Penalty rates & allowances

From 1 July 2020, some penalty rates in the Pharmacy and Retail awards have changed, following a Fair Work Commission decision in 2017.

Visit the Penalty rates changes page for more information about what the changes are, who they affect and how they’re being implemented.

Use our Pay Calculator to calculate penalty rates and allowances in your industry.

You can also check out our pay guides for pay rates, allowances and common penalties in your industry.

If you're covered by an enterprise agreement or other registered agreement, your penalty rates and allowances will be contained in your agreement. To find an agreement, go to the Fair Work Commission website external-icon.png .

Penalty rates

Employees often get a higher pay rate when working:

  • weekends
  • public holidays
  • overtime
  • late nights shifts or
  • early morning shifts.


Allowances are extra payments made to employees who:

  • do certain tasks or have a particular skill
  • use their own tools at work
  • work in unpleasant or dangerous conditions.

Common allowances include:

  • uniforms and special clothing
  • tools and equipment
  • travel and fares
  • car and phone
  • first-aid
  • leading hand / supervisor
  • industry of employment (eg. building and construction).

Find information about penalty rates and allowances in your award by selecting from the list below.

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Workplace arrangements affecting penalty rates and allowances

There are some workplace arrangements that affect how penalty rates and allowances are paid. These include:

The overall amount an employee is paid under one of these arrangements must be at least the same as the amount they would be paid under their award.

The wages in IFAs, salary payments, employment contracts and guarantees of annual earnings have to offset other penalties and loadings in awards.

Think a mistake might have been made?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you can't resolve it.

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