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Protecting and supporting our young workers

Protecting and supporting our young workers

Sometimes I feel that I walk around with my head in the clouds when it comes to people doing the right thing.

I then get brought back down to reality and it doesn’t just make me angry, but it makes me sad that there are still people out there that will do what they can, to take advantage of our young people.

Let me go back to a few weeks ago.

I attended a local school where I was invited to attend and speak to predominantly Year 11-12 students about working in the hospitality industry.

The students had just attended a 2-day course where they had received certificates to gain employment in the hospitality industry.

I spoke to 20+ students and during this time we chatted about a number of areas of the industry, expectations, requirements and where the industry can take them. They were super excited and keen to join the industry.

I asked the students to raise their hands on who already had employment and nearly half were in current employment.

It came to a time that the students started to relax and chat about where they worked and what they were paid.

5 out of the 20+ students were getting CASH IN HAND. I’m not saying paid cash with a pay slip. I’m saying that these young people are getting paid cash in hand and were not getting paid correctly.

What are we doing?

What are we doing to support our kids going into employment?

We need to make sure that our children are not only getting paid properly, but to make sure that they are covered by insurance, receiving super and paying tax.

Would we send our children to school if we knew the school didn’t have insurance to cover a student if they were to hurt themselves? Would we send them to after school sporting groups if they didn’t have insurance to protect them?
I know that Worksafe would be involved if something was to happen, but that’s not the point.

We need to make sure our children are empowered to set their own standard for their working life. What they will and won’t tolerate. I hear it too many times, where businesses will use employees age and lack of knowledge to their advantage.

Now, back in my 20’s I worked for someone that gave staff 20 hours ‘on the books’ and the rest in cash. Now as a 40 year old, I have very little super, so I want to pass on what I have acquired to people that are coming into their working life.

10 things you should know before you start work:

WHICH AWARD COVERS YOUR WORKPLACE

Awards are Federal legislation that governs the conditions of your workplace including rates of pay and how often you should be getting meal breaks. You should read and print off a copy of the Award your job is covered by and keep it for reference. Common Awards for student jobs include:

  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (cafes, restaurants)
  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010 (McDonalds, KFC and other Fast Food chains)
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010 (clothing shops and other retail)

More Awards can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards

THE MINIMUM WAGE IS $ 19.49 AN HOUR BUT YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO MORE 

($19.49 1 July 2019- 30 June 2020 when it will be reviewed again)

This means that if you are 21 years of age or over you must be paid at least $19.49 if you are part time or full time and $24.36 if you are casual ($19.49 + 25% casual loading). Some workplaces will pay above award wages.

WHAT JUNIOR RATES OF PAY ARE AND IF YOU’RE AFFECTED BY THEM

If you’re under 21 you might be paid at a junior rate which is a percentage of the adult wage. Check your Award to see if you are affected by them and check if you are being paid the correct amount. An 18 year old under the General Retail Industry Award 2010 receives 70% of the adult wage rate under junior wages.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CASUAL AND PART TIME WORK

Casual– no minimum hours, casual loading of 25% on top of base pay rate, no sick/holiday leave
Part time– set weekly hours, sick and holiday leave

YOUR EMPLOYER CANNOT DEDUCT MONEY FROM YOUR WAGE WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT

It is illegal for your employer to deduct money from your wage for things like money missing from a till or breaking dishes.

YOU HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO BE PAID ON TIME AND RECEIVE A PAYSLIP

Payslips have important information including your rate of pay, how many hours you work in your pay period, how much you were taxed and how much Superannuation you have been paid. Keep payslips as record of your work and pay; you will need them as evidence if you are ever underpaid and need to make a claim to get your money back.

SUPERANNUATION PAYMENTS

Superannuation in Australia is compulsory if you are over 18 and earning more than $450 per month before tax. It is paid into your Super fund by your employer on top of your wages. The minimum Super rate in Australia in 2016 is 9.50%. If you have had more than one job, make sure you consolidate into one Super fund to avoid paying more fees.

UNPAID TRIALS ARE ILLEGAL

If you’re asked to do a trial shift for work you still must legally be paid for that time, regardless of whether you end up getting the job.

EVERY ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO JOIN A UNION

Unions will protect you and give you advice if anything goes wrong at work. They will also give you the confidence to speak up if you need to approach your boss about increasing wages or addressing health and safety issues. Anyone who tries to intimidate you out of joining a union is breaking the law.

CASH IN HAND JOBS ARE ILLEGAL AND EXPLOIT YOUNG PEOPLE

Cash in hand jobs seem like a good idea since you won’t be paying tax on your wages but for a few extra dollars you give away:

  • your employer’s 9.5% contribution to your Superannuation
  • any paid sick or annual leave and paid overtime
  • any protection from unfair dismissal
  • being covered by Workcover in the case of an accident or injury
  • any rights if your employer stops paying you or does not pay you on time

http://balltlc.org.au

Supporting Weblinks

Find your Award and Pay https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/findyouraward

Fair Plate https://fairplate.org.au

Fairwork https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations