Knowledge Base

Are You Being Paid Fairly? Find Out With This Checklist

by | May 20, 2021

In Australia, we have a relatively comprehensive and robust fair wage policy compared to other countries. Australia’s Fair Work Commission and various other regulatory bodies enforce these laws and attempt to protect our workforce from exploitation.

Know Your Rights

Unfortunately, it is never that simple when money is involved. Companies operate on slim margins and sometimes doing the wrong thing can make a nonviable company very profitable. This motivates some people and companies to operate in an illegal environment. Some industries are more susceptible to this than others – unfortunately, the food & beverage industry and the cleaning services industry fall into that category.

If you are a cleaner, you should be paid according to the cleaning services award 2020. It is the law, and you should not be paid less.

Find the minimum Adult Cleaner Pay rates below (lvl 1):

Type of EmploymentMinimum Weekly RateMinimum Hourly RateMin Saturday Hourly RateMin Sunday Hourly RateMin Public Holiday Rate
Full-Time Employment (lvl 1)$804.90$21.18$31.77$42.36$52.95
Part-Time Employment (lvl 1)n/a$24.36$34.95$45.54$56.13
Casual Employment
(lvl 1)

The table above is the minimum that a cleaner should earn under the cleaning services 2020 award. This table only includes data for adults who don’t complete any overtime and shows the pay rate of cleaners who are classified as level 1. Level 2 and 3 cleaners have slightly higher rate cards respectively. But for simplicity’s sake, we have just included the absolute minimum wage requirements.

Checklist: How To Know If Your Employer Is Unfairly Paying You

Ask yourself the following questions or if you are interested in surveying the cleaners contracted within your facility please download the questionnaire below:

  • Are you receiving less than the minimum award pay? (see table above)
  • Are you receiving cash?
  • Are you operating under an ABN requested by your employer?
  • Does your employer request you to pay back a portion of your pay?
  • Do you file a correct tax return at the end of every financial year?
  • Do you not get paid for meal breaks?
  • Are you paid in accordance with the correct shift penalty rates?
  • Are you paid in accordance with the correct shift allowances?
  • Are you not getting paid the appropriate entitlements for short shifts?
  • Does your employer employ people who don’t have the right to work in Aus?
  • Are you on a student visa and work more than 20 hours a week?
  • Does your employer pay 1 person and expect the pay to be split between additional people?
  • Are you paid for fewer hours than your worked shift?
  • Do you get paid in a timely manner? (The usual excuse of the customer hasn’t paid yet is not valid)
  • Does your employer subtract wages for work quality?

If you answered Yes to any of these then you’re being paid illegally! It is within your rights and the law that you are paid fairly – in compliance with the Fair Work Cleaning Services Award.

Let’s have a look at what steps can be taken to correct these unjust actions, and importantly if you are employed under an ABN, as a sham contractor, you are liable for tax, superannuation and work cover responsibilities which, if not done correctly puts you in a position of breaking the law.

It is critical that if you feel you are being taken advantage of that you take the necessary steps to be on the right side of the law – Here is how you can do that:

What To Do If You Are Being Taken Advantage Of

Step 1 – Work out exactly how much you are owed

Step 2 – Raise the issue with your employer

  • Ask for the problem to be resolved.
  • If it isn’t resolved, then ensure you record what was said in the exchange and the date associated and look to elevate the issue.

Step 3 – Write a Letter of Demand

  • You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman template to help with this.
  • Include a call to action, and request payment in a reasonable timeframe (14 days is sufficient).

Step 4 – Make a formal complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman

  • If your employer refuses to pay complete this form here to have a workplace inspector investigate the claim and help enforce the corrective action.

Step 5 – Make a small claim

  • Leverage the Federal Circuit Court of Australia to follow the “small claim procedure”.
  • This is a quick & relatively easy way to recover money owed.


It is unfortunate that the extremely competitive landscape of business can spur such greedy actions. However, it is almost never sustainable over the long term. If you don’t understand your pay have someone in the company, explain it to you. Have the management team in the site you work to check it out – it is also their best interest that no illegal activity is present in their facility. Use the checklist above or if you are looking to test the legitimacy of your facilities cleaning partner download the PDF Questionnaire to ask the cleaners in your facility about their remuneration structure.

We hope that you haven’t been wronged and if you have this empowers you to get corrective action underway. If you found any value in this article, please like and share with someone else you think it can benefit.

Thanks for reading – The SGA Team

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