12 March Employee deductions: What's allowed, what's not March 12, 2018 By Reef Admin Fair Work Act 0 To deduct or not to deduct? When it comes to deductions from an employee's pay, what's allowed and what's not? What amounts can an employer take out before it hits an employee's hand? In general, an employer is prohibited from making any deduction from an employee’s wages without the employee’s specific authority. Even with authority, a deduction can only be made for the purpose of paying a third party for the benefit of the employee. The Fair Work Act 2009 provides that an employer may deduct an amount payable to an employee if: the deduction is authorised in writing by the employee and it is principally for the employee’s benefit; the deduction is authorised under a modern award or enterprise agreement; or the deduction is authorised by a federal, state or territory law, or by an order of the court. If the deduction is authorised in writing by the employee and is principally for the employee’s benefit, then it doesn’t have to be authorised by an award or agreement. The authorisation must also specify the amount of the deduction and may be withdrawn in writing at any time. Unreasonable deductions Common examples of deductions from an employee’s wages by an employer that may breach the Fair Work Act include: The cost of training courses provided to an employee where they are directed to attend by the employer The cost of tools and equipment supplied to the employee for work-related use The cost of damage by an employee to the employer’s property (e.g. motor vehicles) The cost of breakages or accidents by employees The cost of employees’ uniforms Fines imposed by an employer for breach of company policies or practices (e.g. for lateness) Compensation as assessed by the employer for an employee misdemeanour. While there may be an opportunity for an employer to recover certain sums of money through civil action in a local court (e.g. for damage to company property), legal advice should be sought before taking such action as the costs associated with recovery may well outweigh the return. Permitted deductions There are some obvious deductions that are permitted, including: Income tax deductions Money deducted pursuant to a garnishee order from a court Deductions authorised by employees, such as insurance premiums, union dues and loan payments Salary sacrifice payments. It’s worth noting that it’s acceptable for an employer to deduct payments for the time not worked when an employee does not present for work at the designated starting time. This is in contrast to imposing a fine for lateness. Give REEF a call If you’re contemplating deducting an amount of money from an employee’s pay (other than those items set out above), please speak with a REEF Workplace Relations Advisor before doing so. Call 1300 616 170. Related Real Estate Industry Award: Out with the old, in with the new After a long battle, the Fair Work Commission has now finalised the four-year award review and the new Real Estate Industry Award will commence on 2 April 2018. Here's what you need to know before the changes kick in. How should I manage an underperforming employee? Most businesses will experience a difficult, uncooperative or underperforming employee at some stage. You have to deal with them, but how? How can I restrain an ex-employee's conduct? It’s a common misconception that a post-employment restraint in an employee’s contract of employment isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. But the absence of a restraint leaves you with very limited opportunity to restrain an ex-employee's objectionable conduct. Buying an agency? You need to understand employee entitlements The sale of a real estate agency is something most business owners will face at some point. Here are some things to be aware of when it comes to employee entitlements. Counting down the days: Employee absence during a probation period How does an employee's absence during their probation period affect their ability to bring an unfair dismissal claim? Does it extend their probation period or Minimum Period of Employment? What's in a name? Unfair dismissal and the high-income threshold A recent Fair Work Commission case found that despite an employee earning a salary over the high-income threshold, an unfair dismissal claim could still be made. Comments are closed.