Start-ups urged to review pay rates

 The Fair Work Ombudsman is urging start-ups to review employees’ pay rates after a Queensland business was fined nearly $70,000 for underpaying a worker and failing to provide pay slips.



Aussie Little Auction Houses, which operated a store selling fruit and vegetables and auctioning secondhand goods, has been fined $49,500. The store’s former manager and part owner has been fined a further $18,150, bringing the total fine to $67,650.


Federal Magistrate Michael Burnett found a shop assistant was underpaid by more than $17,000 over 15 months between 2007 and 2009.


She was paid a flat rate of $12 an hour, instead of her entitlements of more than $18 an hour, and did not receive pay slips.


Magistrate Burnett ordered the manager’s fine be paid to the shop assistant, and said it was important employers recognise their lawful obligations to employees.


Fair Work Ombudsman executive director Michael Campbell says the penalty sends a message to employers who breach workers’ rights and refuse to promptly rectify the matter.


According to a Fair Work Infoline advisor, start-ups should be aware that pay rates changed on July 1 for any employee whose modern award has transitional arrangements.


“Pay rates, including loadings and penalties, under these modern awards will continue to change as the modern award rates of pay are phased in over a period of four years,” the advisor says.


“The full modern award rates will apply from the first period on or after July 1, 2014. This transition period gives employers and employees time to adjust to the changes.”


In order to calculate pay rates during this time, employers need to refer to the pre-modern award entitlement that used to cover the employee before January 1, 2010, as well as the relevant modern award entitlement.


The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website has a range of tools to help businesses determine the correct pay, including PayCheck, Payroll Check, Pay Rates Calculator and Award Finder.


According to the advisor, pay slips must be issued to each employee within one working day of their payday.


“The pay slip must be issued in electronic form or hard copy, and employers must ensure that a pay slip is issued to an employee even when they are on leave,” he says.


The employee’s pay slip must include:


  • The name of the employer, ie. the name of the business.
  • The Australian Business Number (ABN) of the employer.
  • The employee’s name.
  • The date of payment.
  • The pay period.
  • The gross and net amount of pay.
  • Any loadings, monetary allowances, bonuses, incentive-based payments, penalty rates or other entitlements paid.
  • If the employee is paid an hourly rate, the ordinary hourly pay rate, the number of hours worked at that rate and the amount of pay at that rate.
  • If the employee is paid an annual rate (salary), the rate as at the last day in the pay period.
  • Any deductions made from your employee’s pay including the amount and details of each deduction (including superannuation), including the name and number of the fund or account the deductions are paid into.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also has a range of record-keeping and pay slip templates to assist employers, available on its website.


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