Employers and Minimum Wage Requirements
It is extremely important for employers to be aware of the national minimum wage rate. By law employees must be paid the minimum wage for difference kinds of jobs under relevant Industry Awards. It is okay to pay employees more than the minimum wage, however some employers are paying less which can come back to bite them. Many employers can become complacent or even unaware of the minimum requirements, and this can lead to unwanted problems for the business.
Finding the right award can be difficult and time consuming for many employers, however it is in their best interest to ensure employees are being paid the minimum award rate. The Industry Awards can be found on the Fair Work website under the industry in which you business is conducted. This can be confusing at times for employers to find the correct Award for a particular role. Yet, it would be in their best interest to seek further advice to ensure they are paying their employees correctly.
It should be noted that different pay rates apply to casuals, who receive 25% loading on top of the minimum wage to make up for not receiving annual leave or personal and sick leave. Juniors, who are usually under the age of 21, will generally receive a lower wage which is calculated as a percentage of the relevant adult pay rate. Another important fact to remember is that employees must be paid correctly for all hours they work. This includes time spent training, in meetings, opening and closing the business and in some cases doing a trail shift.
Employers must be responsible for checking minimum wage rates on a yearly basis as each year the Fair Work Commission reviews the national minimum wage and pay rates under awards. The changes made will be published and begin from July, meaning that employers must pay their employees the correct wage from the first full pay period on or after 1st July.
There have been previous incidences where over a period of time employers have paid their employees below the minimum wage. Once this has been noted by the employee it has resulted in the business having to back pay. Being that it is generally a lump sum of money that is owed, it can be quite difficult for the employer, especially if running a small business, to acquire this money in a short period of time.
Overall, it is in the best interest of the business to continually check minimum wage rates to ensure every employee is being paid correctly. Whether they are full-time, part-time, casual or juniors, employers have a duty to ensure they are paying their employees correctly.
Link: Fair Work Australia