Are you an international student working over the summer break? It’s important to remember, that you have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides free information and assistance to help you understand these rights. 

When you start a new job, you might be told or asked to do things that don’t seem quite right. To help you identify what’s acceptable in Australian workplaces, below are some of the common myths to watch out for.

Don’t know what a myth is? A myth is a widely held belief that is not actually true. 

Myth 1: International students aren’t entitled to a minimum wage. 

Fact: Minimum pay rates apply to all workers in Australia including international students. The national minimum wage is reviewed every 1 July, and as of 1 July 2019, the national minimum wage for employees aged 21 and over, is $19.49 per hour or $24.36 for casuals.

For many jobs, penalty rates must also be paid for evening, weekend, public holiday and overtime work. You can calculate minimum pay rates using our online Pay Calculator. Go to www.fairwork.gov.au/pay.

Myth 2: Your boss can cancel your student visa because you’ve worked more than you should have.

Fact: Only the Department of Home Affairs can cancel visas. The Fair Work Ombudsman has an arrangement with Home Affairs to encourage workers who are being exploited to get its help – even if they’ve breached their student visa conditions. For more information visit www.fairwork.gov.au/internationalstudents.

Myth 3: When applying for a job, an employer can ask you to complete a lengthy unpaid work trial.

Fact: Unpaid work trials must only last for as long as needed to demonstrate the skills required for the job. Depending on the nature of the work, this could range from one hour to one shift. Go to www.fairwork.gov.au/unpaidwork to find out more about unpaid trials.

Myth 4: An employer can pay you whenever they want.

Fact: Employees should be paid at least once a month, and always in money. Payment-in-kind including payment in goods such as food, drink or clothing is against the law.  

Myth 5: Pay slips aren’t mandatory – employers only need to give employees pay slips if they ask for them.

Fact: Employers must give all employees a pay slip within one working day of pay day. It doesn’t matter how many people the business employs, or how long an employee has been working there. Employers can give employees paper or electronic pay slips, such as a link sent via email. To find out what needs to be included in a payslip visit www.fairwork.gov.au/payslips

You can also find more myths and tips for young workers and the Guide to Starting a New Job on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website at www.fairwork.gov.au.

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Remember, the Fair Work Ombudsman is here to help!