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How Much Should I Get Paid?

Minimum wages and classifications

As an employee, you should be given a classification which accurately reflects your skills, experience and the work to be performed. Depending on your industry you are working in, the classification will be based on either the Pastoral Award 2020, the Horticulture Award 2020, or the Cotton Ginning Award 2020

For a list of classifications and a summary of the related skills and expected tasks, see the references in determining pay rates and classifications in the employer section on this site.

Hours of work vary from award to award and there are different overtime provisions depending on the award.

There are also minimum hours of work for part-time and casual employees engaged under the Pastoral Award 2020.

Make sure you read the relevant award carefully and ask your employer to explain any information if you are still unsure.

For more information about overtime, see the industry specific information under Awards in the employer section on this site.

The Fair Work Ombudsman web site has some very handy calculators and tools that can help you calculate minimum wages, leave allowances and overtime rates. You need to know which award you are employed under and your level or classification. This information should be on your letter of offer or your contract but you can always ask your employer if you are unsure. Remember that the awards and the minimum wages are reviewed annually on the 1st of July, so make sure you have the most recent information.


P.A.C.T is the Fair Work Ombudsman’s pay and conditions tool. The Fair Work Ombudsman website also has information about all the modern awards and workplace agreements.

The National Employment Standards (NES)

The NES are a set of 10 minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees in Australia regardless of their award, employment contract or agreement. If any contract or agreement provides conditions that are less favourable than those set out in the NES, then the contract or agreement will not be seen as legal.

You can read more information about the NES here. As part of your induction process, your employer should provide you with a copy of the Fair Work Information statement which is a summary of information contained in the NES.

Accepting an Offer of Employment

Well done. Once you have decided to accept an offer of employment, you should let your future employer know as soon as possible so they can begin preparing all the necessary paperwork for your employment. (See induction checklist below for more information about the required paperwork.)

Your employer will present you with a contract that you will need to read, sign and return by a certain date. Read the contract carefully before signing and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. The most important things to note in the contract will be:

  • the Award you are employed under
  • the hours of work
  • your classification or level
  • any entitlements and your rate of pay

Other things such as leave and overtime may also be included in your contract. See the sample contract for more information.

Make sure you sign, date and return the contract by the due date. Your employer will give you a signed copy to keep for your own records.