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Employee pay rates and conditions

Pay your staff the right amount.

On this page

  • Find the right award
  • Find the right pay rate
  • Understand minimum wage, awards and National Employment Standards

Modern Awards

Modern awards cover most Australian employers and employees and contain the minimum terms and conditions for employees in particular industries and occupations.

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 is important that employers check the relevant Award for any applicable transitional conditions. These are generally found in Schedule A of the award.

Find the right award

Minimum wage

Generally, employees in the national system cannot be paid less than minimum wage and minimum wage will be outlined in your 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:

  • maximum weekly hours of work
  • the ability to request flexible working arrangements
  • annual leave
  • public holidays
  • parental leave
  • long service leave
  • personal leave (sick/carer's and compassionate leave)
  • community service leave
  • notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • 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 an employer 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). This may result in long and expensive audits and costly penalties. A breach in terms includes:

  • pay
  • conditions (e.g. annual leave or sick leave)
  • unlawful workplace discrimination
  • workplace rights.
Additionally the adverse publicity could seriously damage the reputation of a business.The cost of getting it right is minimal in comparison to the cost of defending any actions taken against a business. It is ultimately beneficial to the future and viability of your business.

Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements set out the employment conditions between an employee or group of employees and an employer.

Enterprise agreements include specific conditions for one workplace. When a workplace has an enterprise agreement, 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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