Can the boss deduct money from your wages for accommodation and transport? Don't let your hard-earned pay go to waste – know the rules that protect you!
There are clear guidelines so employers and workers know exactly what can and can’t be deducted from your pay.
Stay informed and protect your finances on your next adventure.
The Rules About Deductions
Workers must be paid money for their work and not in goods or services like transport and accommodation. A worker can choose to use transport or accommodation provided by their employer, but if the employer proposes to deduct the cost of these from a worker’s pay, then Fair Work rules must be followed.
Most importantly, any deduction can only be done with the worker’s permission.
If deductions have been arranged, they must be shown on a worker’s pay slip.
Pay slips must be given to a worker within one working day of payday, whether paid in cash or electronically into the worker’s bank account.
A pay slip can be provided in hard copy or electronically.
Details of what should be included on a pay slip can be found on Fair Work’s Pay Slips and record keeping page.
Beware of illegal ‘cashback’ schemes in the workplace! Employers may appear to be paying their workers the correct amount, but if the worker is required to give back part or all of their pay without the correct procedures being followed and without the worker’s consent, this is illegal.
Workers should protect their rights and ensure fair compensation if they’ve been cheated by staying informed and reporting any suspicious activity to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Job Finding Fees
Workers cannot be asked to pay money to receive a job offer or to keep their job.
When looking for work, travellers should be aware of some ‘red flags’ that something is not quite right about a job offer. Examples might include:
- Job offers that require upfront fees
- Jobs that require payment of a bond for accommodation before work can start.
- Ads that don’t list much business information, such as only a phone number or post office box.
For more tips on looking for work, go to Finding harvest jobs.
An employer can only deduct money from wages if:
- The employee has authorised the deduction in writing (which must specify the amount), and the deduction is principally for the employee’s benefit; or
- The deduction is authorised by:
- the employee in accordance with a registered agreement
- under an award or order of the Fair Work Commission, or
- under a law or a court order.
To find out all the rules about pay deductions, go to Deducting pay.
Superannuation and tax
An employer must pay superannuation contributions into a fund, and this must also be on the pay slip. This is in addition to any usual wages. More information is available from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Workers may need to lodge a tax return each year. Check the ATO website for more information about lodging a tax return.
Further information and resources
The Harvest Trail ‘Getting paid for harvest work’.
Fair Work Ombudsman
The Horticulture Showcase is a virtual hub of workplace information and resources for the horticulture industry.