Architects Award: FAQ

19 March 2018

The Architects Award sets the minimum standards and wages for the employment of architects, architectural graduates and architecture students. All employers must comply with the Award. The ACA provides these FAQs to help architectural business ensure they meet their obligations.

1.     Who sets the Award?

The Architects Award is a Modern Award administered by the Fair Work Commission.

2.     Who does the Award apply to?

The Award applies to employers of architects throughout Australia with respect to their employees in the classifications contained in the Award.

3.     What are the ordinary hours of work for an employee under the Award?

The ordinary hours of duty of an employee must not exceed 38 per week, to be worked between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm Monday to Friday inclusive.

4.     Can I negotiate longer hours of work with an employee?

Yes, so long as the employee is paid appropriately for those hours as overtime above their relevant minimum award rate.

5.     What is the minimum salary I must pay a Graduate of Architecture with less than 1 year experience?

Minimum rates change annually and are tied to the Award and the minimum wage. In 2018–19 it is $51,020 – for a 38-hour week worked within the ordinary hours of work. This is exclusive of Statutory Superannuation and Annual Leave Loading. On 1 July 2019 this will increase. The ACA will keep you advised.

6.     Do the rates of pay include superannuation?

No. Superannuation is legislated differently from the Award rates. The current minimum amount of statutory superannuation an employer must pay on behalf of an employee is 9.5% of their salary.

7.     When does an employee move from one Pay Point or Level to the next?

When an employee has reasonably met the objectives arising out of the annual review, the employer must confirm this in writing to the employee and the employee must progress to the next pay point within the Level 1 wage range.

8.     How much Annual Leave is an employee entitled to?

The Award refers to the National Employment Standards, which states that, ’Full-time and part-time employees get 4 weeks of annual leave, based on their ordinary hours of work’.

9.     Do I have to pay annual leave loading and how much is it?

Annual Leave Loading is payable to all Award employees and it is currently 17.5%. The loading applies to a staff member’s pay for the period of their annual leave. (Note: in situations where an employee is paid at a rate above the Award, the leave loading is sometimes bundled into the overall package. Employers should ensure that contracts are worded correctly.)

10.   Can an employee cash out annual leave?

Yes. Up to 2 weeks per year may be cashed out.

11.   Is there other leave to which employees are entitled?

Yes. The Award and National Employment Standards identifies several other leave entitlements for employees including Public Holidays, Personal/Carer’s Leave and Compassionate Leave.

12.   Our employees accumulate time-in-lieu and are paid the Award. How does this affect my practice?

All time in lieu has to be recorded and agreed upon. Time in lieu accumulates at 1 hour worked = 1.5 hours time in lieu.

13.   What is a Student of Architecture?

A Student of Architecture is an employee who is normally enrolled full-time in a course of architecture and who is employed to gain experience in the practice of architecture.

14.   What is the classification of an employee who has completed 3 or 4 years of a relevant degree but chooses not to continue with their education?

They are not currently classified as a Student of Architecture as they are not enrolled in a course of architecture. This means that their classification falls under the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award.

15.   What about draftspeople?

A draftsperson is covered by the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award.

16.   Does the Award change?

Yes. The Award is reviewed every 4 years by the Fair Work Commission. Award rates are updated on or from the first full pay period from 1 July each year.  The ACA represents the industry at the Award reviews.


The Industrial Awards section of the ACA website provided more information on the Architects Award and other Awards relevant to architectural businesses.