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Minimum entitlements for wages and conditions of employment are most often found in enterprise agreements or modern awards. Employers must provide their employees with at least their minimum entitlements.

Some employees are not covered by an award or an enterprise agreement. For these employees there is a National Employment Standard, including a set minimum wage, that provides a safety net of conditions that cannot be overridden by the terms of enterprise agreements or awards.

There are two main systems operating in South Australia that provides wage protection for employees not covered by an award or enterprise agreement:

  • the national system covers most of the private sector
  • the state system covers South Australian public and local government sectors as well as prescribed state government business enterprises.

Private sector (National system)

The federal minimum wage system covers the majority private sector workplaces in Australia such as:

  • non-Government businesses
  • non-Council workers
  • non‑government community services sector
  • private schools
  • universities.

Minimum wages covered under the National system are determined by the Fair Work Commission through its Annual Wage Review (AWR). The AWR decision increases minimum wage rates for employees who are not covered by an award or agreement.

Employers and their workers covered by this system can check their obligations and entitlements via the Fair Work Ombudsman website, which includes a pay calculator and a list of awards, or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

Minimum wage rates are also set for:

SA public and local government sectors (State system)

The majority of State system employees (South Australian public and local government sectors as well as prescribed state government business enterprises) have wages and conditions determined by enterprise agreements or industrial awards.

The South Australian Employment Tribunal fixes minimum wages (including weekly wages, hourly rates, aged-based grades) each year through the State Wage Case. This process provides a safety net of minimum wages for State system employees and cannot be overridden by an award or agreement.

The State Wage Case decision usually adopts the increase awarded by the Fair Work Commission in that year’s Annual Wage Review for National system workers.

State system (SA public and local government sectors) minimum wages (as at 1 July 2020)
Worker age Full-time worker
Weekly (38 hours)
Part-time worker
Hourly
Casual worker
Hourly
Adult (21 years and over) $767.50 $20.20 $25.24
20 $690.80 $18.18 $22.72
19 $614.00 $16.16 $20.20
18 $537.30 $14.14 $17.67
17 $460.50 $12.12 $15.15
Under 17 $383.80 $10.10 $12.62
Junior apprentice (first year) $322.30   
Junior apprentice (second year) $422.10   
Junior apprentice (third year) $575.60   
Junior apprentice (fourth year) $675.40   
Adult apprentice (21 years and over) $767.50   

Further information

Industrial relations system

Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

Education and Children’s Services Act 2019 (SA) (section 74)

Page last updated: 29 January 2021