Whether you’ve recently left school or arrived from overseas, there are a few important things you might not know when you start your first job. We’ve put together some helpful tips to understand things like your pay slips and taxes so you can make sure you’re looked after.
How much are you paid?
It’s a good idea to check how much your pay is. You should make sure it’s in line with the hours you’re doing, the pay rate you agreed to and the type of work you do. If you’re paid by the hour, you should be paid for all the hours you do. If you do extra hours or work at nights or on weekends, the rate you receive could be higher. The Fair Work website can help you work out pay rates, penalties, and allowances.
Understand your pay slip
You’ll get a pay slip after each pay day. Depending on where you work, this could be given to you on paper, email or downloaded from your workplace Intranet. It can be a good idea to keep a record of your pay slips. Plus, this is the best way to check how much you earned, what’s paid out in things like income tax, super and student loan repayments, and the take-home pay you receive.
What’s income tax?
You might notice on your pay slip part of your wage is taxed. That is, you’ll have your before-tax pay (also known as gross pay) and your after-tax or take-home pay (also known as net pay). The difference in those amounts is the income tax your employer is required to pay to the government.
Tax is your contribution to public services such as emergency services, education, health care (Medicare in Australia) and infrastructure such as roads. How much you’re taxed depends on your annual income.
If you’re earning less than $350 a week you shouldn’t be charged any tax. If you have been charged tax but you earn less than $18,200 in that financial year, you can claim it back when you lodge your tax return (after 30 June each year).
Money Smart has a tax calculator where you can put in your income and find out if you’re paying the right amount of tax.
Lodge a tax return
Your employer is responsible for withholding income tax (taking it out of your wages and passing it on to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)), but you’re responsible for submitting your tax return at the end of the financial year.
By submitting a tax return, you’re letting the ATO know anything that might increase or decrease the amount of tax you should have paid throughout the financial year. This could mean you might owe money, receive a refund or neither as you’ve paid the correct amount.
If you spend your own money on work-related expenses, such as uniforms or safety equipment, there’s a good chance you can claim some of this money back as a ‘tax deduction’ when you do your tax return.
Make sure you keep a record of these expenses, such as receipts.
You can do your tax yourself or you can have an accountant do it for you (usually for a fee). If you want to do it yourself, you can use the myDeductions tool in the ATO app to save records throughout the year. This way you’re not worrying about finding all those receipts at the end of the financial year!
Doing it yourself? You have until 31 October to lodge your tax return. If you use an accountant, you might have longer.
What is superannuation?
You may also notice on your pay slip an amount being paid to superannuation. When you start your first job, you’ll usually be asked to choose where your super should be paid.
Superannuation, commonly shortened to super, is an Australian Government initiative that allows you to save for retirement throughout your working life. In addition to your wages, your employer is required to pay an extra 9.5% (or 10% come 1 July 2021) of your salary into super. It’s called the ‘Superannuation Guarantee’ (SG).
Your employer pays super directly to a super fund like us. We then invest that money into different investment options for you with the goal of helping it grow to provide you an income in retirement.
In addition, super funds generally offer a few types of insurance cover, which is taken out of your super balance, not your wallet. It can provide you and your family with money if you die or are injured and can’t work anymore. You can find out more about how insurance works in super here.
To learn more about super visit the how super works page.
Do you change super funds when you change jobs?
When you change jobs, your new employer will often start a new super account for you with a different super fund, even if you already have one. You’ll be charged extra fees for each new account!
To avoid paying extra fees you can ask your new employer to pay your super into the account you already have with us. Simply give your employer your LUCRF Super details. It’s easy to keep these handy, just download your free digital member card to your phone now.
Watch your super grow
It’s a good idea to check your super regularly to make sure your employer has paid your super into your account. You’ll also see your money growing as contributions and investment returns add up to more and more each year you work. Login or register to access your account online or download the mobile app.
What you might want to look at if you’re in your first job
Is your pay right?Use the FairWork calculator to work out pay rates, penalties, and allowances.
Check your pay slipYou can look at your pay slip and make sure your pay rate, wages and super contributions are correct.
Confirm your taxMoney Smart has a tax calculator where you can put in your income and find out if you’re paying the right amount of tax.
Calculate your income tax
Submit a tax returnYou’re responsible for doing your own tax return. Find out what expenses you can claim as a tax deduction by visiting the ATO website.
What is super?Check you’re being paid the correct amount of super on your pay slip. And if you’re changing jobs? Take your super with you.
Download member card
Watch your super growCheck your employer is making payments into your super account and watch your money as it grows using Members Online (website) or our mobile app.
Get online access
Chat with a super specialist
Our national team provide members with helpful support and education in the workplace or online. You can book a one-on-one online appointment with them now.Make an appointment