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

People in this conversation

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  • Guest - Leanne Donnelly

    If I am a lead educator in the pre kindy room and have both my Diploma and Bach of Education. What should my starting wage be? (I also have 4 years experience as a Kindy teacher at a previous centre)

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  • Guest - Debbie Hinton

    Port Macquarie NSW 2444, Australia

    I am a cert 3 in childcare I have been at same centre for nearly 2 years. Recently I was told I had to take a lesser wage to work with a special needs child. I work 10 to 3 every day unless the child is sick in which case I am told not to come and I am not paid for this day. I am now being paid minimum wage $17.19. I am now 21 weeks pregnant and I have been told I am not entitled to maternity leave and when I finish that will be the end of my job there. My payslips all state childcare worker as classification. Can you advise if this is correct.

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  • @Leanne - Are you an ECT teacher? You would be on the Educational Services Teacher Award 2010. When completing your degree you're typically either 3 or 4 year trained and this will make a difference of your pay. As a 3 year trained ECT you begin at Level 1 and as a 4 year trained ECT you begin at Level 3. A 5 year trained will commence on Level 4. Level 1 - 3 year trained: $39,640/per year, Level 3 - 4 year trained: $41,558/per year, Level 4 - 5 year trained: $44, 558/per year. In the Award it also states a full time employee working in early childhood service (LDC) will be paid an additional 4%. You can download the ECT Award from here:
    Hope this helps!

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  • @Debbie - No this doesn't sound right... It seems like you are permanent part time at your centre and even though the child may be sick you are still entitled to be paid. Otherwise you should be casual. With your job role, do you plan for the child with additional needs, document, do obs etc.? Just so I can get a better understanding of what your responsibilities are and what wage Level you are entitled to. So if you could let me know about your job responsibilities in regards to the child... In regards to Maternity/Parental Leave - According to Fair Work Australia, you are entitled to parental/maternity leave if you have worked at your current centre for at least 12 months. For more information:

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  • Guest - Debbie hinton

    Thanks Lorina
    I started thee just under 2 years ago I obtained my cert 3 and went up to that wage. Then in May I was told if I wanted to stay I would have to take a pay cut and work as an inclusion support worker under a 1yr funding from the government. I am being told that when this funding ends so does my job

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  • @Debbie - Even though you are an Inclusion Support worker you should not be getting less that your qualification Level. So, for you with a Cert 3 for 2 years you will be on Level 3.2 at $21.48/per hour (before tax). From what you are saying, you are being made redundant. If that's the case, here is some information from Fair Work Australia to make sure you are given a fair opportunity and your entitlements:

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  • Guest - Amy

    Does anybody know about the levels - On commencement, Level 1 and Level 2
    Does this mean everytime you start a new position with a different company you drop back down to the On Commencement wage?
    Or do you stay at the Level which is wither 1 for 1 years experience or 2 for 2 or more years experience?
    I have read that the Levels are only when still employed with the same employer, but then ive heard that it also goes off how experienced you are.

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  • @Amy - From what I understand, the levels are determined by your qualification and how long you have had your qualification for. So, if you are a new Diploma qualified you start, at Level 4.1, after having your qualification for 1 year you go to Level 4.2, after you have your qualification for 2 or more years, you go to Level 4.3... The same goes for a Cert 3 qualification.... Hope this helps!

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  • Guest - Alice

    Hi, I just have a question about my current qualification. I have completed two and a half years of a bachelor of early childhood and primary teaching. I work in a child are centre as a casual. I'm unsure of the expected pay rate. Does 2 years completion count as a diploma and should I be payed accordingly regardless of the position I am filling in the centre?

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  • @Alice - From what I understand your pay rate is based on your position...What position are you typically filing in for? So, I can get an idea of what your wage should be...

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