Have you ever started a new job where things did not seem quite right? Although you were told they were and it was just “the way things are” it still did not seem quite fair?  

Here are 10 common myths we have cracked to ensure that both employer and employees understand the expectations of their role within the workplace:

1. It is not okay to pay a low, flat rate for all hours worked if the employee agrees.  

Minimum hourly rates of pay apply for all employees. For many occupations these will vary depending on whether the individual works day, afternoon, night or weekend shift.

An employee and employer can establish an individual flexibility agreement to vary the penalty rates and overtime however, this agreement would need to meet the “better off overall” test. If the individual entering into this agreement is under the age of 18 years, they would need a parent to sign it.

2. Inexperienced workers should not be forced to undertake lengthy unpaid trials, work placements or internships when looking to get industry experience.  

Unpaid trials are ok only for as long as needed for an individual to demonstrate they possess the skills to do the job. As a rule, this should be no longer than one (1) day.

Unpaid work placement or internships are lawful when they are a part of an approved job training or work experience program and the work is undertaken in accordance with the relevant program or placement.  

3. Employers are required to pay their employees for all hours dedicated to work, including time spent opening and closing.  

4. If an employee is required to attend meetings or training outside of their normal paid working hours they are required to be paid.

The rule of thumb: If it is compulsory, then it is work.  

5. Making unauthorised deductions from an employee's pay is unlawful.  

It is only possible to make deductions from employees pay in limited circumstances. Employers cannot make unauthorised deductions from employees to cover losses from cash register discrepancies, breakages and customers who don't pay.  For further information on this you should refer to Deducting pay and overpayments on www.fairwork.com.au.

6. Employees are not obligated to purchase products from the store in which they work.  

This includes items they receive a staff discount for. This includes items of clothing, food and beverages.

7. If an employer is looking to engage a young employee as an Apprentice or Trainee, they must negotiate and lodge a registered training contract for an employee in order to lawfully be able to pay trainee or apprentice rates.  

An employer cannot pay an employee trainee rates just because they are young or new to the job.  

8. Paying employees with products rather than wages, also known as Payment-in-kind, is unlawful. Employees must be paid wages for all work performed.  

9. Having an ABN does not automatically make a worker an independent contractor.  

Fair Work inspectors apply tests of fact and law to determine whether a worker’s correct classification is as an independent contractor or an employee.  

10. Employers are required to provide their employees with a pay slips (not only if an employee requests it).  

Payslips must be issued within one working day of pay-day. Employers can give employees paper or electronic pay slips, such as a link sent via email.  

If you are not sure about any of the Myths above or if you do not know where to start and would like further information – we can help. Just email solve@fiveseven.com.au

Rachel Lockey

Rachel is a highly dedicated and passionate member of the FiveSeven Consulting Team. She brings a wealth of practical knowledge....

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