Employers are responsible for meeting the industrial relations requirements for all staff, and should be aware that there may be a difference for Australian Apprentices compared with other employees.
When considering whether to take on an Australian Apprentice, and who to take on, the employer should consider the overall investment and return they will get across the duration of the apprenticeship or traineeship.
Australian Apprenticeship pay rates and financial incentives acknowledge the training status and reduced productivity of a staff member who is being trained, while also including provisions for that training. The apprentice or trainee will become more productive throughout the duration of the Australian Apprenticeship.
Apprentice and trainee pay rates are contained in enterprise agreements or modern awards. Australian Apprentices must be signed up into an approved training contract to get paid the rate for an apprentice or trainee.
Where an existing employee is converted to an apprenticeship or traineeship, in some cases the relevant agreement or award may require that their pay rate does not change from their existing rate.
It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the Australian Apprentice is being paid appropriately. The Fair Work Ombudsman website has useful tools such as the Pay and Conditions Tool, and the accounts section can be used to save information specific to your workplace and to receive notifications of changes when they occur.
For any questions around pay and conditions, you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman through their website or call them on 13 13 94.
There is a modern award to cover every industry sector. Generally, employers in the private sector are subject to the conditions in the relevant modern award.
Under the Modern Award an apprentice or trainee is classified as an employee who has a formal training contract in place with their employer. The training contract must be approved by a state or territory training authority.
Modern Awards are divided into sections covering various topics such as:
- pay rates including classifications, allowances and overtime
- competency-based progression for pay
- ordinary hours of work
- public holidays
- release for off-the-job training
- responsibility for training costs.
Modern awards may provide detail on the National Training Wage and employment of school-based apprentices and trainees.