How to pursue a pay rise
ASU members often contact the Union with a query as to how to go about securing a pay rise. Obviously, the options about securing a pay rise will greatly depend on the individual’s situation. It may be there is an industrial instrument underpinning your employment terms that refers to a salary schedule or classification structure such as an Enterprise Agreement, or an internal policy going to a salary structure, but often as not there is no transparent salary schedule or policy such that you don’t necessarily know where to start or what to draw on to identify the increase that you want and what is really achievable.
A member, who worked as a receptionist at a small to medium sized business recently contacted the ASU with a query and we discussed with them the sources and arguments that could be used. Such was the quality of her correspondence to her employer we requested if we could include its contents. And as such would like to thank ASU member Claudia for allowing us to use her correspondence as an attachment to this article.
In this information we are using a number of sources that may assist in your presentation, submission, or simple request to your employer in seeking a pay rise.
The ASU does not suggest that this article or attachment is the complete answer to your queries on how to get a pay rise but may provide some assistance in your considerations.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is one source that would be good to use at the moment given the issue of inflation, which currently is much higher than we have known for some time. At the time of writing, the last quarter in June 2022 presented a CPI figure of 6.1% including a +4.2% increase for fuel which is used as an indicator for the general CPI increase. A link to the Australian Bureau of Statistics website is provided below. Simply put, the argument is you need an increase to offset inflation and your day-to-day living expenses.
Wage Increase Indices
Whilst the CPI may be a good source to use in your arguments, unfortunately, the wage increase indices are not so good. They still remain fairly low with the past year being around 2.6%. Nonetheless, there is the opportunity for this to increase in the coming months and while 2.6% doesn’t sound much it gives a good argument for a pay increase if you have been getting less or even nothing at all over the last couple of years.
Further, there are multiple indices being used for establishing what increases in wages are occurring but it is worth noting that the outcomes may vary depending on what is actually being measured. Examples can vary through measuring private sector organisations only or looking at outcomes through enterprise bargaining.
The links enclosed are fairly consistent in their outcomes but it always helps to do the research to better present your arguments.
Award Minimum Rates
This is an important part to investigate. Awards underpin your terms of employment and have pay rates included in them. The rates are minima rates meaning that you legally can’t go below the Award rate but definitely can be paid above them. Which Award, if any, applies to your employment can be discussed with the ASU as a member.
The Award rates are varied each year after a review by the Fair Work Commission and operate from the 1 July. This year’s increase was 4.6% under the Award system and that was in consideration of inflation. This 4.6% in itself could be used as an argument for a pay increase.
The annual review to determine increases to the Awards and minima salary in Australia by the Fair Work Commission could of itself be used even if you are not covered by an Award as these reviews consider a number of factors when considering what increase should be given.
The main Awards that cover ASU members are the following:
- Airline Operations—Ground Staff Award 2020
- Clerks—Private Sector Award 2020
- Contract Call Centres Award 2020
- Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020
- Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010.
Another issue to be considered if you are being paid in accordance with an Award is are you on the correct classification within that Award. This is definitely an area where you should contact the ASU because of the options that need to be reviewed regarding such a matter.
There are other Awards which members can be respondent to. These Awards may not be mentioned in your contract of employment but still can apply. The best thing to do is contact the ASU and speak with someone about this issue. The links below provide access to the Awards and their pay rates and can be valuable to ensure you are at least getting the minima rate for your job.
Further on from the Award, having wages identified as a minima rate there are sources that can give some indication of what the ‘going rate’ for your job is. They are often expressed as a range, say 65K to 75K for instance, and aren’t concise but can be of use to show your employer what is going on in the market place.
There are consulting firms that do surveys of clients and hold a wide database on which they draw their information from. Companies often pay them to do internal assessments but general information is sometimes published online, and below are some links that can help.
If you are in a situation where it is definitely known that some people are being paid above you for doing the same work and/or they are being paid disproportionately against the work you are doing for which you are getting less then this can be a matter for you to raise, but you should be cautious if going down this path.
Companies often like to keep their application of salaries confidential and will question you as to how you obtained the information which could have consequences for you and/or the person who gave you the information.
Once again, if you are intending to use this resource it maybe wise to contact the ASU to discuss the situation and seek appropriate advice.
Worth to company, Achievements & Personal circumstances
This is a major factor you need to address as most companies will take great consideration upon you being able to demonstrate your value to the company. There are many aspects you can draw on in regard to this, such as the following:
- Value added to customer revenue and delivery of services.
- Taking on extra duties especially if they are outside your regular duties as defined in your position description.
- Any new initiatives that you have been involved with or co-ordinated.
- Years of commitment to the company and work commitment to the company’s objectives and sought outcomes.
- Performance Reviews that have identified your contribution and positive evaluation of your work.
- Any commendations or acknowledgement you have received from outside parties as to the work you have performed.
If you can demonstrate any of these aspects to those who review your salary it is going to help as Employers tend to give weight to these aspects and you should not be shy or reticent in identifying them because of their actual practical worth to the business.
Alternative options to a pay rise
Apart from direct pay rises there are other benefits that you can seek out which affect your employment benefits for the better. These may include such things as the following:
- Salary packing where there is a reduction in your taxable income in particular salary sacrificing extra superannuation (there is a current limit of $27,500 which can be contributed to super under the concessional rate and this should be discussed with your accountant or relevant financial advisor).
- Obtaining a car park space form your employer or even having the use of a work vehicle for private purposes.
- The provision of computer or phone arrangements paid for by the employer including power bills (be careful with this as it opens the potential for you to be available beyond your contracted hours of work).
- Flexible work arrangements including working from home or reduction in hours while still earning the same salary.
- Bonuses for work outcomes. This is a contentious area as it may simply be at the employer’s discretion and not forming part of your contract of employment and the indices used may not prove beneficial to you in the long term by having to work extra hours to achieve the bonus.
When any alternative proposals are considered once again it would be wise to discuss your individual circumstances with the ASU as to the consequences of such an arrangement.
Join your union
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, union members have median weekly earnings from their main job that are 32% more than non-union members. Find out how union members earn more here.
Join your union, the Australian Services Union, for professional support and advice on all employment matters including salary and classification advice, as well as support in requesting a pay rise or negotiating a workplace Enterprise Agreement.
Ready to take the first step?
As stated earlier in this article we have included a submission made by one of our members and this is an important part of your deliberations as to how to approach the subject with your employer. Do you wait until your formal annual review to address the matter? Do you raise the subject when you are given extra or higher duties? Can you raise the matter if you have been offered a better pay offer elsewhere?
Your chances of succeeding in getting a pay rise may be as much dependent on when and how you approach the matter with your employer as it is on the factors you rely on to obtain the increase.
Finally, the ASU is here to help in any way we can and it is often a good idea to contact us, if only for some feedback on your considerations and thoughts as to how to get a pay rise. Speak with your ASU Organiser or one of our team at the ASU office on 03 9342 3300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry O’Loughlin, ASU Industrial Officer