Employing Staff: Minimum Wages & Entitlements

Once you have determined the NATURE of the engagement of the individual as an employee, you need to understand your obligations and their rights under the National Employment Standards & your relevant Industry Award.

The FairWork website has a fantastic selection of articles relating to all aspects of employee awards and entitlements, they also maintain a database of Industry Awards which should be reviewed in accordance with your particular industry.

National Employment Standards (NES) cover the bare minimum in relation to employee entitlements and should be reviewed so you have an understanding of your obligations in this area.

It’s really important that you pay your employees correctly and ensure they’re receiving all their legal entitlements.  We’ve outlined the key areas below:

Minimum wages

There are minimum wages that apply to all employees across Australia.  These apply to both full time and casual rates and should be reviewed annually in line with the Fair Work’s annual Wage Review.

Changes made to the minimum wage come into effect on the 1 July each year and July 2017 saw an increase of 3.3% come into effect for first full pay period of the new financial year.

Learn more about the national minimum wage on the Fair Work site Here.

Issuing Pay slips

Pay slips must be issued to your employees within 1 working day of pay day, even if an employee is on leave.

An employee’s payslip must contain certain details relating to the payments, deductions, and superannuation contributions for each pay period. They must include all of the following:

  • the employer’s name
  • the employer’s Australian Business Number (ABN), if any
  • the employee’s name
  • the date of payment
  • the pay period-beginning and end dates (e.g. 23/8/12 to 29/8/12)
  • the gross and net amount of payment
  • any loadings, monetary allowances, bonuses, incentive-based payments, penalty rates, or other separately identifiable entitlement paid as applicable to their award.
Paid leave

All employees (except casual employees) are entitled to paid annual leave based on their ordinary hours of work.

An employee is entitled to 4 weeks annual leave for each 12 months of service, or 5 weeks annual leave for some shift workers for each 12 months of service.

You must pay annual leave at the employee’s base rate of pay for their ordinary hours during the period of leave. You must not unreasonably refuse a request to take annual leave, and there’s no minimum or maximum amount of accrued annual leave that can be taken at a time.

Sick leave

Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to 10 days paid personal leave (for sick and paid carer’s leave) each year. Paid personal leave accumulates from year to year and is accrued throughout the year.

In the event of prolonged leave requirements, Fair Work have more information specifically on sick and carer’s leave and long periods of sick leave on their site.

Maternity and parental leave

Your employees have certain leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES). Learn more about maternity and parental leave.

The Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme provides financial support for new parents while they’re off work caring for a newborn or recently adopted child. It does not change existing leave entitlements or give employees a new entitlement to leave.

You may be required to provide government-funded parental leave pay to an employee. Find out more about what the Paid Parental Leave Scheme means for you.


There are many areas to consider when employing staff and this is why there are resources available through Fair Work to assist you in ensuring that you’re covering your obligations as an employer and managing your employees correctly.

If in doubt, consult with your Advisor or contact Fair Work directly for assistance.