The Jargon-Free Building and Construction Award Guide (MA000020)

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Everything you need to know about how to pay staff properly under the Building and Construction General On Site Award (MA000020).


Everything you need to know about the Building & Construction Industry Award (without the jargon) + free payroll processing checklist

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The Building and Construction Award is a complex and ever-evolving Modern Award focused in several sectors and has a broad coverage in one of the country's biggest industries. 

You can also read our article that covers everything you need to know about travel conditions related to the Building and Construction Award

In addition, you can download a FREE copy of our Building and Construction Award eBook that covers everything you need to know about the award, without the jargon which comes with a BONUS payroll processing checklist. 

This summary provides will provide you a comprehensive understanding of everything you need to know about this award.

Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or tax advice. You should, where necessary, seek a second professional opinion for any legal or tax issues raised in your business affairs.

  • On-site building industry
  • Engineering and civil construction industry

If your business also supplies labour on an on-hire basis in the industry as well as if you provide group training services for apprentices and/or trainees within the industry.

The Building and Construction Award doesn’t cover:

  • the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010;
  • the Joinery and Building Trades Award 2010;
  • the Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010;
  • the Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010;
  • the Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010;
  • the Mining Industry Award 2010; or
  • the Quarrying Award 2010; or
  • the Pre-Mixed Concrete Award 2010.

The Building and Construction Award also doesn’t cover employees who are covered by:

  • Modern enterprise award
  • Enterprise instrument
  • State reference public sector modern award
  • State reference public sector transitional award

On-site Building, Engineering & Civil Construction Industry refers to general building and construction, civil constructions and metal and engineering construction that’s all undertaken on-site.

General Building & Construction refers to:

  • Construction, alteration, extension, restoration, repair, demolition or dismantling of buildings, structures or works that are part of land
  • Site clearances, earth-moving, excavation, site restoration, landscaping and the car parks
  • The installation in buildings, structures or works of fittings and services

Civil Construction refers to:

  • The construction, repair, maintenance or demolition of
    • Civil and/or mechanical engineering projects
    • Power transmission, light, television, radio, communication, radar, navigation, observation towers or structures
    • Power houses, chemical plants, hydrocarbons and/or oil treatment plants or refineries;
    • Silos
    • Sports and/or entertainment complexes
  • Roadmaking as well as the preparation, applying, laying or fixing of bitumen or asphalt
  • Prefabrication and installation of geomembranes, geotextiles and appurtenances
  • Dredging or sluicing work
  • Batch plants and precast yards at a construction site
  • Traffic management
  • Construction and/or establishment of landscaped gardens
  • Catering and cleaning within these premises
  • Car parks within these premises
  • Railways, tramways, roads, freeways, causeways, aerodromes, drains, dams, weirs, bridges, overpasses, underpasses, channels, waterworks, pipe tracks, tunnels, water and sewerage works, conduits, and all concrete work.

Metal & Engineering Construction refers to:

  • Metal trades work such as construction, fabrication, erection and/or installation of
    • Power stations, oil refineries, terminals and depots, chemical, petrochemical, hydro-carbon plants, associated plant, plant facilities and equipment
    • Major industrial and commercial works in associated to plants and plant facilities such as smelting of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, processing of forest products, acid and fertiliser plants, cement and lime works, and other similar works
    • Plant, plant facilities and equipment works that extract, refine and treat minerals, chemicals and other similar items.
    • Transmission towers, transmission lines and plant, plant facilities and equipment associated with transmission
    • Lifts and escalators
    • Facilities and equipment in other engineering projects
  • Maintenance and/or repair and/or servicing work by employees of contractors or subcontractors on construction sites.
  1. Daily hire employees
  2. Full-time weekly hire employees
  3. Part-time weekly hire employees
  4. Casual employees


Daily Hire Employees

A daily hire employee falls under the below rules:

  • Termination will be given with one day’s notice. If less than this, one day’s pay will need to be paid or forfeited
  • Notice that’s been given before the employee’s start time will expire before the at the end of their shift for the day.
  • Tradespersons are permitted an hour to gather, clean, sharpen, pack and transport tools before termination.

Full-Time Weekly Hire Employees

These are employees that work an average of 38 ordinary hours each week.


Part-Time Weekly Hire Employees

These are employees that work less than 38 ordinary hours each week but have reasonably predictable hours of work.

Employers must inform them of their ordinary hours of work as well as the start and finishing times in writing.


Casual Employment

Casual employees have no guaranteed or predictable form of hours. There are several rules in relation to casual employees:

  • A minimum of 4 hours’ work per shift must be paid (even if the shift goes for less than 4 hours).
  • A casual loading of 25% of their ordinary hours must be paid in compensation for annual leave, personal leave, public holidays not worked and any termination or redundancy benefits.
  • Casual employees working on a public holiday must be paid 275% of their ordinary hourly rate. Note thast this is double time and a half like permanent employees, plus the 25% loading on top.


Casual Conversion to Full-Time or Part-Time Employment

A casual employee that isn’t an irregular casual employee can request for conversion to full-time or part-time employment after six months.

Irregular casual employees are employees who work on an irregular or non-predictable basis.

There are several conditions that need to be met if a casual employee requests for conversion:

  1. The employer must notify in writing to casual employees within four weeks of reaching six months of employment of their right to elect for the conversion.
  2. If the casual employee doesn’t respond within four weeks of receiving the written notice, then they’re automatically deemed to not convert.
  3. Employers must respond within four weeks of receiving any casual employees’ notice to convert and must not unreasonably refuse
  4. The reasons for refusal must be fully stated and discussed with the employee with a genuine attempt to reach an agreement.
  5. Casual employees that have worked on a full-time basis can elect for full-time, whereas a casual employee that has worked on a part-time basis can elect for part-time but not full-time. Part-time agreements must maintain the same hours and times of work.

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A school-based apprentice is an employee who is completing an apprenticeship while still attending secondary education.

A construction apprenticeship is an arrangement for an employee to acquire tradesperson qualifications through a training contract.

All aspects of the Building and Construction Award are applicable to apprentices.

Any time spent by an apprentice in training is considered time worked for the employer and will not be treated as absent or loss of pay.


Apprentice Overtime & Shiftwork

No apprentices are able to work overtime or shiftwork without supervision.

Apprentices under the age of 18 aren’t required to do overtime or shiftwork unless they have elected to.

Apprentices also aren’t required to work or overtime (unless it’s an emergency) that would prevent them from attending the training.


Payment By Result

Apprentices cannot be paid per result e.g. paid per lineal metre.


Lost Time

Apprentices will need to work an additional day for each day of absence during each year unless it’s paid leave or leave without pay.

They won’t be able to commence their next year’s apprenticeship until the additional days have been worked.


Training Costs - Fees & Textbooks

An employer will need to reimburse fees charged by the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and the prescribed textbooks within six months of starting their apprenticeship, or three months of the start of training, whichever is later.


Attendance at Block Release Training

If an apprentice needs to attend block release training with their RTO, and it requires the apprentice to stay overnight, the employer will need to pay the excess reasonable travel costs to and from the training.

This includes accommodation, meals and transportation.

This is only applicable if the apprentice can’t attend an alternative RTO that’s closer.


Competency-Based Progression

An apprentice will be paid according to whether certain units of competency have been achieved.

To deem whether the apprentice has achieved competency, they need to have met minimum work experience requirements and demonstrated competency, as well as either:

  • The RTO, the employer and the apprentice, agree that the requirements have been met; or
  • The employer has been provided written advice that the RTO has deemed the apprentice competent and if the employer hasn’t advised the RTO and apprentice of any disagreements within 21 days of receiving the advice.

If the employer disagrees with this and this cannot be resolved between the three parties, this will need to be escalated to the relevant state or territory apprenticeship authority.


Termination of Employment

The following period of notice must be given to employees:

Employee’s period of continuous service with the employer at the end of the day the notice is given

Period of notice

No more than one year

One week

More than one year but no more than three years

Two weeks

More than three years but no more than five years

Three weeks

More than five years

Four weeks


For employees older than 18, if the prescribed period of notice isn’t given, then the employer can deduct this from their wages of no more than one week’s wages unless both parties agree to it.

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Redundancy Pay

Employees (except casual employees or for the period the service was performed as a casual) covered by the Building and Construction Award made redundant will receive a redundancy/severance payment, based on the below table:

Period of continuous services with an employer

Redundancy/severance pay

Less than one year

1.75 hours per week of service

Over one year but less than two years

2.4 weeks’ pay


1.75 hours pay per completed week of service for service over one year. This is at a maximum of 4.8 weeks’ pay

Over two years but less than three years

4.8 weeks’ pay


1.6 hours pay per completed week of service for service over two years. This is at a maximum of 7 weeks’ pay

Over three years but less than four years

Seven weeks’ pay


0.73 hours pay per completed week of service for service over three years. This is at a maximum of 8 weeks’ pay

Over four years

Eight weeks’ pay


If an employee dies, then the redundancy pay entitlement will be paid to the estate of the employee.

For apprentices, they can accumulate credit towards a redundancy benefit upon completion of their apprenticeship and remains in employment with the same employer for a further 12 months.


Redundancy Pay Schemes

If an employer makes contributions to a redundancy pay scheme, an employer may be able to offset an employee’s redundancy pay entitlement.

If the employee receives a benefit from the redundancy pay scheme, the employee will only receive the difference between what they’ve received and how much they’re entitled to. If the benefit from the redundancy pay scheme is higher, then they’ll receive no redundancy payment.

If the employee doesn’t receive a benefit from the redundancy pay scheme, the employee will receive redundancy pay from the redundancy pay scheme fund or the award benefit whichever is greater but not both.


Employee Leaving During Notice Period

An employee that is terminated and leaves within the period of notice will be entitled to the pay of this notice period.

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For more information regarding the most recent minimum wage, you can refer to the Building and Construction Award pay guide.

You can also refer to the general levels and minimum weekly and hourly wages here.

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Search our database for all relevant allowances to your modern award.

Expense Related Allowances

  1. Tools and protective or other clothing or requirement
    1. Artificial stoneworker, carpenter and/or joiner, carpenter-diver, carver, bridge and wharf carpenter, floor sander, letter cutter, marble and slate worker, stonemason or tile layer - paid to employees if they’re providing their own tools
    2. Caster, fixer, floor layer specialist or plasterer - paid to employees if they’re providing their own tools
    3. Refractory bricklayer or bricklayer - paid to employees if they’re providing their own tools
    4. Roof tiler, slate-ridger or roof fixer, tradespersons in the metals and engineering construction sector - paid to employees if they’re providing their own tools
    5. Signwriter, painter or glazier - paid to employees if they’re providing their own tools
    6. Protective clothing or requirement (other than safety boots) - employers must reimburse employees for the cost
    7. Steel toe capped safety boots where it’s required to be worn must be reimbursed by the employee on commencement of work. Subject to wear and tear, boots will be replaced every six months if required and sooner if agreed

  2. Meal Allowance
    1. Overtime Meal Allowance - paid to all employees if they work at least 1 ½ hours of overtime
    2. Employees receiving distance job allowance that includes board and lodging will not be eligible for the meal allowance

  3. Compensation for clothes and tools
    1. Paid to all employees whose clothes or tools have been accidentally damaged by acid or other corrosive substances must be paid by the employer to cover the loss of the item agreed between the employee and employer
    2. If an employee’s tools or clothes are damaged by fire or breaking and entering while securely stored at the employer’s direction on the employer’s premises or in transit, they must be reimbursed by the employer up to a maximum of $1,862
    3. All reasonable care must be taken by the employee to protect and prevent their tools from theft or loss
    4. Employers must cover the cost of toughening any spectacles that an employee needs to complete the job
    5. This is only applicable for tools that are used for the job
    6. Reimbursement is to be given at the replacement value of new tools of the same or comparable quality
    7. Thefts need to be reported to the police by the employee prior to making a claim for the replacement of stolen tools to the employer

Industry Allowances

The following industry allowances must be added to the employee’s weekly base rate under the Building and Construction Award:


Allowance (% of weekly rate)

General building and construction industry


Civil construction industry


Metal and engineering construction industry


Residential building and construction industry



Residential building and construction industry refers to work in single or dual occupancy residential building that’s not a multistorey building.


Other Allowances

  1. Multistorey Allowance - this must be paid to all employees covered by the Building and Construction Award who are engaged in work on a multistorey building.

    A multistorey building refers to a building that is five or more storey levels when complete. The allowance varies depending on how high the building is:
    1. Commencement of building to 15th floor
    2. 16th to 30th floor
    3. 31st to 45th floor
    4. 46th to 60th floor
    5. 61st floor onwards
  1. Laser Operation Allowance - this must be paid to laser safety officers covered by the Building and Construction Award where the use of laser equipment is used for work and requires that they perform duties associated with laser safety.

    Laser refers to a device that can produce or amplify electromagnetic radiation from 100 nanometres to one millimetre with the process of controlled stimulation emission.

  2. Carpenter-Diver Allowance - this must be paid to employees performing carpenter-diver work.

  3. First Aid Allowance - this must be paid to employees who are responsible for carrying out first aid duties when they arise. There are two types:
    1. Minimum qualifications - these are employees who hold the minimum qualifies recognised by the relevant State or Territory OH&S legislation.
    2. Higher than minimum qualifications - these are employees who hold a higher first-aid certificate recognised by the relevant State or Territory OH&S legislation

  4. Air-Conditioning Industry & Refrigeration Industry Allowances - this must be paid to air-conditioning tradesperson and refrigeration mechanics
    1. Weekly hire
    2. Daily hire and casual

  5. Electrician’s Licence Allowance - this must be paid to employees working as an electrical tradesperson and holds an appropriate electrician’s licence.

  6. In Charge of Plant Allowance - this must be paid to employees when two or more employees are employed at a plant, and one employee assumes superintendence responsibility.
    1. Weekly hire
    2. Daily hire and casual

  7. Special Rates - General Building & Construction Sector only - this must be paid regardless of when the work is performed and in addition to other rates in the award.
    1. Computing Quantities Allowance - must be paid to employees who regularly compute or estimate quantities of the material except for employees that are classified as a leading hand and receiving the allowance.
    2. Scaffolding or Rigging Certificate Allowance - must be paid to employees who hold a scaffolding or rigging certificate issued by the appropriate certifying authority and is required to conduct this type of work.

If a building doesn’t have regular storey levels and is higher than 15m in height, the employee must be paid an allowance of 3.2% of their standard hourly rate and an additional 3.2% for each additional 15 metres.

For example, an employee that works at 35 metres is paid an allowance of 6.4% of their standard hourly rate.

Service Cores

For employees working on service core at more than 15 metres above the highest point of the main structure, they must also be paid an allowance of 3.2% of their standard hourly rate and an additional 3.2% for each additional 15 metres.

If they’re working no higher than 15 metres above the main structure, they should be paid according to the multistorey allowance above.

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  1. In this situation, employers or the appropriate representatives must discuss and confirm (in less than 60 minutes) whether to continue work or not.

    If it’s deemed unsafe and risks the life and health of the employee, the employer is required to record the period between work ceasing and starting again.

  2. If emergency work is required (such as finishing a concrete pour), the employee must be paid at a rate of double time calculated to the next hour.

    If there is wet weather, wet weather gear must be adequately provided. If an employee’s clothes become wet due to work, the employee is able to go home to change to dry working clothes without loss of pay unless they have dry working clothes on hand.

  3. If an employee cannot work because of inclement weather, they will receive payment at the ordinary hourly rate to a maximum of 32 hours in any four week period.

    For employees that commenced employment during a four week period, refer to the below table on how much should be credited to the employee:

    Commenced Working

    Hours Credited

    First Week

    32 hours

    Second Week

    24 hours

    Third Week

    16 hours

    Fourth Week

    8 hours

  4. For part-time employees, they will be entitled to payments based on a pro-rata basis based on the number of agreed hours in the four week period. Below is the calculation that needs to be used:

    32 x (No. hours agreed to be worked during the 4 week period) ÷ 152

  5. If inclement weather occurs during overtime, employees are not entitled to any payment for stoppages in work.

  6. Any parts of the site that aren’t affected by inclement weather must continue to work even though other parts of the site have stopped work.

  7. An employer may transfer an employee to another location on a site if alternative work is available and it’s reasonable and safe to do so

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  1. Remaining on site:
    If employees are prevented from working because of wet weather:
    - More than an accumulated total of 4 hours of ordinary time in one day
    - After their meal break for more than an accumulated time of 50% of the rest of the shift in the afternoon
    - During the final two hours of the normal workday with more than an hour accumulated

    The employer isn’t entitled to keep employees on-site beyond the above conditions.

  2. Rain at starting time:
    Suppose employees are dry and rain occurs during start time, morning tea or lunchtime. In that case, they will be required to be transferred to another site unless the rain stops, a covered walkway has been provided, or the sheds are under cover, and the employees can get to the dry area without going through the rain.

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Employee’s Address

An employee needs to provide the employer with their address when applying as well as any separate places of residence. The employee must now falsify these details.

The employer must also take reasonable steps to verify that the address details are valid such as proof of address like a driver’s licence. However, they shouldn’t go as far as checking the accuracy of the proof.

Suppose the employee fails to provide correct address details, and the employer has failed to take reasonable steps to verify the address details. In that case, the employer will still need to pay the entitlements in this condition. However, if the employer has requested proof and the employee has provided fraudulent documents, they will not be liable to pay.


  1. The employee is to be paid $72.02 per day or an amount that fully reimburses the employee for all reasonable accommodation and meal expenses incurred, which is greater; or
  2. Provide the employee with accommodation and three adequate meals each day; or
  3. Provide the employee with accommodation and reimburse for all reasonable meal expenses; or
  4. Provide board and accommodation free of charge if they’re required to live in camp.

Accommodation needs to be in contemporary living standards taking into account the location. There must be washing, laundry, recreational, kitchen, external lighting, communications and fire protection facilities available.


Reimbursement of Meal Expenses for Living in Camp

If an employer isn’t able to provide meals free of charge while the employee is living in camp, the employer must:

  1. Reimburse for food reasonably purchased or consumed in the nearest centre; and
  2. Pay an allowance of $203.61 for every full week or $29.06 per day for broken weeks the employee is available for work including any Saturday or Sunday if the employee is in camp and available for work before and after each Saturday and Sunday.
  3. If employees are absent without employer approval, the allowance won’t be payable for that day. For days before and after a Saturday or Sunday, the allowance won’t be payable for the Saturday and Sunday.

Camp Conditions

The employer must ensure the camp is maintained clean and hygienic. If employees are living in caravans on the employer’s campsite, reasonable space must be provided for the caravans.

Travelling Expenses

Employees who are eligible for the Living Away From Home - Distant Work entitlement won’t be eligible for Travelling Time Entitlements (see below) for any travelling from their home to the distant job site.

Instead, they’ll be entitled to the following:

  1. Forward Journey
    1. The employee needs to be provided with appropriate transport or paid the cost for the most appropriate public transport to get to the job. This includes any costs with transporting tools; and
    2. The employee needs to be paid for the time spent in travelling at their ordinary hourly rate for a maximum of 8 hours per day; and
    3. The employee needs to be paid $15.38 per meal consumed during travelling.

      Employers can deduct the forward journey costs from an employee who terminates or discontinues employment within two weeks of starting the job and doesn’t return to the employee’s place of engagement.

  2. Return Journey
    1. Employees should receive the same standard of payments as the forward journey in each direction. Daily hire employees will receive $20.81 to cover the cost of transport and transporting tools from the main public transport terminal to their home
    2. Similar to the forward journey, employees won’t be paid if the employee terminates or discontinues employment within two months of starting the job or they’re dismissed for incompetence within one week of starting the job, or they’re dismissed for misconduct at any time.

  3. Travelling Time Calculations
    Travelling time is calculated as the time it takes from the central or regional transport terminal closest to the employee’s usual home to the location of the work (and return).

  4. Daily Fares Allowance
    If your employee needs to reside outside of the site, they must be paid the Travelling Time Entitlements (see below).

  5. Weekend Return Home
    An employee must let their employer know no later than Tuesday each week if they wish to return to their home for the weekend.

  6. Rest and Recreation
    Employees that qualify for this entitlement and have worked for eight weeks will be entitled to rest and recreation.
    1. Rail or Road Travel
    2. Air Travel

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Fares and Travel Pattern Allowance

  1. An employee is to be paid an allowance of $17.43 each day worked for travel when the employee works on a construction site or is required to perform prefabricated work in an open yard and then to erect or fix on-site
  2. The employee isn’t entitled if the employer provides transport free of charge to and from the employee’s home or provides a fully maintained vehicle free of charge to the employee.

Travelling Between Construction Sites

An employee that needs to transfer from one site to another during working hours will be paid allowances:

  1. If they have their own car
  2. Not transported by employer
  3. Transported by employer

Travelling Outside Ordinary Hours

Employees will not be paid any allowance for travelling between their job and their home unless the employer requires that the employee picks up and returns other employees to their homes.

Distant Work Payment

If the employee is covered by the Building and Construction Award and needs to travel to a construction site that isn’t located in a metropolitan radius from their home and it’s more than 50kms by road, they’re entitled to distant work payment.


Apprentices are entitled to a percentage of the fares and travel pattern allowance as well as the distant work payment based on the following scale:

If an apprentice is attending training or an assessment with an RTO, they will not be permitted this allowance.

School-based apprentices who attend off-the-job training or assessment that aren’t at school will receive 25% of the fares and travel pattern allowance.


Accident Pay

Accident pay needs to be paid from the time of the injury based on workers’ compensation for a total of 26 weeks.

This liability does not change regardless of whether the employee is terminated for any reason.

If the employer chooses to pay the accident pay as a lump sum, their liability to pay will cease from the time the payment is received by the employee.

Casual employees’ hours are calculated based on the average ordinary hours worked in the last 12 months.

If an employee returns to work on reduced hours or modified duties, their accident pay will reduce based on what they’re paid for the new work.

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Please refer to the national training wage guide here.

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If an employee works more than two hours on higher duties under the Building and Construction Award, they must be paid the higher rate for the whole day.

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As of 1 July 2022, however, employers are required to pay a super guarantee on behalf of eligible employees, regardless of how much they are paid. 

A rate of 10.5% of an employee’s ordinary earnings must be contributed.

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Hours of Work & Accrued Towards Rostered Days Off (RDO)

Ordinary working hours are 8 hours per day. For every hour, 0.4 hours are accrued towards a rostered day off (RDO). This means that an RDO of 7 ½ hours will be accrued every 19 days of work.

Accrual Towards an RDO on Days Not Worked

On public holidays where the employee isn’t required to work or for each day of paid leave, an employee will still accrue 0.4 hours towards an RDO for every hour.

Taking the Accrued RDO

Employees will be able to take it on one day during a four-week cycle written by the employer that needs to be issued 7 days beforehand.

Alternatively, the employer and the majority of employees can agree in writing on an alternative method.

RDO Banking

Employees and employers can bank accrued RDO that should have been taken as long as:

  • It doesn’t exceed five at any time.
  • A banked RDO is agreed between the employer and employee to be taken on a specific day.
  • The number of banked RDOs and the date it’s been banked is recorded and maintained.

Requirement to Work on a Day That is an RDO

48 hours’ notice must be given by an employer to the employee if they need to work on an RDO.

If this is the case, the employee must be paid Saturday penalty rates and will retain their accrued RDO.

Entitlement on Termination of Employment

An employee that’s terminated for any reason must be paid what they would have received had they taken the accrued and banked RDOs.

Agreement on Working Other Than The Rostered Day Off Cycle

Where it’s not practical for an employer to provide guaranteed RDOs in a four-week cycle, they can agree on alternative methods of arranging working hours as long as they’re within the ordinary hours of work and a maximum of 8 hours working per day. This must be recorded in writing.

Part-Time Employees Hours of Work

Part-time employees cannot work more than 8 hours per day

Part-time employees also cannot accrue time towards an RDO unless the employer and employee agree to this on a pro-rata basis.

Casual Employees Hours of Work

Casual employees cannot work more than 8 hours per day.

Other Conditions for Working Ordinary Hours

Early starts may occur if the working day starts between 6am and 8am.

Employers must also provide sufficient facilities for washing and five minutes allowed before lunch and before finishing to allow employees to wash and put away gear.

Working hours for employees in compressed air or underground need to follow any relevant safety standards.

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Type of Shiftwork


Afternoon shift

Start after 3pm and finish before 3pm

Night shift

Start after 3pm and finish before 11pm

Early morning shift

Start after 11pm and finish before 4.30am

Morning shift

Start after 4.30am and finish before 6am

Early afternoon shift

Start after 11am and finish before 1pm

When an employee is employed continuously (including public holidays) for five shiftwork shifts Monday to Friday, the following rates will need to be applied:



Afternoon, night and early morning shift

Ordinary hourly rate + 50%

Morning and early afternoon shift

Ordinary hourly rate + 25%


Broken Shifts

If the employee has worked broken shifts, meaning they’ve worked less than 38 ordinary hours over five consecutive shifts on Monday to Friday, they must be paid 1 ½ times for the first two hours and double time thereafter.


Accrued RDO

If an employee works three continuous and consecutive shifts of eight hours per day, 24 minutes of each shift will accrue towards a rostered off shift.

The employee must also be provided 20 minutes of crib time each shift and paid as if they were working.


Other Shiftwork Conditions

An employee must be given at least 48 hours’ notice of the requirement to work shiftwork.

If the shiftwork has fixed hours, these mustn’t be changed unless it’s due to unexpected circumstances such as breakdowns.

Any shiftwork performed on a Saturday or Sunday must be paid at normal weekend overtime rates. However, any shifts on Friday that are worked beyond midnight Friday will still be considered Friday.

Any excess shift hours from Monday to Friday beside holidays must be paid at double time.

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Type of Shiftwork


Day Shift

Start after 6am and finish before 10am

Afternoon Shift

Start after 10am and finish before 8p,

Night Shift

Start after 8pm and finish before 6am



Shifts must provide rotation for employees unless agreed otherwise.

Employees should not work more than eight shifts within nine consecutive days.

Rosters need to show start and finish times of each shift.


Ordinary Hours

Ordinary hours of work should not exceed 38 hours per week across two, three or four weeks.

Shifts should not be more than 8 consecutive hours and need to include 30 minutes of crib time which is counted as time worked.


Rostered Off Shift

24 minutes for each 8 hour shift will be accrued as a rostered off shift after 19 shifts worked and will be paid as if it was worked.


Paid Leave

Any paid leave or public holiday that occurs during a regular shift will still accrue for rostered off shifts.


Pro Rata Accrued Entitlements

A shiftworker will receive pro rata accrued rostered off shift entitlements even if they haven’t completed a shift cycle.


Taking of Rostered Off Shifts

Employers and employees can agree in writing on when rostered off shifts are taken provided that there are no more than 5 shifts accrued.

When rostered off shifts are taken, the employee will still accrue for further off shifts as if they worked.


Work on a Rostered Off Shift

If an employee is required to work for emergency reasons on their rostered off shift, they will be paid at overtime rates for that shift and maintain their off shift.



Any excess hours worked by the shiftworker from their ordinary hours are to be paid at double time.


Shiftwork Allowances

Shiftworkers working afternoon or night shift (other than on weekends and public holidays) must be paid an additional 15% on top of their hourly rate.



Employees working between midnight Friday and midnight Saturday must be paid 150% of ordinary rates.


Sundays & Public Holidays

For shifts that start between 11pm and midnight on Sunday or holiday, employees won’t be entitled to these penalty rates.

If part of the shift falls on Sunday or a public holiday, the portion that falls on these days will be paid at their relevant penalty rates.


Five Success Shifts

Any afternoon or night shifts performed by shiftworkers that don't exceed five continuous afternoon or night shifts will need to be paid 150% of their ordinary time during these shifts.


Permanent Night Shift

Employees permanently on night shifts must be paid 130% of their ordinary hourly rate when working on night shifts.


Call Outs

Call outs of shiftworkers must be paid a minimum of three hours at double time.


Transport After Overtime

If a shiftworker is working unrostered overtime, an employer must provide transport to the employee’s home or the nearest appropriate public transport when transport is not available.

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Meal Break - Day Workers

Employees must have a meal break of 30 minutes to be taken between midday and 1pm unless agreed at another time.

They cannot work more than five hours without a break for a meal.


Meal Breaker - Shiftworkers

Employees must have a meal break of 30 minutes to be taken between midday and 1pm unless agreed at another time. This meal break is to be counted as time worked.


Rest Periods & Crib Time

A rest period of 10 minutes without deduction of pay must be allowed between 9am to 11pm.

If an employee works overtime for more than two hours, they must be allowed a crib time of 20 minutes and be counted as crib time.

After four hours, a crib time of 30 minutes must be offered.

If the employee does not take the crib time and continues working for two hours or more, they will be regarded as working 20 minutes more than the time work and be paid accordingly.

If an employee works three shiftwork shifts of eight hours, a 20 minute crib time must be allowed without deduction of pay each shift.


Working with Toxic Materials

A 10 minute washing time must be provided immediately prior to the meal break or finishing their shift if they’re working with toxic materials. This washing time is to be counted as time worked.


Shaft or Trench Sinkers

Where shaft, trench sinkers or timberpersons work at a depth of over 1.8 metres a daily crib time of 30 minutes will be offered and counted as time worked.


Cold Work

If an employee works more than 2 hours where temperature is artificially lower than zero degrees celsius, a 20 minute rest after every two hours work without loss of pay must be provided.

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Reasonable Overtime

Under the Building and Construction Award, an employee can refuse to work overtime hours if they’re unreasonable. To take into consideration what’s reasonable or unreasonable overtime, these things should be considered:

  • If there’s a risk to employee health and safety from working extra hours
  • Employee personal circumstances
  • The needs of the workplace
  • Whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for working extra hours
  • The notice given by the employer for working overtime
  • The notice given by the employee when intending to refuse working overtime
  • The usual patterns of work in the industry
  • The nature of the employee’s role and responsibility

Any time worked outside of ordinary hours of work must be paid at 150% for the first two hours and 200% thereafter.


Recalled to Shift Overtime

If an employee is recalled after leaving work to work overtime, they must be paid a minimum of 3 hours’ work even if they don’t need to work the full 3 hours unless it’s customary for the employee to return to the workplace premises.


Meal Breaks

An employee that works through their meal break must be paid 200% of their ordinary hourly rate unless the employee requests to shorten their shift by 30 minutes.



Employees under 18 years of age will not be required to work overtime or shiftwork.


Apprentices & Trainees

Except in an emergency, no trainee will work or be required to work overtime or shiftwork that would prevent them attending an RTO.


No Reasonable Transportation

If no reasonable transportation is available after working overtime, the employer must pay the cost of transport to the employee’s home or the nearest public transport.


Minimum Rest Between Shifts

If an employee covered under the Building and Construction Award works overtime and is not given 10 consecutive hours off duty before their next shift, they must be given 10 hours off duty without loss of pay for ordinary working time.

Employees that work for 20 continuous hours (except meal and crib times), must not start another shift for a minimum of 12 hours.

If an employee isn’t given the above, they must be paid double time until they’re released from duty and then must be given 10 consecutive hours off without loss of pay for ordinary working time.

The same rules above apply for shiftworkers but substituting 8 hours with 10 hours when overtime is worked.


Public Holidays

If an employee works on public holidays, they must be paid at 250% of their ordinary hourly rate and be paid a minimum of 4 hours’ work.


Time Off Instead of Overtime Payment

This clause doesn’t apply to daily hire or casual employees.

An employer and employee can agree in writing that the employee will take time off instead of being paid for overtime worked with records indicating:

  • Overtime hours worked
  • When these hours were worked
  • The employer and employee agree to take time off instead of being paid overtime
  • That the employer must pay the employee for overtime if they request it and be paid in the next pay period

The number of overtime hours worked should be the same as how much time they take off.

For example, an employee working 2 hours’ overtime is entitled to 2 hours time off.

This must be taken within 6 months of the overtime worked at a time agreed between the employee and employer.

If the employee’s employment is terminated, the overtime must be paid to the employee.

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Penalty Rate
(% of ordinary hourly rate)


Overtime on Saturday

150% for the first two hours

200% thereafter

Paid a minimum of 3 hours

Overtime after midday Saturday


Paid a minimum of 3 hours

Saturday following Good Friday


Paid a minimum of 4 hours



Paid a minimum of 4 hours

Public Holidays


Paid a minimum of 4 hours

Under the Building and Construction Award, a rate of 17.5% leave loading on top of their annual leave is applied when an employee takes paid time off.

Employees must be paid the higher of:

  1. An annual leave loading of 17.5% of their ordinary pay rate; or
  2. The weekend and shift penalties the employee would have received if they weren’t on leave during that period.


If a full-time employee applies for leave between Thursday this week and Wednesday next week, he or she would typically work 8 hours of shiftwork on a Saturday too.

The employer must calculate 38 hours, including a 17.5% leave loading and compare with how much the employee will typically receive if they had been paid working across that period with the Saturday penalty rates.

Whichever of the two calculations is higher is how much the employee should be paid across that period of time, not for individual days.

The idea is so that the employee is protected from being paid less for going on paid annual leave.


Annual Close Down

Under the Building and Construction Award, an employer can direct employees to take paid annual leave during the Christmas and New Year holidays periods if the employer shuts the entire or part of the business.

If the employee has no more annual leave accrued, they will need to take unpaid leave.


Annual Leave in Advance

An employer and employee can agree for an employee to take paid annual leave before the employee has accrued adequate leave.

This must be a signed agreement between the employer and employee.


Cashing Out Annual Leave

An employee can agree with the employer in writing to cash out annual leave as long as it doesn’t result in the employee’s remaining balance being less than 4 weeks.


Excessive Leave Accruals

Excessive leave accrual is considered more than 8 weeks’ paid annual leave or 10 weeks’ paid annual leave for shiftworkers.

The employer can be directed by the employer to take annual leave to bring their balance below 6 weeks.

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All public holiday entitlements are per the National Employment Standards (NES) and the penalty rates outlined in the penalty rates table above.

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Lift Industry

Under the Building and Construction Award, there are specific conditions applicable to electrical and metal tradespersons and their assistants who perform work in relation to lifts and escalators.


Lift Industry Allowance

Employees working in any work relating to lifts and escalators should be paid this allowance.

For apprenticeships, see below:

Forepersons & Supervisors

This refers to any forepersons and supervisors in the metal and engineering construction sector covered by the Building and Construction Award. However, this doesn’t apply to employers with less than 30 employees.



Refer to the weekly minimum wage rate here.

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The Building and Construction Award (MA000020) is complex and filled with pitfalls.

Businesses that don't have specialised payroll team members or fail to understand their employer obligations often are exposed to severe penalties due to underpayments, and what's constituted as wage theft.

You can also download a FREE copy of our Building and Construction Award eBook with a BONUS payroll processing checklist to ensure you maximise your payroll compliance.

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