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
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:
- how much you earned for each hour of work
- how much your employer has put into your super account
- any money taken out for tax
- your gross pay (how much you earned before tax)
- your net pay (how much goes into your bank account after tax is taken out)
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.
Do a budget to manage your money and know what to save or spend.
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.
- Open a savings account to start putting a little bit aside.
- Save for an emergency fund to build a safety net for unexpected expenses.
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.
Work out how much tax you need to pay.
Lodge your tax return
You can lodge your tax return online for free through the ATO's online services, accessed via myGov. Follow our steps for lodging your 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.
Superannuation is money you save for when you retire. Your employer usually has to put a minimum of 10% 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:
- aged 18 or over and earn at least $450 a month (before tax), or
- aged under 18, work at least 30 hours a week, and earn at least $450 a month (before tax)
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.
Work out how much super you should be earning.
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.