Many students are being exploited with illegal working conditions. Here are some of the most common offences.

Calling employees contractors

Businesses sometimes pressure employees to get an ABN in the belief this will make the worker a contractor. They do this to try to avoid tax and superannuation obligations. This is called sham contracting and is against the law.

Read about the difference between employees and contractors.

Paying less than minimum wage

The current minimum wage in Australia for employees aged 21 and over is $23.23/hour (before tax). Your minimum wage might be higher, depending on the industry you’re working in. Find out what you should be paid with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator.

If you’re a casual worker, you’re also entitled to a casual loading on top of your hourly pay rate – commonly an extra 25% ($23.23 + $5.81 = $29.04/hour). Your Award or Enterprise Agreement (EA) may have a different amount.

Not paying superannuation

Your employer is legally required to deposit superannuation contributions of 11% of your ordinary wages into a superannuation fund on your behalf. This is not taken out of your wage – it is paid on top. From 1 July 2024 the superannuation rate will rise to 11.5%. Find out more about superannuation.

More information and help

Find out more about your rights at work.

If you think you’re being exploited at work, contact us for help.


This information is current as at April 2024 and is intended as a guide to the law as it applies to people who live in or are affected by the law as it applies in NSW. It does not constitute legal advice.