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General employment information

Employer information

Industrial relations is an area where employers must know their responsibilities, and be aware of the consequences for not meeting their obligations.

Information is provided by key sources which are essential contact points (see the links below).

Some key points to be aware of:

  • The 10 National Employment Standards relating to hours of work, leave, public holidays and terminations apply to all Australian Apprentices;
  • Apprentices and trainees are entitled to the same employment conditions that apply to other employees;
  • Apprentices are also covered by legislation that relates to workplace safety, discrimination, harassment and bullying.
Pay Rates

Pay Rates

Apprentice and trainee pay rates are contained in enterprise agreements or modern awards.

Where these rates have different stages, wage increases may be based on the employee's achievement of competence not completion of a year in employment. So, it's important for employers to monitor competency based progression and the effect it can have on pay rates.

Where an existing employee is converted to be an apprentice or trainee, in some cases the relevant agreement or award may require that their pay rate does not change.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has full details.

Fair Work Ombudsman

Modern Awards

There is a modern award to cover every industry sector. Generally all employers in the private sector are subject to the conditions in the relevant modern award.

If you are in Western Australia and your business is not incorporated you may be covered by a state award.

Modern Awards differentiate between apprenticeships and traineeships. Apprenticeships are taken to mean traditional apprenticeships in trades, for example carpentry, plumbing and motor mechanics. Traineeships are taken to mean formal training contracts in a traineeship that has been approved by a state or territory government that lead to a formal qualification relevant to the industry.

Modern Awards are generally divided into sections covering various areas such as: pay rates including classifications, allowances and overtime; ordinary hours of work; and public holidays.  

They will include a section on apprenticeships and traineeships if they are relevant to the industry. This usually covers areas such as eligibility for allowances, overtime, release for training, payment of related training fees/costs and competency based pay progression.

Modern awards may also provide detail on the National Training Wage and employment of school-based apprentices and trainees.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for full details.

Period of probation

All apprenticeships and traineeships include a probation period for the employee. Information is held in awards or may be proclaimed by state governments.

For a full time apprenticeship the probation period is generally either one or three months, and this period may vary for part-time employees.  An Apprenticeship Network provider or Group Training Organisation can help find specific information.