I Think I’m Being Underpaid
Oct 14, 2022
Next Steps for Employees
If you’re an Australian employee who thinks you are being underpaid, you’re not alone. Thousands of people each year feel like they are not getting the correct pay for the work they do. This article will outline what to do if you think you’re underpaid. We’ll also provide some advice on how to approach your employer about the situation, and what your rights are in terms of employment dispute resolution.
I think I’m being underpaid. What should I do?
If you think you’re being underpaid, the best thing to do is to speak to your employer about it. It’s important to remember that you have a right to question your salary, and you can’t be fired for doing so. If you’re not comfortable speaking to your employer directly, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for advice. Read on for more information about how to approach your employer and what to do if you’re still not being paid correctly.
The data-gathering stage
Before you approach your employer, it’s a good idea to gather as much information as possible. This will help you build a strong case. Here are some things you should do:
- Check your employment contract, and make sure you’re aware of what you should be being paid. If you’re not sure, ask a lawyer or industrial advocate to read it over for you.
- Keep payslips and any other documents that show how much you’re being paid.
- Keep a record of all the hours you’ve worked, including any overtime or extra hours, and how much you were paid for each shift.
- Talk to other employees in your company, and see if they are being paid the same rate as you. If they’re not, this could be evidence of discrimination. You should only do this if your employment contract does not include an obligation not to discuss confidential information with others.
- Find out the minimum wage in Australia for your industry. See below for further details.
How can I find out the minimum wage in Australia?
The national minimum wage is the minimum amount of pay that an employee is entitled to receive. It provides a starting point to calculate employees’ wages, however, most employees are covered by an industry-specific award. The national minimum wage is $21.38 per hour as of 1 July 2022, but there are different rates for different industries and types of employment.
Am I receiving a fair wage?
You need to find out if you are covered by the national minimum wage or if your industry has its own award rate. You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Find My Award tool to find the correct rate for your job. If you’re not sure what category your job falls into, the tool will guide you through a series of questions to help you find out.
Once you’ve checked that you’re being paid the correct hourly rate, you should also check that you’re receiving the correct amount of overtime, penalty rates, and allowances. The Pay and Conditions Tool is a valuable resource that can help you calculate your pay and entitlements. You may want to make a note of this tool as it can provide valuable insights into an industry the next time you or someone else is looking for a job.
How to approach your employer
Once you’ve established that you are indeed being paid below the minimum wage, it’s time to approach your employer about the situation. This can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that you have a right to be paid fairly for your work. It’s best to put your concerns in writing and request a meeting with your employer to discuss the issue. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you should consider having an industrial advocate accompany you to the meeting, you can also contact Fair Work Australia for advice and assistance.
When approaching your employer, be sure to have specific evidence of why you believe you’re being underpaid. Be prepared for your employer to ask for proof of your claims. Compile the information you gathered earlier, such as the hours you work and your industry’s minimum wage and use it to prove your case.
Keep in mind that your employer may not be aware that they are underpaying you, so it’s important to approach the situation in a calm and professional manner.
Your employer might also request that you sign a confidentiality agreement preventing you from discussing your salary with other employees. If you’re uncomfortable signing such an agreement, it’s best to discuss this with an employment lawyer before proceeding any further.
Can I be fired for questioning my salary?
You cannot be fired for questioning your salary. Under Australian law, it is illegal for an employer to dismiss an employee for raising a genuine concern about their pay. If your employer refuses to address the issue, does not rectify the situation after you have raised your concerns, or tries to silence you, it may be time to consider employment dispute resolution options. If you are fired or demoted after raising the issue of being underpaid, you may have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim.
I’m still not being paid correctly. What can I do?
If you’re still not able to resolve the issue with your employer, you may need to take the matter further. You can seek advice and representation through an employment lawyer or industrial advocate. Alternatively, you can make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Depending on which State or Territory your employment was based, you may be able to contact your local industrial magistrates’ court or tribunal for further information on commencing an underpayment of wages claim against your employer.
Before taking legal action, it is advisable to seek independent advice from an industrial advocate or employment lawyer to ensure that you have a strong case and are aware of the risks involved. In all cases, it is important to act promptly as there are strict time limits in place for the lodgement of complaints and commencement of legal action.
If you think you’re being underpaid, don’t suffer in silence – options are available to you. Use the resources mentioned in this article to find out more about your rights and to take action if you believe you are being treated unfairly. Remember, you have a right to be paid fairly for the work you do, you shouldn’t be afraid to question your salary or approach your employer about the issue.