Childcare Wages In Australia

Childcare Wages In Australia Vagawal

As a childcare worker in Australia your pay rate falls under the Children’s Services Award 2010. This award states the minimum amount that an employer can pay you based on your qualification and your position while working in an early learning centre.

This article will provide you with information on minimum wages, details of classification structure higher duties and allowances.

Types of Employment

When working in a childcare setting you will be either a full time, part time or casual employee. As per the Children’s Services Award 2010 an employee working:

  • Full time – works an average of 38 hours per week.
  • Part time – works less than 38 hours per week, has predictable hours of work and receives the equivalent conditions to those working full time.

When working part time, a letter of agreement should be written by your employer specifying the hours you will be working each day, days of the week required as well as the start and finishing times for the day’s work.

  •  Casual - works for temporary and relief purposes, with a minimum of 2 hours per day.

If working as causal employee, you must be paid the hourly rate stated for a full time employee as per classification and minimum wage plus a casual loading of 25% (as of July 2015).

Classification Structure

As an employee, regarding your wages, you will be classified as a “level” which determines what your minimum wage is. You can find your level by looking on your pay slip. It usually says “CSE Level ...”. Each level is different within the classification structure and is basically used to determine what your position is within the centre as well as provide you with the details on what your weekly and hourly wages are. These are only the minimum amount that an employer is expected to pay. Some may be getting paid more than it states, however you should not be getting paid less.

Progression to Next Level of Classification

While working at a specific level as per the classification structure you are able to progress to an upper level depending on a variety of factors such as change of position, qualification gained and the following:

  • A Level 1 employee will progress to the next level after a period of one year or earlier if the employer considers the employee capable of performing the work at the next level or if the employee actually performs work at the next level.
  • A Level 3 employee at this level who has completed a Diploma in Children’s Services or equivalent, and who demonstrates the application of skills and knowledge acquired beyond the competencies required for a Certificate III in the ongoing performance of their work, must be paid no less than the rate prescribed for Level 3.4.
  • Competency at the existing level.
  • 12 months experience at that level (or in the case of employees employed for 19 hours or less per week, 24 months) and in-service training as required; and
  • Has demonstrated ability to acquire the skills necessary for advancement to the next pay point.

Minimum Wages for Full Time and Casual Employees

Now that you can verify which level you are according to the classification structure, you can determine your minimum wage. With the Children Services Award it only shows what the minimum wages are. So, all this tells you is your employer can’t pay you below the minimum wage that it states.

Your wages are determined by a number of different factors. Such as your qualification, age, experience, the state your living in, the area of the centre, your employer, your position etc. All these factors are taken into consideration when determining your pay.

Also, each year of working with the same employer, your wages do increase, on commencement and for two years after that. So, if you stay with the same employer for a longer period of time, you’re entitled to a pay rise.

According to your classification structure and employment type, your minimum wages are (award rate from 1/07/2015):

Overtime Rates

When working as a casual, you will be eligible for overtime rates, if you happen to work in excess of 8 hours in one day or 38 hours in one week.

As a part time employee, if you agree to work in excess of your normal hours, you will be paid at ordinary time for up to 8 hours. After 8 hours on a given day, you will be paid overtime.

Overtime rates are to be calculated on the full time rate of pay.

Full Time / Part Time
  • Monday to Friday (6am to 6.30pm): 100%
  • Saturday: 1st 2 Hours - 150%; Thereafter - 200%
  • Sunday (All Hours): 200%
  • Public Holidays: 250%
  • Monday to Friday (6am to 6.30pm): 125%
  • Saturday: 1st 2 Hours - 175%; Thereafter - 225%
  • Sunday (All Hours): 220%
  • Public Holidays: 275%
Higher Duties

There may be times, when you may be asked to perform higher duties. This basically means performing duties that are not within your job description or those stated within the level you fall under in the classification structure, the duties of an employee will be determined by reference to this award and the employee’s job description.

If you’re engaged in higher duties for two or more consecutive hours you will be paid the time you spent at a higher rate, provided that:

  • the greater part of the time so worked is spent in performing duties carrying the higher rate;
  • if you’re engaged as a Children’s Services Employee Level 5 (Assistant Director) who is required to undertake the duties of a Director by reason of the Director’s absence will not be entitled to payment under this clause unless the Director’s absence exceeds two complete consecutive working days;
  • if you’re engaged as a Children’s Services Employee Level 3 who is required to undertake duties of the Director by reason of the Director’s non-attendance outside of core hours will not be entitled to payment under this clause;
  • where you are appointed to act as the Director of a Centre or a Supervising Officer pursuant to the relevant childcare regulations, they will be paid for the entire period at the rate applicable for a Director or Supervising Officer; or
  • if you are required to undertake the duties of another employee by reason of the latter employee’s absence for the purpose of attending (with pay) an approved training course (including in-service training) will not be entitled to payment under this clause.


Some centres give allowances to their employees which will further increase their pay rate. These allowances may include: laundry (if they supply you with a uniform), travel, split shift, meals, vehicle and more. These allowances may not be much; however it does count towards your wages. So, every little bit does increase you overall pay amount. Not all centres will have allowances in place, so it really depends on where you are working.

Here is a detailed list of some allowances that you may be offered:

  • Broken shift allowance - where an employee works two separate shifts in a day, they will be paid an allowance of 1.91% of the standard rate per day for each day on which a broken shift is worked. This is typical for employees of OOSH settings.
  • Clothing and equipment allowance - where the employer requires an employee to wear any special clothing or articles of clothing the employer must reimburse the employee for the cost of purchasing such clothing. The provisions of this clause do not apply where the employer pays for the clothing required to be worn by the employee or where an employee is required to launder any clothing referred to in clause 15.2(a) the employee will be paid an allowance of $9.49 per week or $1.90 per day, or where the uniform does not require ironing, $5.98 per week or $1.20 per day.
  • Excess fares allowance - where an employee is directed to work away from their normal place of work on any day the employee will be paid an allowance of $13.38 per day to compensate for excess fares. This provision does not apply if the employer provides or offers to provide suitable transport free of charge to the employee.
  • Meal allowance - an employee required to work overtime for more than two hours without being notified on the previous day or earlier that they will be so required to work will either be supplied with a meal by the employer or paid an allowance of $11.38. No meal allowance is payable where an employee could reasonably return home for a meal within the period allowed.
  • Qualifications allowance – a Director or Assistant Director who holds a Graduate Certificate in Childcare Management or equivalent will be paid an all-purpose allowance, calculated at 5% of the weekly rate for an Assistant Director (Children’s Services Employee Level 5.4).
  • Use of vehicle allowance  - where an employer requests an employee to use their own motor vehicle in the performance of their duties the employee will be paid an allowance of $0.78 per kilometre in the case of a motor car or $0.26 per kilometre in the case of a motorcycle.

The Children Services Award 2010 is a detailed document that provides a variety of information covering a variety of topics including wages. It’s pretty complex to understand and unless you know what you’re looking for it can get a little confusing. I hope that the explanations given in this article provides you with enough details for you to determine your classification structure and discover what your minimum wages are.

Please remember that the above wages are to be used as a general guideline only and are subject to change. The above rates are correct as of 1/07/2015.

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Last modified on Saturday, July 4, 2015

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  • @Rebekkah - Do you receive a letter stating that your hours will change to only 3 to 4 hours a day? According to Fair Work Australia: For part time employees the pattern of work can be changed if the employer and employee agree to it in writing. The employer should keep a copy of the change, and give a copy to the employee. More more information: Hope this helps! --Lorina

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  • Guest - Tanae

    Hi there,
    I'm currently working as a room leader/group leader and occasionally filling in as a assistant director when the director is away on holidays. I'm only cert 3 qualified - have been for 5 years and currently doing a traineeship to complete my diploma, what should my rate be? Thankyou

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  • @Tanae - Since you are working as a room leader, you should be Level 4A (depending on how long you have been a group leader for). Level 4A is for an educator working as a room leader who has not yet received their Diploma qualification. According to the award "An employee engaged in duties carrying a higher rate than their ordinary classification for two or more consecutive hours within any shift or day will be paid for the time so worked at the higher rate of pay" and "where an employee is appointed to act as the Director of a Centre or a Supervising Officer pursuant to the relevant childcare regulations,they will be paid for the entire period at the rate applicable for a Director or Supervising Officer". So if you are filling in as the Director when the Director is away on holidays then you should be paid a Directors rate. I need to know how many children are licensed at your centre to determine your rate of pay... Hope this helps! --Lorina

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  • Guest - tanae

    Thanks Lorina, our centre is licenced for 28 children :)

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  • Guest - Cindy

    Hi, I own a centre and run the business side of things (I have never worked in childcare before). I have a Director with a Batchelor of Teaching Degree who runs the room. We are a 30 place, one room centre with 4 full time employees and 1 casual two days per week. I do all the accounts, budgets, insurances, purchasing, family statements, banking, entering new enrolments and setting up the files etc and generally oversee whats going on in the room, my director does the rest. Could you please advise me what sort of wage I should be paying her? My full time staff also have RDO's once a month. This is our third year trading. The first year our standards were really high and I feel that they are now slipping. I have asked the director to do the same portfolios as we did the first year (as the second year just looked very tacky to me) and she advised me that maybe I should find someone that is willing to do it as its too stressful and that she wouldn't be able to do it. I am of mixed emotions as we did it the first year with less staff and it was carried out within the last 3 months of the year. I am asking at the beginning of the year so that they have the time to prepare and be more organised. Its just a folder that the work is placed into plastic sleeves but the problem they say was the printing and sorting. If you could please share your thoughts that would be great :)

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  • @Tanae - As far as I understand you should be Level 6A.1 with an hourly wage rate of $28.59/per hour, when you fill in as Director of your service.

    Comment last edited on about 1 week ago by Lorina
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  • @Cindy - Just a few questions... Does your Director just do Director duties or acts as the ECT in the preschool room? How many kids is your centre licensed for? Your Director shouldn't be advising you, as the owner of the centre, you should be advising her... sorry I think she overstepped her boundary on that one... Let me know so I can try and work out the wages for the Director.

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  • Guest - che

    Hi I just want to ask about casual rate pay. I will be working as a casual for days,5 hours per day. How much hourly rate should I get pay for? I am certificate 3.Thank you

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  • @Che - Your casual starting rate is $25.15 (Level 3.1) - How long have you had your cert 3 for? --Lorina

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  • Guest - Dili

    Hi there, I am working in a LDC setting as a room leader. I am permenent part time and have been working at the same place over five years. I hold a diploma in children's services and half way through my BECE degree. Just wondering what my wedge should be?

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