Are You Getting Ripped Off at Work?

As an Australian employee, you have certain rights that ensure fair pay and treatment. Workers must be paid the right amount, when they are entitled to it. In addition, they must be given all applicable entitlements, and be treated in a fair manner while at work. It is unfortunate that employees are often taken advantage of, and not permitted what is rightfully theirs. To make matters worse, a lot of people do not know that they are being paid less than they deserve, or having entitlements withheld.

This is a guide to help employees identify whether or not they are being “ripped off”.

What Type of Employee Are You?

First, it is important to understand what kind of employee you are.

  • Full time workers are generally under contract to work around 38 hours each week. They might also receive benefits such as paid leave, a minimum number of work hours guaranteed each week, and minimum requires for being terminated.
  • Casual workers are not hired on a regular basis. They do not have a guaranteed amount of hours, or any fixed shifts. They can have their position terminated at the end of any shift. They also do not receive benefits such as paid leave, or any minimum requirements for being terminated, such as notice. To compensate for this, casual workers typically receive a higher award rate than their full time counterparts.

Where Is Your Contract?

If you are being legally employed, you have some type of work contract. This might not necessarily be in writing, however. A conversation that took place when you got the job counts as a verbal contract. It could also be made up of terms that are in writing, and which were agreed upon verbally.

Minimum Entitlements for Employees

The National Employment Standards covers many areas, and apply to all employees in Australia, no matter what their rate, position, or industry.

  • The maximum number of hours an employee can be expected to work is 38. A reasonable number of additional hours can be added.
  • Working arrangements must be flexible, as with parents or people with special circumstances.
  • Workers are entitled to parental leave, but this usually applies only to full time workers.
  • Annual leave of four weeks a year, paid time, is granted to full time workers and some shift workers.
  • Unpaid leave of as much as 10 days can be given to people who wish to undertake community service. Up to 10 days of jury duty leave can also be paid.
  • Compassionate and carer’s leave entitles workers up to 10 consecutive days of paid leave for personal reasons, or two days compassionate leave and carer’s leave, without pay.
  • Long service leave still applies for some workers, depending on the state they are in.
  • Employees are entitled to paid days away from work on public holidays. They can be asked to work, within reason. Casual employees are not paid if they do not work on public holidays.
  • As much as four weeks pay can be awarded to employees who are terminated. Up to 16 weeks of pay can be awarded to workers who are made redundant.

Employees are to be given a statement about fair work information