Without question, the Fair Work Act and other legislation impacting the employment relationship can be difficult to navigate, particularly for smaller businesses and organisations with little internal professional HR support. And with fines for individual breaches of the Fair Work Act potentially exceeding $60,000, it’s little wonder that we end up supporting many clients looking to navigate these difficult waters and manage the associated risks.

We’ve been doing a fair bit of this work lately, and notice a few common issues arising. Last month we answered the questions “How do I know which award applies?” and “How do I determine the correct classification?” In this article, we tackle the question of, once you know which Award applies, how do you find the correct rates of pay?

Determining the Correct Rate of Pay

Even after you’ve determined which Award applies, and which classification applies to each employee, determining the correct rate of pay can also present a challenge. While the Award itself will state the minimum rates of pay for each classification, they are often only expressed within the Award as a weekly rate of pay. That’s fine for adult full-timers working standard hours, but it can make determining the correct rate of pay for part-time and casual staff, junior staff, and payment for overtime, morning/night shifts and weekends etc.. a bit tricky.

Fortunately, the Fair Work website includes a few resources that can assist – you just need to know where to find them!

Fair Work Pay Calculator

The Fair Work Pay Calculator is a useful resource for checking the minimum rates of pay that apply to individual staff members. You simply enter details such as the date for which you want to check pay rates, the applicable Award, classification, nature of employment, whether the employee is an adult or junior etc…, and the calculator presents the necessary information, including the option to access additional information such as applicable penalty payments.

You can email the Pay Calculator information to yourself/others and/ or save your results for future reference.

Pay Guides

If you are looking for a more complete reference, and/or are looking to check applicable rates for multiple employees, a better option than the Pay Calculator would be to access the Pay Guide for the relevant Award.

The best way to access the Pay Guide for a specific Award is by selecting the Award on the Fair Work website (http://www.fairwork.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards/list-of-awards) , then finding the Pay Guide via the “Related Information” section. We’ve produced a quick video to demonstrate how to find the Pay Guide for the Clerks Private Sector Award 2010, as an example (click here to access).

As usual, give us a call if you need assistance.

Note that this article presents general information only and should not be considered formal or legal advice. The information within is applicable to most but not all Australian businesses/organisations. You should seek additional information/support, to ensure your specific circumstances are accounted for.