Hospitality apprentice campaign

Hiring apprentices is an exciting investment for a hospitality business.

There are many benefits to engaging an apprentice. It's an opportunity to provide industry education and on the job experience, which means your staff are trained to meet your business needs. Apprentices are an investment in your business.

Apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn a nationally recognised trade and develop a meaningful career.

While apprentice pay rates can seem low to begin with, pay rates steadily rise as the apprentice gains experience and skills, and works towards reaching their trade qualification.

We're here to help employers and new apprentices in the hospitality industry get the most out of an apprenticeship relationship. We have a number of pay guides, record keeping templates and leave calculators which makes it easier to know the rules.

New apprentices and their employers can find more information on this page about:

Hospitality apprentice pay rates

Pay rates for hospitality and restaurant apprentices start at $11.71 for juniors and $17.03 for adults. Pay rates for fast food apprentices start at $8.03 depending on the employee's age and duties.

These rates apply from 1 July 2017 and can vary depending on:

  • which award covers the apprentice
  • when the apprentice started
  • the type of apprenticeship being undertaken
  • if the apprentice was an adult or junior when they started the apprenticeship, an adult being someone who is 21 years or over.

The pay rates above are for a cooking apprentice who started their apprenticeship after 1 January 2014.

The award that covers an apprentice depends on the type of business they're employed by. They're usually covered by either the:

  • Hospitality Award
  • Restaurant Award, or
  • Fast Food Award.

The Fast Food Award doesn't have apprentice pay rates. Apprentices covered by this award get paid based on their age, duties and responsibilities.

Use our Find my award tool to help find the award an apprentice is covered by.

Use our Pay Calculator to see which rate applies.

For a summary of pay rates, download the:

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Working weekends, public holidays and overtime

Apprentices covered by awards get higher pay rates for working on weekends, public holidays or overtime.

Our Pay Calculator can give you rates that apply to apprentices working those hours.

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Apprentices get the same leave entitlements as other full-time or part-time employees. Learn about the types of leave employees, including apprentices, are entitled to, how leave accrues and what employees are paid when on leave on the following pages:

Calculate annual, sick and carer’s leave using our Leave Calculator.

For downloadable leave application templates and leave record templates, visit our Templates page.

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Payment for training

Time spent at trade school forms part of an apprentice's ordinary hours of work and is paid.

Apprentices don't get paid if they don't go to trade school when they're supposed to and they're not on paid leave.

Other apprentice entitlements

Visit the Apprentice entitlements page and select 'hospitality' from the industry list and select the appropriate sub-industry (restaurant, fast food, catering, or hotels/accommodation) to find out about other entitlements including:

  • pay increases during an apprenticeship
  • payment for overtime and shiftwork
  • reimbursements for training costs such as fees and textbooks
  • payments for certain travel costs to and from training.

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Issuing pay slips

Pay slips need to be given to all employees within 1 working day of pay day, even if the employee is on leave.

Pay slips can be given either electronically (i.e. via email) or in hard copy.

Certain information needs to be put on a pay slip, including the pay period, the amount (both gross and net) and any penalty rates that apply.

For more information:

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Taking breaks

All employees get to take meal breaks and rest breaks, depending on the hours they actually work (not their rostered hours).

A rest break is a short paid break, usually 10 or 20 minutes that counts as time worked. A meal break is usually a 30 minute unpaid break that doesn't count as time worked.

For more information about hours of work and breaks in your award, visit our Breaks page and select 'hospitality' as your industry, and then select your sub-industry.

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Registering apprenticeship arrangements

An apprentice needs to be registered with the appropriate state or territory authority. It's important to register an apprenticeship on time in line with state and territory authorities set time frames. These time frames vary from state to state. The period before the registration date can count towards the apprenticeship.

Please refer to our Apprentices and trainees page for a list of the state and territory training authorities.

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Performance management, bullying and harassment at work

It's against the law to bully or harass others at work. There are organisations in each state and territory that can help people with bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Managers that take reasonable disciplinary action or actions to address poor performance in the workplace aren't bullying employees, provided that the actions are carried out in a reasonable way.

If these actions aren't carried out reasonably, then the actions may be considered bullying. Read more on our Managing performance and warnings page about reasonable management action to make sure employees are doing their job properly.

For more information about bullying and harassment in the workplace visit our Bullying and harassment page.

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Why hospitality apprentices?

We've recently been reviewing workplace law challenges in the hospitality industry. We found the most common workplace issues in this industry are the topics covered on this page. The industry is also experiencing high apprentice turnover rates.

Around 5,000 apprentices start a cooking apprenticeship each year. We want to help them understand workplace laws that apply to them. We've put together this package of information to educate and help employers and employees to start off on the right foot by getting these things right early on in the apprentice relationship.

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Privacy statement

If you’ve been contacted by us and directed to this webpage, you’re part of a project focused on first year cooking apprentices and their employers.

We’ve collected your name and contact details from the Department of Education and Training. We’ve collected this information so that we can contact you early in the apprenticeship cycle to provide tailored education and resources. We will not disclose the information we have collected to third parties.

We have a Privacy policy that contains information about how you can access the personal information we hold about you and how you can have that information corrected if you think it’s wrong or out of date. This policy also contains information about how you can provide feedback about the handling of your personal information. 

For more information, visit our Privacy page.

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