Got questions about your pay, hours or leave?
Helpdesk is a free and confidential information service. Speak with trained professionals for help with any workplace questions or problems.
Monday to Thursday: 8:00AM - 8:00PM AET
Friday: 8:00AM - 5:30PM AET
Please note: Helpdesk is for any of your queries or concerns about workplace issues. If you feel you need support or counselling in other areas of life – or just someone to talk to without judgement – you can call the AMWU Care Line on 1800 206 316. Care Line runs 24/7 and is free for you and your immediate family members. It is run by trained, professional counsellors and completely confidential.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to tell my employer that I’m a union member?
- Who can join the union?
- What happens if I’m injured at work?
- There’s a safety risk at my workplace – what should I do?
- I’m being bullied or harassed at work – what should I do?
- I think I’ve been unfairly dismissed – what can I do?
- I’m an apprentice – what are my rights?
- How much should I be getting paid? What are the standard rates?
- How much leave am I entitled to?
- I’m going to have a baby. How much leave am I able to take?
Do I have to tell my employer that I’m a union member?
No, your boss never needs to know, unless you have trouble at work and need the union to come and help you. Being harassed at work because of your union membership is against the law. The union can support you if this happens, so you're free to get on with the job.
Union membership is your right - your boss cannot tell you that you cannot join, or punish you if you do.
Who can join the union?
The AMWU covers a range of industries, including manufacturing, metal work, food and confectionery, the vehicle industry, mechanics, printing trades, graphic designers, laboratory workers, the defence industry and some public sector workers. We also cover a range of technical workers and supervisors, including project managers and administrative workers.
Apprentices, trainees and casuals in these industries can join too!
Joining is easy and affordable - you can pay in small instalments by direct debit, and the fees are adjusted according to your rate of pay.
What happens if I’m injured at work?
If you’re injured at work, you may be eligible to receive compensation through the workers compensation scheme. Payments are connected to your ordinary rate of pay and usually continue until you’ve recovered. Your employer is also required to provide you with a return-to-work program and light duties if necessary.
The AMWU has a dedicated health and safety team that can help members through the process of lodging a Workers Compensation claim or with any disputes between members and their employer.
Entitlements differ from state to state. For help with a workplace injury claim, contact the Helpdesk on 1300 732 698.
There’s a safety risk at my workplace – what should I do?
Everyone has the right to a safe workplace. If the risk is serious, immediate and you are in danger, stop work and notify your employer of the risk. Your employer is legally required to provide you with a safe place of work and to consult with you about safety issues.
If you’re an AMWU member, you can have a union representative come to your worksite to inspect safety risks and negotiate on your behalf with your boss.
I’m being bullied or harassed at work – what should I do?
Workplace bullying is against the law, and your employer has an obligation to protect you from it. Bullying can come in many forms including physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological harassment and exclusion, but you can get help. It’s important to keep a record of any incidents of bullying that occur – written diary is more reliable than memory. We can work with you to implement a model bullying and harassment prevention policy in your workplace.
If you’re being bullied and you need help, call the Helpdesk on 1300 732 698. AMWU Care Line – a free and confidential support service – is also available 24/7, for both members and their immediate family.
I think I’ve been unfairly dismissed – what can I do?
Whether a dismissal is unfair or not will depend on a lot of different things, including what kind of employee you are, the reason given by your boss, the amount of notice you were given, your length of service and even the number of people employed at your workplace.
If this happens to you, the union can support you to get your job back or get compensation. We can also help protect your entitlements.
I’m an apprentice – what are my rights?
Apprentices have the same rights as any other employee: the right to a safe workplace, to be paid correctly, and protection from bullying and harassment. You are also entitled to proper training and paid time off to attend your courses, not to just be used as cheap labour.
We can also assist you in getting your government allowances and grants.
You can join the union for just $1/week for first year apprentices!
How much should I be getting paid? What are the standard rates?
Your rate of pay depends on the job you’re doing and what's set out in your award or agreement. It can also depend on your state/region, depending on your occupation.
You have the right to know what you’re meant to be getting paid, and there are minimum rates of pay set in place by law. You may also be entitled to extra allowances for shift work, travel, overtime or particular types of work.
Did you know that union members make 32% more than non-members? If you think you’re not being paid enough, contact the Helpdesk.
How much leave am I entitled to?
There are many different kinds of leave that you’re entitled to, including annual leave, carer’s leave, sick leave, parental leave, long service leave and personal leave. Your leave entitlements will depend on your occupation, the agreement in your workplace or the relevant award.
For exact information on your leave entitlements, or help with any problems, contact the Helpdesk.
I’m going to have a baby. How much leave am I able to take?
Many workplaces offer new parents a parental leave scheme. Even if your workplace doesn’t, you may be entitled to the government’s scheme. Eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child get 18 weeks' leave paid at the national minimum wage.
These payments are made to the employer first, who then pays them to the employee. These payments can be paid before, after or at the same time as other entitlements such as annual leave and long service leave.
Paid parental leave from the Australian Government doesn't affect or replace paid parental leave from an employer – an employee can be paid both.
These payments do not affect or replace unpaid parental leave.
Call the AMWU’s Helpdesk so we can assist you in making sure you get the leave you are entitled to: 1300 732 698.