Payslip red flags

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By law, all employees must be given a payslip, no later than one day after they receive their pay. A payslip can be in hard copy, or electronic. There are legal requirements about what details must be recorded on each payslip.

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What does my payslip need to include?

Payslips should include: 

  • Your name
  • Employers name 
  • Pay period & date of pay 
  • Hours worked & hourly rate 
  • Gross (total) pay & net (after tax) pay 
  • Any loadings – like the 25% for casuals, or the penalty rate for working Sundays 
  • Any deductions – like for union fees 
  • Super fund name and amount paid to super fund if you’re entitled to super. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a sample payslip which explains everything that should appear on your payslip. Not all payslips will look the same – yours might look quite different, but still needs to include the same information. 

See the sample pay slip here 

What are some red flags to look out for?

As an employee, it is important to be aware of some common signs that you are not being paid correctly. Here are some RED FLAGS to look out for: 

  • Payslip doesn’t record everything it should: The Fair Work Act sets out everything that must be included on your payslip. These things are listed above under ‘What does my payslip need to include?’ If any of this information is missing from your payslip, you can’t be sure that you’re being paid correctly, AND your employer is breaking the law. 
  • Not getting a payslip: It’s against the law to not give employees payslips. If you aren’t getting payslips, you can’t be sure that you’re being paid correctly, AND your employer is breaking the law.  
  • Being paid in cash: Being paid in cash is allowed by law, but only if your boss still gives you a payslip which records everything on the list above – including things like how much tax has been taken out, how much has been paid into superannuation and how much you have been paid per hour. Often, people being paid cash in hand are being paid less than the legal minimum rates and are not having tax withheld as required by law.  If you are being paid in cash and not receiving payslips, we encourage you to contact us for free legal advice. 
  • Tax has not been withheld: Your payslip must include your gross pay (the amount before tax has been taken out), and your net pay (the amount after tax has been taken out). All employers must withhold tax from employees4 who earn over the ‘tax free threshold’, which is currently $18,200 a year. Even if you are earning under that, your payslip still needs to have a section which says how much tax has been withheld – which in this case, will just say “$0”. 
  • Deductions you haven’t agreed to: Employers generally cannot deduct money from your wages without your written agreement. Look out for any ‘deductions’ listed on your payslip or any accruals (e.g., annual leave balances) that suddenly go missing. See our page on ‘Pay – Deductions’ for more info.  
  • Super hasn’t been paid: All employees over 18 years old in Australia must receive superannuation, no matter how much they earn5. If you are under 18, you also need to receive super if you work 30 hours or more a week. Your payslip must indicate how much super has been paid if you are eligible. You can also check your super balance in myGov, through ATO Online. 

How often should I be paid?

You should be paid at least once a month, but you may be paid as often as weekly or fortnightly.  How often you are paid, and the method (such as by direct deposit into your account or by cash) will usually be set out in your modern award, enterprise agreement or employment contract. Your employer will decide the exact dates when you are paid, and this will usually be explained in your employment contract.     

There is no law requiring employers to pay you on any particular day. 

Further help

Get free and confidential legal advice  

If you have a question about your payslip, we strongly encourage you to contact us here for free and confidential legal advice about next steps that you can take.  

Fair Work Ombudsman  

You can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman about pay rates and entitlements. You can contact them online, or call them between 8am – 5:30pm Monday to Friday on 13 13 94.

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