Teenagers and earning - getting paid!

Young people get excited about having their first job, and finally earning their own income. This means independence and a sense of achievement, but also being across the rights and responsibilities of being an employee.

What's on your payslip?

Information to be found on a payslip (pay advice) includes the name of the employee and employer, date of payment, gross pay before tax, amount deducted for tax, any other private deductions, superannuation contributions and net pay.

  • Gross pay - To check the accuracy of a payslip the employee needs to know the rate (the hourly ordinary) of pay, and the number of hours worked for the pay period, which could be weekly, fortnightly or even yearly (a salary).  For example, if the employee has worked 32 hours for the week and the rate of pay is $18 per hour gross, the weekly gross pay is $576.

  • Superannuation -The payslip will show the amount (9.5% of ordinary time earnings) contributed by the employer to the worker’s superannuation (retirement fund). An employee can also contribute extra to their superannuation fund. 

  • Taxation – The employer deducts taxation from the employee’s gross pay and forwards this to the Australian Taxation Office. It is illegal for an employer to pay ‘cash’ and not record taxation. After 30 June each year, every employee must submit a Taxation Return which records whether a tax refund is due or whether the employee has to pay more taxation.  At the end of the financial year the employer issues a group certificate which outlines details of total gross earnings and total taxation deducted over the financial year.

  • Net pay - Net pay is the amount that remains after taxation and any private deductions (such as health fund contributions) are deducted.  This is the ‘take home’ pay. 

It is important that you check your payslip, asking questions such as:

  • Have you been paid at the correct hourly rate?

  • Are any penalty rates, such as public holidays, noted?

  • Has superannuation been paid?

  • Is your superannuation going into the correct fund?

  • If you get leave in your job, is the right amount being recorded?


What if your payslip is incorrect?

  • Ask for help. It is a good idea to involve your parents/carers or another trusted adult if you think something is wrong. Their parents are older, more experienced, and may be able to help – especially if you are not comfortable approaching their employer directly.

  • Check the details of your employment contract.

  • Speak with your employer about the issue.

  • Use the Fairwork Ombudsman, which has a section dedicated to helping Young workers & students.

Check out Operational Financial Literacy Module 2, Income – where does it come from? for a range of great teaching and learning resources on this important topic.

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