- Many employees in the state industrial relations system are covered by WA awards.
- WA awards are legal documents that set the legal minimum pay rates and other working arrangements for employees in a particular industry or occupation.
- It is unlawful for an employer to provide pay rates or employment conditions below what is set by the relevant WA award, and there can be penalties for employers who do not comply with WA awards.
The Understanding WA awards video explains what WA awards are and why employers must comply with the provisions contained in any WA award.
Many employees in the state industrial relations system are covered by WA awards. WA awards are legal documents issued by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission that set pay rates and other working arrangement for employees in a particular industry or occupation.
For example, a hairdresser will be covered by the Hairdressers Award, and a chef in a café will be covered by the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award.
If an employee is covered by a WA award, the pay rates, leave entitlements, allowances and penalty rates outlined in the WA award must be provided to the employee as a minimum. Different rates of pay often apply to employees depending on the classification and type of work being performed. Separate rates of pay also commonly apply to junior employees, apprentices and trainees.
WA awards also set out other minimum employment conditions, such as:
- rostering arrangements, including when hours may be worked and when overtime or penalty rates apply;
- allowances that are payable to employees such as location allowance, tool allowance or laundry allowance;
- leave entitlements such as annual leave, personal leave; and
- public holiday arrangements.
Employees working under WA awards are also covered by state employment laws, such as the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993, the Industrial Relations Act 1979 and the Long Service Leave Act 1958 which provide additional employment conditions and employer obligations.
It is unlawful for an employer to provide pay rates or employment conditions below what is set by the relevant WA award, and there can be penalties for employers who do not comply with WA awards.
Employers are able to provide pay rates and employment conditions that are more favourable than what is contained in a WA award, for instance a higher rate of pay or additional paid leave.
Employees who believe that they have not received the correct rates of pay or employment conditions under a WA award can make an underpayment complaint. Visit the Making a complaint about underpayment of wages or entitlements page for details.
Wageline’s WA award summaries
Wageline has easy-to-read summaries of the most widely used WA awards on the WA awards summaries page. They also contain information on other key employment conditions from state employment laws. They are a summary of the award only and do not include all conditions in the WA award.
Full copies of all WA awards are available on the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission website. Minimum pay rates are listed in the award, and can commonly be found under the heading wages, rates of pay, or salaries.
Checking if a WA award applies
You can check whether a WA award applies by visiting the WA awards for common jobs page, or by calling Wageline on 1300 655 266.
Employees who work for a larger business or organisation, should also check whether an industrial agreement applies, which can be done by checking with the human resources or payroll area where you are employed.
If there is no WA award or industrial agreement that applies to a job, there is still a legal minimum rate of pay. The Minimum pay rates for award free employees page lists the current minimum rates.
If you have any queries about WA awards, call Wageline for help on 1300 655 266.