A recent research report containing survey data on international students’ work experience in Australia, found that many international students held common beliefs about workplace rights that are NOT true. In this article, the Fair Work Ombudsman will debunk these myths.
Myth one – International students are not entitled to Australia’s minimum wage
No matter what your boss tells you and no matter what your friends tell you, international students are entitled to the same legal wages and employment conditions as Australian workers.
Myth two – Casuals receive the same minimum wage as full-time and part-time employees
Casual employees generally get a higher minimum wage than full-time and part-time employees because they are not eligible for entitlements like paid sick leave, paid holiday leave and notice of termination. For more information on the differences between casual, full-time and part-time employment, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
Myth three – Employees break the law if they accept wages less than the minimum wage
It is not ok for your employer to pay you less than the legal minimum wage even if you agree to it. If your boss isn’t paying you correctly, you are not breaking the law, they are! You have nothing to fear by coming to the Fair Work Ombudsman and reporting that you’re not being paid correctly.
Myth four – employees break the law if they accept payment in cash
It is not illegal to be paid in cash but sometimes employers can use cash payments to avoid tax obligations or to avoid paying correct wage rates. Bosses are breaking the law if they don’t give you a payslip within one working day of payday, even if you are on leave. It is important that you keep records of your working hours and payment received, especially if you are paid in cash and not receiving a payslip.
You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s FREE Record My Hours app to help you record and store the hours you work, plus other information about your employment. The free app is available in 18 languages and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Find out more information
The Fair Work Ombudsman provides FREE and confidential information and assistance about your rights at work.
On the Fair Work Ombudsman website, you can find more myths and tips for young workers, including international students. You can also access information in your own language at www.fairwork.gov.au/languages.
If you would prefer to speak to someone over the phone, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94. To talk to the Fair Work Ombudsman with the help of a translator, you can call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450, state your preferred language and advise that you would like to speak to the Fair Work Ombudsman.