I just accepted a job offer as a room attendant from a hotel near my place.

During the interview, I forgot to ask about the hourly pay rate. Even though I am supposed to start working after 12 December 2015, I went in to get some simple training last Sunday and ended up working for 5.50 hours.

I was paid for my time, and was disappointed to see that my hourly pay is AUS $14.90.

I have no experience and all, but I expected more than that, especially as I worked on a Sunday.

I want to ask my employer why my rate is so low, but I'm not sure how.

Is $14.90 an acceptable rate because I'm inexperienced? I know that my co-worker makes $21.00 per hour, and on some websites they say I should be getting at least $18.00 or $19.00 per hour.

  • perhaps you're actually getting $7.45 an hour and that is double time for it being a Sunday – Kilisi Dec 1 '15 at 1:02
  • @Kilisi if that is the case then the employer is most likely violating wage laws as $7.45 is well below minimum wage in Australia of $17.29 per hour. But then again this is casual work so its pretty dodgy how OP will get paid.. – FiringSquadWitness Dec 1 '15 at 1:26
  • 1
    perhaps it's actually triple time because it's Sunday and the OP is actually getting $4.96 an hour? – Kilisi Dec 1 '15 at 1:30
  • Possible duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid? – gnat Dec 1 '15 at 9:06

One of two things has happened. Either you are being paid under the minimum wage which is illegal.

Or more likely you are being paid the minimum wage and the 14.90 is what it comes to after tax etc,. has been taken out. In which case minimum wage for the job you're doing + the fact that you have no experience seems perfectly reasonable to me.


There's a few factors you have to take into account:

  • Your co-worker may have been there a lot longer than you, and may have a higher hourly wage for that reason.
  • Maybe, as an unqualified laborer, you fall in a lower pay-grade than your co-worker
  • Maybe, because you're still in training you were paid at a lower rate than what your normal hourly wage will be when you start the actual job.

Clearly, a lot of different scenarios could apply. The only surefire way of dispelling doubt is to ask your employer.

Call, or better yet, e-mail your boss, and casually ask what your hourly wage is:

Hello, I wanted to once again thank you for this employment opportunity. I'm very happy to starting in this new position come December 12. I simply wish to verify what the hourly wage I will be paid is, and whether there is any opportunity for over-time, or increased rates during weekends, or holidays. Regards, user44532

Showing a little bit of curiosity is perfectly normal, and innocent, as long as you're polite about it. The tricky part comes if you get a reply you don't like, such as "Hi, user 44532, your hourly rate is $14, and you can never get overtime!"

At that point you have to be careful how you handle the situation, as I'm assuming you don't want to either get fired, or walk away from the position. Furthermore, you already accepted the position, and I'm sorry to say this, but as an unskilled laborer you have very little bargaining power.

The best thing to do is to start the job, be absolutely brilliant at it for the first 4 months or so, and then speak again to your boss, and ask for a small raise:

Boss, I know I'm still new here, but I've been working very hard, and I believe I've shown great improvement. Would you be willing to consider a small raise? I really need the money.

Unfortunately, you shouldn't expect any miracles. The service industry is not well known for its generosity to the little guy, nor for its big salaries.

Your best bet would be to pick up some skills on the side, and buck for a promotion within the company.

Good luck!


Short answer: You are quite possibly being underpaid, but this is dependent on a few factors!

I'm Australian too, and I went looking at the Fair Work Australia website, and found this:

The national minimum wage is currently $17.29 per hour or $656.90 per 38 hour week (before tax).

Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25 per cent casual loading.

So, if you are casual then you could be entitled to more than that, given the high likelihood that you are below the tax-free threshold.


As you have already accepted the offer, an increase in pay.

However, you can have a soft talk with your employer. It can go something like this:

Boss, Thank you for the wonderful job. It is a pleasure working under your supervision. I would like to know whether it would be possible for me to get a salary hike for around $____, as it is becoming difficult for me to carve out a living.

However, it is just a request. I would totally respect your decision either way.



This would neatly put forward your request without appearing to be threatening, and also give your boss the time and space to think.

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