Students and Businesses Need Each Other

29 January 2016


Canberra Business Chamber supports calls for students to be paid a fair day’s wage for a
fair day’s work and believes the majority of ACT business owners are in agreement with
this principle.

“All workers employed in Australia, be they casual, full-time or part-time must be paid
according to pay scales in modern awards,” Canberra Business Chamber CEO Robyn
Hendry said.

“Whether an employee is also a student or not, does not limit their entitlements. As its
name implies, at a minimum all workers are entitled to the appropriate minimum wage.
The Federal Minimum Wage is currently $17.29 per hour for employees over the age of
21. No-one should be paid less than this unless specifically authorised under a modern
award, for example junior or apprentice pay rates. It does not, and should not, matter if
you are a student, newly arrived in Australia or here on a visa.

“ACT businesses understand their responsibilities to their employees and strive to meet
them. Unfortunately, there have occasionally been isolated incidents where employees
have been let down.

“These are the exception, not the rule, particularly because many ACT businesses, such
as those in hospitality, want to ensure they are seen by students as attractive
employers. Students are a key and valuable part of the ACT’s employment pool. They
play a vital role in many of our businesses being staffed at a level that enables them to

provide high quality service.”

Australia has a strong regulatory oversight of businesses to ensure they meet their
obligations. The Fair Work Ombudsman undertakes audits of pay rates and conditions
through both planned campaigns and in response to complaints.

“Students who want advice about their entitlements or are concerned about their
employment arrangements can contact the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman for
help,” Ms Hendry said.

The Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website includes information specifically
targeted to young workers and students and visa holders and migrants. It also has a fact
sheet for international students.

“We would also be happy to get behind any additional initiatives to provide people
studying in Canberra, particularly international students, with more information about
working in Australia.”

The Federal Government is responsible for the majority of workplace legislation,
including wage setting and enforcement, with the ACT in charge of worker’s
compensation, work health and safety, and long service leave.

Media Contact: Robyn Hendry, CEO Canberra Business Chamber 0418 462 151