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Getting a job

The ins and outs of pay, tax and super

Page reading time: 4 minutes

Know what to expect with pay, tax and superannuation when you get a job. And how to get help if you're not being paid enough.

Know what you're entitled to

Your type of employment affects your pay, conditions and entitlements. If you're not sure whether you are full-time, part-time, casual or a contractor, ask your boss.

Type of employment

Conditions and entitlements

Full-time

  • set hours (maximum 38 hours a week)
  • regular pay (for example, fortnightly or monthly)
  • minimum working conditions — these are set out in the Fair Work Ombudsman's National Employment Standards
  • must pay income tax

Part-time

  • set hours (less than 38 hours per week)
  • same conditions as full-time employees but in proportion to how many hours you work

Casual

  • hours may differ from week to week
  • paid by the hour (at a higher hourly rate than part-time or full-time employees)
  • no sick or annual leave

Contractor

  • can negotiate fees and working arrangements
  • can work for more than one client at a time
  • no pay for holidays or sick days

See help for young workers and students on the Fair Work Ombudsman website to find out more.

4 warning signs

Know your rights and entitlements at work and what to watch out for.

Check your pay

The business or person you work for (your employer) gives you a pay slip each time you get paid. Your pay slip shows:

Check your pay slip to make sure you're getting paid the right amount. If you don't know how much you should be earning, see minimum wages on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Get your money sorted

Do a budget

When you start working, do a budget to keep on top of your income and expenses. Knowing how much is coming in and going out puts you in control of your money. 

Get a savings mindset

Start saving some money — no matter how small the amount you can put aside. This will help you cope with big bills and avoid money problems in future.

To start:

Pay income tax

You need a Tax File Number (TFN) to manage your tax and super. Your TFN is a number assigned to you by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Make sure you keep it secure.

Visit the ATO's website to find out more and apply for a TFN.

Calculate your tax

If you're earning an income, you'll probably need to pay income tax. How much you pay depends on how much you earn.

Usually, your employer deducts tax from each pay and sends it to the ATO on your behalf. This is called Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding.

Find out more about how income tax works and how much you'll have to pay.

Lodge your tax return

You can lodge your tax return online for free using myTax. Follow the ATO's guide to lodging your first tax return. You need to lodge your return by 31 October each year.

The ATO assesses your tax return and calculates your income tax. You will then get a 'notice of assessment'. This tells you if you will get a tax refund. Or, if you owe tax, how much more you need to pay.

Claim work-related expenses

You may be able to pay less tax for expenses that directly relate to your work, such as clothes, travel, tools and equipment. This is called a tax deduction. For anything you might want to claim as a deduction, you need to keep your receipt or other proof of purchase.

Visit the ATO website to find out what deductions you can claim.

Check your super

Superannuation is money you save for when you retire. Your employer usually has to put a minimum of 9.5% of your pay into a super account for you. This is in addition to your pay.

You get super if you are full-time, part-time or casual, and if you are either:

You may also be entitled to super if you're a contractor — see the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for advice about super for contractors.

Check you're getting paid enough super. How much super you get now can make a huge difference to how much you'll have later in life.

Find out more about how super works.

Get help with pay issues

If your employer isn't paying you enough, or if your work conditions aren't right, follow our steps:

1. Check your pay and entitlements

Go to the Fair Work Ombudsman website to find out what pay and entitlements you should be getting.

2. Talk to your boss

Once you know how much you should be earning, talk to your boss. Employers sometimes make mistakes and can be happy to fix things.

3. Contact the Fair Work Ombudsman

You may not feel confident talking to your boss. Or you may have tried talking, but it hasn't worked. If so, get help resolving workplace issues from the Fair Work Ombudsman. They'll help you sort it out as quickly as possible.