FAQs about pay

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EmployerEmployee / worker

The information on this page applies only to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system. The state system covers businesses which operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trust arrangements as well as any incorporated associations or not for profit bodies that are not trading or financial corporations.  The Guide to who is in the WA State System has more detail.

This information does not apply to any business which operates as a Pty Ltd business and is a trading or financial corporation nor to any incorporated association or not for profit body that is a trading or financial corporation. These businesses and organisations are in the national fair work system and should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on employment laws. 

Frequently asked questions about pay

How must employees be paid?

Employees must be paid in money. Employers cannot require employees to accept goods or services instead of money as part of their pay, unless authorised by an award or contract of employment. Also, employers cannot force or compel employees to spend any part of their pay in a particular way.

Some WA awards require employers to make payment of wages in certain ways, such as electronic funds transfer. Check any specific requirements in the applicable WA award about methods of paying wages.

If employees are award free, employers need their agreement to be paid in any way other than in cash. It is best for employers and employees to discuss this when the employee starts work.

How often must employees be paid?

Most WA awards require employees to be paid weekly or fortnightly. Check any specific requirements in the applicable WA award about how often employees must be paid.

If employees are award free, the employer can specify how often they are paid in a contract of employment or letter of offer of employment, or by notifying employees before they start.  It is important to remember that employees would expect to be paid at least on a monthly basis.

Can an employer reduce an employee's pay for poor performance?

No, poor performance is not a justification to reduce an employee’s pay. The employee must continue to be paid according to their award or agreement; otherwise, the employer is in breach of industrial laws.

If poor performance is an issue, the employer should talk to the employee, listen to their explanation, and given them a reasonable chance to improve to the required standard. The Managing performance page has more information.

Does someone undertaking trial work have to be paid?   

Currently there is no legal requirement to pay someone who is on trial work. The purpose of trial work is to see if someone is suitable for a job.  It should not be used by employers to get free labour. If a business offers to pay then minimum or award wages will apply.

Does someone who is on work experience have to be paid?

Work experience is generally unpaid. It is usually organised by a school, TAFE or university and provides the opportunity for someone to gain information and experience on the practical aspects of a job in a particular industry. If a business offers to pay then minimum or award wages will apply.

Do employees have to be paid for attending meetings or training?

If the meeting or training course is required as part of the employee’s job, it is considered to be work and must be paid in the normal way.

Do overseas employees on working visas get the same pay rate as other workers?

Employers who engage people on working visa arrangements must comply with employment laws. Additional conditions may be imposed dependent upon the nature of the visa. For further details contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

What happens if an employee believes there has been an underpayment?

For information on making a complaint about underpayment of wages, please contact Wageline

Please contact Wageline if you have additional questions about ensuring payments are correct. 

Record keeping

All state system employers are legally required to keep employment records that detail time worked, leave taken and pay received by employees.

Learn more on the record keeping requirements page

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