5 Things You Need To Know Before Accepting A Cash-In-Hand Job

5 Things You Need To Know Before Accepting A Cash-In-Hand Job

Taking up cash-in-hand work can be seriously tempting. This is particularly true when your job options are limited to unpaid “internships” that don't teach you anything and fast-food “traineeships” because nobody else seems to ever be hiring.

Whatever your reasons, here are five things you need to know before you decide to accept a cash-in-hand job:

1. There’s a massive difference between being paid in cash, and being paid “cash-in-hand.”

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That cash-in-hand feeling

“Cash-in-hand” or “off-the-books” are phrases used to describe a job where your employer pays you in cash to avoid paying you any of your entitlements, like superannuation or public holiday rates.

It’s also frequently used by employers to try and stay off the radar of authorities like Fair Work Australia and the Australian Tax Office.

Some employers pretend that they’re doing young people a favour by paying them cash-in-hand and keeping them off the books.

But in reality, they’re denying young workers their public holiday and weekend rates (also known as penalty rates), superannuation, and general workplace rights. The only people who win from off-the- books work are employers.

2. Your employer must provide you with a payslip every pay period, as well as a payment summary at the end of every financial year.

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No matter how you’re paid – cash or bank transfer – your employer must provide you with a detailed payslip within one day of the end of every pay period. No ifs, ands or buts people!

A pay slip must include (amongst other things) your total pay before and after tax, your hourly rate and any penalty rates that apply (and the number of hours worked at those rates) and any deductions (such as tax or superannuation) that came out of your pay.

Your employer must also provide you with a group certificate or payment summary at the end of every financial year, detailing your total income from that employer and the total amount of tax your employer withheld from you (so you can claim that delicious tax refund!)

3. You must declare any cash-in-hand income to Centrelink

Ok team, this is not a drill, not declaring your cash-in-hand income to Centrelink is a really bad idea.

Not only will Centrelink cut you off, but they’ll make you pay back everything they reckon you owe them. Worth the risk? Nah.

Incorrect reporting (fibbing) can have a long term impact too, so it’s really not worth lying just for an extra $70 or so buckaroos come Centrelink day.

4. If you’re not on the books, you’re unlikely to be covered by worker’s comp if you get injured at work

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Workcover (or workers’ comp) doesn’t cover workers who have not been documented by their employer as working for a business. So if you slice your finger open at work or fall over and need medical treatment – you could be liable for costs and your boss would have no responsibility to help you, let alone re-employ you when you’re fit to work again.

5. You don’t have to agree to accept cash-in-hand work

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If you even have the slightest suspicion that your employer is trying to use cash-in- hand work as an excuse to keep you off the books and avoid the tax man (or woman, heck it’s 2016) – ask to be paid by electronic bank transfer (EBT).

And make sure to get your request and their response in writing – this can be used as evidence if your employer is doing something dodgy.

Even though just getting a job – any job! – can feel like a massive achievement when youth unemployment is so high, getting what you’re legally owed is important too!

After more info?

The Young Workers Centre has you covered!

Check them out here