Children’s Services Award

What is the Children’s Services Award?

The Children’s Services Award is a legal regulation in Australia that outlines the minimum standards for pay, working hours, leave entitlements, and other related matters that apply to employers and employees in the childcare industry.

It covers all employees employed in childcare, including daycare, nurseries, family-based childcare, out of school hours care, kindergartens, and pre-schools.

The award is designed to ensure that employees in the childcare industry are treated fairly and their rights are protected. The entitlements under the award vary depending on the skill and experience level of the employee.

Who is entitled to the Children’s Services Award?

The Children’s Services Award covers employers and employees who work in the children’s services and early childhood education industry.

Examples of the children services and early childhood education industry include:

  • long day care
  • occasional care
  • nurseries
  • childcare centres
  • day care facilities
  • family based childcare
  • out of school hours care
  • vacation care
  • adjunct care
  • in-home care
  • kindergartens and preschools
  • mobile centres
  • early childhood intervention programs.

Examples of employees covered by the Children’s Services Award include:

  • child care workers
  • room leaders, co-ordinators, assistant directors and directors
  • support workers doing tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, driving, gardening, maintenance and administrative duties.

The award also covers labour hire businesses and their employees who are placed with an organisation in the children’s services and early childhood education industry.

To determine whether your staff fall under the Children’s Services Award, it’s recommended to visit the Fair Work website.

Children’s Services pay rates

Workstem has developed a comprehensive guide to help compliance with the Children’s Services Award Rates.

If you’re uncertain about the applicable classifications, this guide can help you understand how to comply with Fair Work legislation, classify your employees correctly, and pay penalties and allowances in accordance with the Children’s Services Award.

Penalty Rates

Employees are entitled to the additional rates when working on weekends or public holidays.

Rostered Shift

Penalty Rate


150% for the first 2 hours and 200% thereafter.

Shift-workers will be paid at 150% for all ordinary hours worked (except for overtime which is paid at 150% for the first 2 hours and double time thereafter).


200% of their ordinary rate for all hours.


250% of their ordinary rate for all hours.

Overtime rates

The overtime rate payable to an employee depends on the time at which the overtime is worked:

For overtime worked on

Full- and part-time employees
(% of ordinary hourly rate)
Casual employees
(% of ordinary hourly rate)

Monday to Friday – first 2 hours



Monday to Friday – after 2 hours 200%


  • Overtime for Shiftwork


% of minimum hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading)

Monday to Friday
5.00 am – 6.00 am


Monday to Friday (6.30 pm-midnight)


Monday to Friday night shift, rotating with day or afternoon (midnight- 8.00 am or before midnight- 5.00am)


Monday to Friday night shift, non-rotating


Saturday (ordinary hours + first 2 hours of overtime)


Saturday (after 2 hours of overtime)


Public Holidays


How to make payroll efficient with Workstem?

Simplify your payroll processes with Workstem’s all-in-one platform, handling onboarding, time and attendance, award interpretation, payroll, STP 2, superannuation and more.

Customise attendance entitlements, auto-track attendance data, streamline the payment process and keep compliance with Fair Work award through our AI Engine. Workstem provides a complete solution for efficient payroll management and regulatory compliance.


Q:Do children’s services employers be required to pay Award minimum wage?

A: Yes, the Award minimum wage is the minimum legal requirement that an employee must be paid if they are covered through the Children’s Services Award. Employers are legally bound to comply with this.

Q:How do employers pay employees not covered under an Award?

A: If a business owner is in the children’s services , but a particular employee is not covered by the Children’s Services Award, then either the FWC’s national minimum wage or the state minimum wage applies.

Read more: Children’s Services Award Guide [MA000120]