Award Rates Increase


From 1 July 2021, minimum award rates (as well as the national minimum wage) will increase by 2.5%.  If you are paying staff the minimum rates based on the Health Professionals and Support Services Award, it is very important that you increase them to avoid non-compliance.

By way of example, if you employ a new Receptionist who is over 21 with no experience or relevant qualifications, the minimum award rate is currently $21.09 or $26.36 if casual.  From 1 July this will become $21.62 or $27 casually.  Likewise for a qualified Dental Assistant who is classified as level 4 under the Award, the new minimum rates will be $23.67 or $29.59 casually.

It is also important to remember employees are entitled to additional allowances and benefits under the Award such as annual leave loading, and laundry/uniform allowances if applicable.  These must be added on top of the minimum award rates to avoid underpayment.  As deliberate underpayment is becoming a criminal offence in some states, and there are new bodies established to investigate them, it is important to proactively turn your mind to assessing and determining the correct entitlements, including at regular intervals so you don’t miss advancing employees to the next level, to minimise risk and also to maintain a positive and rewarding culture for your team.

If you do not understand, or are unsure on how to correctly classify your team or what other entitlements apply, feel free to ask us.  In the event of an underpayment claim, evidencing you took reasonable steps to inform yourself of the correct entitlements will be useful.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not need to increase the rates.  However please consider if your written contracts specify whether or not above award amounts are paid in exchange for leave loading and allowances.  If they do not, you may still be required to pay those on top of above award rates.  If you are using ClinLegal contracts, you can rest assured this clause is included as standard to protect you from inadvertent underpayment.  You can access the contracts and position descriptions on the ClinLegal App here.

Lastly, a reminder that Hygienists will come under the Award from 1 July 2021 meaning the above will apply to them.  If you have not reviewed your written contracts for Hygienists (or do not have them) then we recommend you do so now.  As you will recall from our prior alerts, there are also new laws defining casual employees which are different based on whether you have less than 15 employees or not.  One of the new rules is that in order to determine the employment as casual, it needs to be expressed correctly in a written contract.  If you don’t have written contracts, it will be hard to meet this requirement.  If you would like our assistance please get in touch [email protected]

See our update on  Superannuation: The Changes
See our update on Contractors being regarded as Employees Case Study: Invoicing no proof worker was a contractor