget to help you manage your money.

Adjust your budget to factor work costs into your spending.

Budget planner

Solving pay issues

If you're having any pay issues with your employer, there are things you can do.

  1. Check your facts - Check you're being paid the right amount by visiting Fair Work Ombudsman: Minimum wages.
  2. Talk to your boss - Once you have worked out how much you should be paid, talk to your boss. Employers sometimes make mistakes and they can be happy to correct things.
  3. Complain to the Fair Work Ombudsman - If you don't feel confident talking with your boss about your pay, or if you've tried talking but it hasn't worked, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. They will help you to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

Related links

Last updated: 28 Nov 2018