Working and getting paid is how people afford the things they need, like a home, food, and clothing. It’s also how they pay for the fun things in life, like holidays, presents and entertainment.

If you can, getting a casual or part-time job as a teenager is a great idea.

Reasons to get a job

The earlier you get a job, the quicker you will have money and start building experience that will help you get the jobs you want when you’re older.

Working as a teenager:

  • helps you build confidence and independence which will make becoming an adult easier
  • helps you learn new skills and gain experience that will help you with your studies and to get jobs in the future
  • helps you learn how to manage your study and free time around your work hours
  • helps you understand how much you need to work to make a certain amount of money
  • helps you start saving for the things you want.

Getting a job

Most jobs are advertised on either job listing websites or through social media.

The Australian Government website Job Jumpstart helps you work out where you might want to work and how to prepare for your job hunt:

The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) Jobs Hub links you to places you can apply for jobs:

You can also go straight to the website of a business you want to work for and see if they have any jobs available.

Starting a job

When you start a job, your boss will need to know some of your personal financial details. Usually, they are:

  • your superannuation (super) account. Don’t have a super account yet?

Read about superannuation

  • your bank account details. Don’t have a bank account yet?

Read about bank accounts and debit cards

  • your Tax File Number (TFN).

Getting a Tax File Number

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a number you apply for just once in your life and then keep forever. The number is used for your taxes, your superannuation, and is also part of your identity documentation.

If you don’t tell your boss your TFN they have to take out more tax from your pay each week. Make sure you only tell your boss your TFN after you start working for them.

You also need to fill in a TFN declaration. This helps your boss work out how much tax to take from your pay.

You need to apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to get a TFN and complete a TFN declaration:

Getting paid

Getting your first pay is pretty exciting but before you go spending all that money, make sure you’ve been paid correctly.

Things you’ll need to know:

  • How to read a payslip. A payslip shows how much you’ve been paid, how much tax has been taken out and any contributions to your super.

Read more about payslips

  • How much tax you’ll be paying. Depending on how much you earn, some of your money will go to paying income tax.

Read more about paying tax

There are laws to protect you from bosses who don’t do the right thing.

The Fair Work Ombudsman explains what your rights are, including the correct pay for your age and the job you’re doing:

Tips for teens/adults

Filling in forms and getting together the ID you need for your first job can be difficult. Ask an adult to help you. Chances are they’ve filled one in before and can help you make sure it’s correct.

Having a job is great but you may end up missing some of the spare time you used to have. Before accepting a job, make sure you can fit it in with your school hours and anything else you do, like sport or chores at home. Don’t forget you’ll need to get to and from work and that can use time and money.

Help your teen look for jobs. Help them work out whether a job is legitimate and paying the right amount of money. Check their job application for any mistakes. Remember that times have changed since you were a teenager, and most of the time you can’t simply hand in a resume or speak to a manager in a store. Most businesses will only accept applications online.

This may be the first time your teen has filled in official forms or used online government systems. They may need your help to understand what to fill in where, and to gather up their ID.

You might want to look at the ATO’s resources to help adults teach teens about working and getting paid, with practical, real-world examples.

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