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Employee pay rates and conditions

Find out what award applies to your staff

On this page

  • Modern awards explained
  • What are transitional arrangements?
  • Find the right award and pay rate
  • What are the 10 minimum conditions of employment?
  • What happens if a business gets the award or pay rate wrong?

Modern awards

  • Modern awards came into effect on 1 January 2010, and cover most Australian employers and employees.
  • They contain the minimum terms and conditions for employees – in particular industries and occupations.

Transitional arrangements

While modern awards contain minimum wages, some modern awards have transitional arrangements in place, whereby the wage-related components that came into effect 1 July 2010 may be phased in over five years.

The transitional provisions apply to:

  • base rates of pay – including piecework rates
  • casual and part-time loadings
  • Saturday, Sunday and public holiday penalty rates
  • evening and other penalty rates
  • shift allowances or penalties.

It's important that employers check the relevant award for any applicable transitional conditions, which are typically found in Part 1, section 2 of the award.

Find the right award

Minimum wage

In most cases, employees in the national system can't be paid less than the minimum wage outlined in the award or agreement.

Find the right pay rate

National Employment Standards

The 10 minimum conditions of employment, which became applicable to all employees covered by the federal system from 1 January 2010, cover:

  1. The maximum weekly hours of work.
  2. The ability to request flexible working arrangements.
  3. Annual leave.
  4. Public holidays.
  5. Parental leave.
  6. Long service leave.
  7. Personal leave – sick/carer's and compassionate leave.
  8. Community service leave.
  9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay.
  10. The Fair Work Information Statement.

Check what's included in the National Employment Standards (NES), which outlines the minimum terms and conditions of Victorian private sector employees. 

The terms contained in the NES will override any less favourable conditions in any award, enterprise agreement, individual workplace agreement or common law contract.

What if my business gets it wrong?

Any breach in the terms contained in a modern award or a national minimum wage order may be investigated and enforced by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), which could result in long, expensive audits, and costly penalties. 

A breach in terms includes:

  • pay
  • conditions – such as annual leave or sick leave
  • unlawful workplace discrimination
  • workplace rights.

Adverse publicity could seriously damage the reputation of your business. The cost of getting it right is minimal in comparison to the cost of defending any actions taken against your business. 

So ultimately, ensuring that you don't breach the terms contained in a modern award or national wage order will be hugely beneficial to the future and viability of your business.

Enterprise agreements

With enterprise agreements:

  • they set out the employment conditions between an employee or group of employees, and an employer.
  • they include specific conditions for one workplace. 
  • the modern award doesn't apply – however, the pay rate in the enterprise agreement can't be less than the pay rate in the modern award.

Get information to help you make an enterprise agreement.

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