Work Rights

The national minimum wage in Australia is currently $19.49 per hour (before tax)[as at May 2020]. If you are a casual employee, you also get at least a 25% casual loading. The Fair Work Ombudsman has an app to record your hours, to check you are correctly paid. Check your agreement with your employer to see you other conditions, and if you aren’t receiving fair wages, you have the right to make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

It is also important to know that joining a union can ensure you receive fair wages and in fact higher wages. Everyone has a legal right to join a union, including international students. Unions make sure that if your employer creates changes, these can be negotiated rather than forced on you. Unions can also give you advice and representation if you have issues with your employer, and their fees are tax deductible.

If you are working as a bicycle courier, or delivering food on a bicycle, you will need to know the road rules and some basic safety principles.

Being Your Own Employer

Did you know that if you work for services like Deliveroo, Uber, or other similar delivery services, you are considered a contractor for tax purposes? This means you are considered to be your own employer (not an employee) and you may need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN), available for free through the Australian Tax Office. Any payments you receive are considered income and must be declared on your tax return. Please note that tax law works differently for ridesharing (e.g., Uber) than it does for people delivering food (e.g., Deliveroo). If you are an Uber driver, you may need to also register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). If you only deliver food and earn less than $75,000 per year, you do not have to register for GST (but you must have an ABN). Check these conditions with your tax consultant.

Income Tax refunds

If you have worked in Australia you will probably need to lodge an income tax return. Students who have “simple tax returns” (earned less than $50,000 and were not self-employed), can use the free ATO’s TaxHelp service hosted at the SRC. Others can consult an income tax consultant for help, however, their fees vary greatly, so check at the time of booking.

Important Notice and Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal advice. Seek qualified professional advice before making decisions about educational, financial, migration or legal matters. This information can change from time to time. Check for the most up to date information.

Information current as at May 2020