Can an employer reduce your salary Australia?

Contracts and agreements

In Australia, an employer generally cannot unilaterally reduce an employee's salary without their consent if there is an existing employment contract in place that specifies the terms of employment, including the salary or wages. This is because an employment contract forms a legal agreement between the employer and the employee, and any changes to the terms of the contract usually require mutual agreement.

However, there are certain situations where an employer might have the right to reduce an employee's salary:


If both the employer and the employee agree to the salary reduction, then it can be implemented. This agreement should ideally be documented in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.

Enterprise agreement or collective agreement

In some cases, an enterprise agreement or a collective agreement negotiated between the employer and a union or employee representatives may allow for variations in salary under certain conditions.

Award conditions

Some employees are covered by awards or industrial agreements that may allow for changes to pay rates under specific circumstances, subject to compliance with relevant employment laws and regulations.


If an employee's position becomes redundant, the employer may need to negotiate a new salary if the employee is offered another role within the organisation.

Temporary salary reductions

In certain circumstances, such as during economic downturns or financial crises, employers may propose temporary salary reductions as part of measures to avoid layoffs or other drastic cost-cutting measures. However, such reductions typically require consultation and agreement with affected employees.

It's essential for both employers and employees to be aware of their rights and obligations under Australian employment law. If an employer attempts to reduce an employee's salary without their consent or without a valid reason, the employee may have legal recourse, such as lodging a complaint with the Fair Work Commission or seeking legal advice. Employees should also review their employment contracts, enterprise agreements, and relevant employment laws to understand their rights regarding salary reductions.

Can an employer reduce your salary Australia?

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Now that you know whether an employer can reduce your salary in Australia, you should take a moment to check our current vacancies page.

At 11 Recruitment, we have a range of white-collar temp and perm jobs available. We're always on the lookout for top talent to place with our clients, so we encourage you to apply for any positions that are of interest.

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