Right Job Position, Wrong Award Wage

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Are you getting what your worth in your industry?

Are you being paid the right wage per hour or salary for your occupation that is correct in accordance to the type of work you do?

Over the years there has been allot of debate and/or confusion in relation to wages and/or salaries by employees and employers alike.

The fact of the matter is that with changes to governments, there are changes to fair work rates and these are determined by a number of factors.

Being an employer you have an obligation to keep up to date with these changes to regulations for your state, making sure that what you pay employees is true and correct.

As an employer it’s your responsibility to not take advantage of changes to industries by undercutting your employee’s wages with practices of payment via other industry categories that are not in accordance to correctness to the type of workplace preformed.

Being an employer for a operation need-be a labor hire temp agency such as Bluestone, Fresh, Pinnacle, Zenith or even a restaurant or hotel etc. you will no-doubt be aware that an employee who finds their wages or salary has been undercut can approach a fair work place ombudsman to mediate back dated pay for up to 6 years.

On top of this you as the employer may also be taken to court for not only that 6 years back pay owing for correct wages, but also required to pay a lump sum penalty payment in addition for breaching fair work place regulations (This can sum up to allot of zeros).

As the employee new or old that is not sure of your entitlements, there are a couple of things you need to do first to assist an Ombudsman.

Firstly it helps if you know the ABN of the company (check pay slips), the business entity and details are accessible via ABN Business Lookup (Active ABN for your company is the current and inactive if business has closed).

Secondly on searching the active ABN or history of company you’ll need to take note of the type of business they operate this would be a Sole Trader (non complicate) or a LTD PTY company (compliant), as this makes a difference in what you get paid.

You can crosscheck the information obtained from ABN Lookup via the ASIC Business Registry website using the Business Search.

Thirdly you need to take note of the start date of company’s first registry and if it has been bought-out by a new trader or organization (don’t worry if you not sure an Ombudsman the cross reference with active).

This is because prior to 2006 is different to after in relation to wages that includes the latest industry awards.

Fourthly an ombudsman also need pay slips, work logs and/or time sheets as payroll ledgers hide underpayments most commonly.

However timesheets not always available during shifts, but payment would show for shift on pay slip nonetheless (an ombudsman can obtain timesheets from employer).

Finally you then need to contact Wage-line Fair and Safe Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or via the website Fair Work Ombudsman for the latest industry standard awards for your occupation, supplying the above information for correctness of pay structure related to your industry.

Being paid correctly is not only important to the employee but also the employer, as this means they are honest and loyal to looking after their employees, this in-turn for loyalty including the happiness of employees that are generally more productive.

Over the last few years I have notice a number of industries working a number of circles for profiteering on senior and juniors alike.

Below are some examples -

Advertising for juniors to do senior positions, by asking for skills no junior would have.
Undercutting hourly rates in paying seniors wages for specialized salary positions.
Taking advantage of paying trainee awards to level 3 or higher professionals.
Companies paying according to categories unrelated to the type of work the employee is working (not aligned too).
Industry employees such as hospitality waiters for restaurants or other sometimes are paid at a barista wage (this means you are being incorrectly paid as a restaurant is not a café).
If the company sells alcohol they come under Restaurant/Catering Award; if you handle alcohol the same applies.

A barista only makes and sells coffee (maybe with food) and there is no alcohol on premises for sale during this time

Function Centre’s however can have baristas working the same time as waiters handling alcohol, but both though are on different wage rates during this period and cannot cross jobs without pay rate changes for type of work preformed (agencies’ profit most commonly in walking around this scenario by maintaining the same rate of pay).

It is a good idea to check your position via these steps even if you are sure, just to be correct that you are getting what’s rightfully owed in payment for your services as an employee.

Trails are one hour if an employee chooses to trial longer, they must pay you for that trial unless you agree for longer; this is so employers can’t take advantage of staff without paying them as full-ins.

Hopefully this helps people out in getting the right knowledge on how to approach such subjects and problems within the workplace for both sides for fair and safer work places.

Brett J Hutton

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