How to check your pay and get help with underpayments

This page is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

This page is a guide for Western Australian workers that tells you about:

  • how to work out the minimum pay rate you should be paid for the work that you are doing, and
  • how to seek help if you think that you have not been paid correctly.

You may also like to visit the Overview of employment rights in WA page and the Finding out about employment rights page.

Step 1 - Work out if you are covered by the state or national industrial relations system.

Two different industrial relations systems operate in Western Australia, the state system and the national fair work system.  The two systems have different employment rights and obligations. Which of these two systems covers a particular employee depends on the type of business structure of the employer. 

 wa_image_small.jpg The state system covers businesses and organisations (and their employees) that operate as:

  • sole traders (e.g. Jane Smith trading as Jane’s Café)
  • unincorporated partnerships (e.g. Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane’s Café)
  • unincorporated trust arrangements (Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for the Smith Family Trust trading as Jane’s Café)
  • incorporated associations and other not-for-profit organisations that are not trading or financial corporations.

australia_image_small.jpg The national system covers businesses and organisations (and their employees) that operate as:

  • Pty Ltd businesses that are trading or financial corporations (e.g. Smith Pty Ltd trading as Jane’s Café)
  • incorporated partnerships (e.g. Smith Pty Ltd and Bob Smith trading as Jane's Café)
  • incorporated trust arrangements (e.g. Smith Pty Ltd as trustee for the Smith Family Trust trading as Jane's Café)
  • incorporated associations and other not-for-profit organisations that are trading or financial corporations.

question_mark_icon.jpg If you are not sure which system covers your work:

  • contact Wageline on 1300 655 266
  • provide the name of the business or ABN and Wageline can assist with a business search over the phone

If you are in the state system follow the steps listed below under the State system employees heading.  If you are in the national system follow the steps listed below under the National system employees heading. 

State system employees 

 wa_image_small.jpg State system employees should follow the steps below:

Step 2 - Start with the right information

  • Find information on the Wageline website on rates of pay, working hours and leave entitlements 
  • Call Wageline on 1300 655 266. 

Step 3 - Find out whether a WA award covers the work you do and the pay rate for your job

  • In the state system, many employees are covered by a WA award. WA awards are legal documents that outline pay rates, allowances, working hours, and leave entitlements for employees in a particular industry or type of work. If an employee is covered by a WA award, the pay rates, leave entitlements, allowances and penalty rates (such as higher pay for working on the weekend or a public holiday) outlined in the WA award must be provided to the employee, and it is unlawful to provide pay rates or leave conditions below the WA award provisions.
  • ​Find out whether a WA award covers your job by visiting the Finding the right pay rate page or calling Wageline on1300 655 266.  
  • If no WA award covers your job, most employees entitled to the WA minimum rate of pay and leave entitlements in the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act. Find the minimum pay rates on the Minimum pay rates for award free employees page.
  • There is an exclusion from the minimum rates of pay and other entitlements in the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act for some types of workers including:
    • people engaged in providing domestic service, including in-home care, in a private home, where employed directly by the owner or occupier of the home
    • people paid wholly by commission or piece rates 

Step 4 – Compare the relevant rate of pay with what you are / were earning.

  • It is unlawful for an employer to pay you less than the minimum rate of pay, or if a WA award applies, the WA award rate of pay, even if you agreed to a lower rate of pay when you started work. 

Step 5 – Take action to resolve the underpayment if you believe you have been underpaid

  • Visit the Making a complaint about underpayment of wages and entitlements page to learn how to lodge an underpayment of wages or entitlements complaint if you believe you have been underpaid wages or leave under a WA award, state registered agreement, or the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act or you have not been paid a long service leave entitlement under the state Long Service Leave Act.  

Report wage theft anonymously

 

National system employees

 australia_image_small.jpg National system employees should follow the steps below:

Step 2 - Start with the right information

  • Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website at www.fairwork.gov.au or call 13 13 94 for information on your pay, working hours and leave, except long service leave.  
  • Visit www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/longserviceleave for long service leave information as most national system employees get long service leave under the state Long Service Leave Act.

Step 3 - Find out whether a national award covers the work that you do and the pay rate for your job

  • Many jobs are covered by a national modern award that sets the minimum pay rates for an industry or occupation.
  • Find the right award and pay rate for your job using the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator at www.fairwork.gov.au

Step 4 - Compare the relevant rate of pay with what you are / were earning.

  • It is unlawful for an employer to pay you less than the minimum rate of pay, or if an award applies, the award rate of pay, even if you agreed to a lower rate of pay when you started work. 

Step 5 – Take action to resolve the underpayment if you believe you have been underpaid

  • Visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call 13 13 94 to get help from the Fair Work Ombudsman if you believe you have been underpaid wages or leave (except long service leave) under a national modern award, federal agreement or the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act.
  • Visit the Making a complaint about underpayment of wages and entitlements page to learn how to lodge an long service leave underpayment complaint if you believe you have not been paid a long service leave entitlement under the Long Service Leave Act.

Report wage theft anonymously

Visit www.fairwork.gov.au to anonymously report a wage theft / underpayment issue to the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

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