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Awards and wages

An award is a legal document that sets out the terms and conditions of employment for a specific industry or job. They define things like minimum wages, overtime, penalty rates and allowances.

National Employment Standards

The National Employment Standards (the standards) set out 10 minimum working standards for employees, including:

The conditions in awards (or enterprise agreements) have to be the same or better than those defined in the standards. (Enterprise agreements include specific conditions for one workplace. Modern awards set out minimum conditions for a whole industry or type of job.)

Read fact sheets about the standards explaining how they apply. 

Modern awards

Modern awards cover most workplaces and set out minimum conditions for employees and employers who work in the same industry or occupation.

From 1 January 2010, modern awards replaced thousands of federal and state-based awards known as pre-modern awards.

In Queensland, employees of local government, the state public sector, and a number of statutory authorities remain under the state industrial relations system.

Find your award

There are over 100 awards covering various occupations and industries in Australia. To find the modern award covering your job:

You can also view details and a full list of all modern awards (that started on 1 January 2010) through the:

What if I don't have an award?

Employees who do not have an award often have an enterprise agreement or employment contract instead.

If an award does not apply to your job, the standards together with the national minimum wage will form the minimum standards for your employment.


Most wages in Queensland are controlled by modern awards, and will vary from job to job.

Rates of pay

There are various ways to find the right pay rate for a job, including:

The national minimum wage sets out the lowest rate of pay for employees not covered by awards or agreements.

Additional pay entitlements

Under modern awards, employees may be eligible for extra pay through penalty rates, overtime or allowances.

Pay slips

Your employer must give you a pay slip each time you are paid.

Check what information should be on your pay slip.

Related links

For businesses

You have obligations as an employer to make sure your employees receive their rightful entitlements, including paying your staff:

  • the right amount of pay
  • paid leave
  • superannuation.

Rights for specific groups

Everyone has the right to be treated fairly at work. Learn about the working conditions and rights for:

Unclaimed money

If you were involved in a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation or audit with a previous employer, they might not have been allowed to contact you to give you any outstanding wages.

Search the unclaimed wages database for money that could be yours.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
10 May 2013

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