Before you start work, you should be aware of the following:
- Salary: rates of pay vary, so visit the Fair Work Ombudsman or SafeWork SA website for more information. Remember that it is illegal for your employer offers to pay you in cash without taking tax out.
- Penalty Rates: if you work outside usual working hours (such as on weekends, public holidays or late at night), you may receive a higher rate of pay than usual. It could be double the amount you earn per hour or more.
- Tax File Number (TFN): you should have a tax file number – if you don’t, you may end up paying more taxes than you need to – and that means less money in the bank! Applying for a TFN is free and easy – you just have to fill out a form.
- Superannuation: This is money put aside for your retirement. Most employers have to pay the equivalent of 9% of your salary into your super account. You can choose the fund your super is paid into. If you have more than one job it’s important to have all your superannuation in one account so you’re not paying too many fees. If you choose not to find a permanent place to stay in Australia you can apply for your superannuation to be refunded when you leave the country.
Australian workplace culture
The workplace is informal in Australia. This means you can usually:
- Address co-workers and even bosses by their first name
- Chat with those around you to form and strengthen relationships (remember to balance this against the amount of work you’re getting done!)
- Share jokes, even with supervisors
- Treat all other workers (including those who are in inferior positions) as equals and with respect
- Politely interrupt your boss when their door is open
However, you are also expected to:
- Be punctual by arriving at work and meetings on time
- Look for ways to improve the company you are working for, even just by a small amount
Your rights and responsibilities
It’s important to remember your rights at work and to recognise if your employer is doing the wrong thing.
Some businesses, particularly small businesses, may try to underpay you or not keep your conditions up to workplace standards.
Most workplaces are covered by an Industrial Award, which sets out the minimal conditions you can be expected to work under as well as the minimum wage. You should ask to see a copy of the award before you accept a position. For more information please click here.
If you feel you are being treated unfairly in relation to your workplace conditions you can talk to the Workplace Ombudsman. Call their information line on 13 13 94 to discuss your situation further or visitwww.fairwork.gov.au for more information.