First job: There’s plenty to consider
Superannuation and legal rights big issues for first-time workers
ONCE the excitement of landing a first job has settled, it is time for young people to think about the practicalities of being employed. Jobseekers entering the workforce in 2018 are urged to put serious thought into their finances and understand their rights.
What counts as work?
The Fair Work Ombudsman stipulates workers are paid for all hours of work, including attending team and individual meetings at the employer’s request, the time spent opening and closing the business, attending training sessions, travelling during work hours for tasks which are associated with employment, and going to compulsory work functions.
Visit fairwork.gov.au or phone 13 13 94 for more information about entitlements.
Why worry about superannuation?
An employer must pay
9.5 per cent of the value of a worker’s ordinary time earnings (this does not include overtime) into their superannuation fund, if they are earning more than $450 in a calendar month.
If the worker is younger than 18, they must also be working more than 30 hours a week.
As workers cannot access their super until they are aged at least 60, young workers often do not give it a second thought, but smart decisions in their early work years can make a big difference to their final balance.
The average 18-year-old with a QSuper fund has $1200 in superannuation.
QSuper head of customers and marketing Tim Cochrane says it is a lot of money for a young person and it adds up markedly over their working life through compound interest.
He says young people are working more hours and earning more money than they have historically.
“It’s incredibly important that anybody earning super understands how it works, what it entitles them to and the different elements of superannuation – things like understanding that having multiple accounts and paying multiple fees can reduce value,” he says.
“They need to understand what it means for insurance, the investment options they are in and the fees they are paying.”
Young workers who have had multiple jobs may have
several superannuation accounts, if employers open a new one for them.
When this is the case, consolidate the balance into a single fund to avoid paying more than one set of fees.