What are Awards in Australian Workplaces and What do you Need to Know?

This article is sponsored by Fair Work Ombudsman

Working in Australia, employees may be covered by an award. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is a government agency that provides free advice, resources and assistance about your rights and responsibilities at work, including information about awards.

What are awards?

Awards are legal documents that outline minimum pay rates and conditions of employment.

There are more than 100 industry or occupation awards that cover most people who work in Australia. They will apply to you depending on the industry you work in, and/or the type of work you do. For example, if you work in a restaurant, you may be covered by the Restaurant Industry Award, or if you work as an architect, you may be covered by the Architects Award.

An award can tell you what to expect from your work including:

  • Pay
  • Hours of work
  • Penalty rates (for example, the pay rate for working weekends)
  • Breaks
  • Overtime.

It also tells you what your responsibilities are to your boss, for example how much notice you may have to give if you are leaving your job.

How do I find my award?

You can find your award by using the FWO’s find my award tool, which asks a few simple questions to help determine your award.

How do I find the pay rate in my award?

You can use the FWO’s pay and conditions tool (PACT) to work out your minimum pay rate and entitlements under your award. The FWO’s pay guides can also tell you the minimum pay rates, penalty rates and allowances. 

Annual Wage Review – increases in the hospitality, retail and tourism industries

The annual wage increase for group 3 awards, including the hospitality, retail, tourism and a range of other industries applied from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 February 2021. Check your pay rate if you are covered by these awards.

Did you know?

In addition to your entitlements under your award, your employer must give you a Fair Work Information Statement (which is available in different languages), before or as soon as possible after you start your new job.

Check out the FWO’s workplace problems section to find out what you can do to prevent workplace problems from happening, and see information about how to resolve a problem in your workplace.

The FWO also has up to date information and guidance about COVID-19 vaccinations & the workplace. The page will continue to be updated and provides information in response to common questions about workplace rights and responsibilities.

To find out more information about your workplace rights and responsibilities, visit www.fairwork.gov.au/internationalstudents or call 13 13 94 (or 131 450 for the translating and interpreting service).

Free FWO webinar

You are invited to register (and share this invitation) for the FWO’s free webinar targeting migrant workers including international students on Thursday 15 April 2021 from 2pm to 3pm AEST.