Pay, allowances and entitlements

The pay, allowances and entitlements you get when you work will depend on what your job is and how you're employed.

Video: What I don't know does hurt me

What I don't know does hurt me video

Starting a job is exciting, but you need to know your rights and responsibilities. Watch this video to find out what you should know before you start working.

Transcript: What I don't know does hurt me

Know your rights and responsibilities

It's really important to understand your workplace rights and conditions when you start a job. Sometimes employers make mistakes and don't give you the correct pay and allowances for the job you are doing.

Allowances are extra payments you're entitled to for things such as having a certain skill or working in hazardous conditions. You may also be entitled to things like holiday pay and paid sick leave.

Your employer must provide a safe working environment, including correct protective equipment and clothing if it is required. You should also be given training on health and safety issues in the workplace.

You need to know whether you're being hired as a full-time employee, a part-time employee, a casual employee or an independent contractor. If you're not sure, ask your boss.

The Australian Government sets out what the minimum pay and minimum working conditions should be.

As well as doing your job, you also have other responsibilities as an employee in the workplace.

You must:

  • Act responsibly and take care of yourself and others with regards to health and safety in the workplace.
  • Act respectfully to others with different cultures and social differences and treat everyone fairly.
  • Act to prevent harassment, discrimination and bullying against others in the workplace

If you are having problems with your pay or conditions here are some useful website and resources:

Full-time employees

When you work full-time, you have set hours you have to work (an average of 38 hours per week), you are paid regularly (e.g. each fortnight) and you also pay income tax.

Full-time employees have a range of entitlements and legal protections that are explained in the Fair Work Ombudman's National Employment Standards (NES). There are ten minimum conditions for employees, which include your entitlements for leave, public holidays and sick leave.

Video: First job rights

First job rights video

Hamish gets a cleaning job but does not get paid for it!  Watch the video to find out how the learnt about his rights and ended up getting paid for the work.

Transcript: First job rights


If you work part-time you work a set number of hours each week, but less than the average 38 hours for full-time workers.

Part-time workers are paid the same amount each week and have the same entitlements as full-time employees, but on what is called a 'pro rata' basis.

For example, if you work half the full-time hours each week, you should get half of what a person would get if they worked full-time.


Smart tip

If your boss says you're employed as a casual, make sure you are getting paid at higher casual rates.

If you are a casual employee, you might work a different number of hours from week to week. One week you might work 10 hours and the next week you might work 20. Your pay will depend on the number of hours you work in that week.

It's important that you know whether you're a casual or a part-timer because the hourly rate is different. Casuals get a higher hourly rate because they don't get some of the entitlements that full-time or part-time employees get (such as sick leave and annual leave).

Independent contractors

It is important to know that employees and contractors have different rights, pay conditions, allowances and entitlements.

Independent contractors hire out their services to other people, for example a plumber might do the plumbing for the building of a new house.

Unlike most employees, independent contractors negotiate their fees and working arrangements, and can work for a number of clients at one time. For example, a contractor usually won't get superannuation or payments for holidays or sick days.

Video: Aleisha manages her money on a teaching contract

Video about contract work

Aleisha, a contract teacher, manages her income so that she can cope financially in between contracts.

Transcript: Aleisha manages her money on a teaching contract

Make sure you know whether you're an employee or contractor. If you're not sure, ask your boss.

Here are some resources for contractors:

Video: Scott Pape's contract work money challenge

Video about contracting.

Take Scott Pape's money challenge to help you manage your finances so that you can live with confidence as a contractor.

Transcript: Scott Pape's contract work money challenge

Related links

Last updated: 01 Aug 2016