Make sure you’re following the law by paying your employees correctly.

Not meeting your obligations is a serious issue. Take the time to ensure you understand the rules to avoid problems in the future.

Get pay right

Use the information on this page to understand the rules about minimum wage and paying employees.

We recommend you:

  • Understand the essentials: read the information on this page to get the basics.
  • Get the full picture: use the links back to our main website if you want to know more.
  • Use our calculator: bookmark and use our Pay and Conditions Tool to calculate minimum wages, penalty rates and other award rates.

Minimum wages

All employees are entitled to a minimum hourly pay rate. This can come from the:

Key points

  • For most employees, the minimum wage is set by the award that covers their industry or occupation.
  • Many small businesses are covered by their industry award, so it’s important you know what covers your business. For example, the Restaurant Award or Retail Award.
  • From the first pay period on or after 1 July 2023 the National Minimum Wage is $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per week.
  • Employees also get penalty rates – this is extra pay for working particular hours or days like weekends or public holidays.
  • You should know if your employees are entitled to allowances. This is extra pay for doing certain things – for example, certain travel or performing unique types of work or tasks.

Resources and tools

Paying employees

Most awards or agreements will say how often employees need to be paid.

Key points

  • Awards and agreements usually say that employees need to be paid weekly or fortnightly.
  • If an employee’s award doesn’t say anything on how often they should be paid, then employees must be paid at least monthly.
  • Employees can be paid in several different ways – usually direct into their bank account by electronic funds transfer (EFT).
  • You have to give your employees their pay slip within one working day of being paid (even if they’re on leave).
  • You have to keep accurate and up-to-date records about your employees, including on their pay rates and hours of work.

Resources and tools

  • More information: go to our Paying wages page to learn more about frequency of pay and pay slips.
  • Calculator: use our Pay and Conditions Tool to check minimum award pay rates, allowances and other pay entitlements.
  • Templates: download a free pay slip template from our Templates page.

Deductions and overpayments

You’re not allowed to make deductions from an employee’s pay, except in specific circumstances.

Key points

  • You can only deduct money lawfully in specific situations, such as if it’s allowed by law or a court order, or it’s allowed under the employee’s award.
  • An example of a legal deduction is a salary sacrifice arrangement.
  • Employees can give an employer permission to make deductions from their pay that are either one-off or deducted regularly for specific amounts, or for amounts that change from time to time. These are called employee authorised deductions and the employee needs to give their permission in writing. Other rules also apply.
  • If you’ve accidentally overpaid your employee, you shouldn’t make a deduction from their next pay. Instead, you should have a conversation with the employee and come to an agreement in writing for it to be repaid.

Resources and tools

  • More information: understand all the rules for deductions and overpayments by reading our Deductions and related issues section.
  • Online training: if you want a quick refresher on pay and record-keeping obligations, take our short course (under 25 minutes): Record-keeping and pay slips.

Tax and super

All employers have tax and super (superannuation) obligations.

Key points

  • You can learn more about your employer tax obligations from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – go to ATO - Business.
  • You must meet the super guarantee – this is a set percentage paid on top of an employee’s ordinary time earnings.
  • Super has to be paid at least every 3 months into the employee's nominated account.
  • Some awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements have extra terms about superannuation.

Resources and tools

More information for small business