Nurses Award

What is the Nurses Award?

The Nurses Award is a standard of pay that sets out the minimum pay rates, conditions, and entitlements for nurses in Australia.

It applies to businesses that employ nurses and persons who directly assist nurses in providing nursing care and nursing services.

While some public and private sector nurses have pay negotiated through other instruments, the Award serves as a guiding tool for those who are covered by it.

It’s important for employers to follow the Award to the letter of the law to avoid underpayment and potential fines or brand damage.

Who is entitled to the Nurses Award?

The Nurses Award covers employers in the health industry who provide health and medical services and employ nurses and their assistants to deliver nursing care and services. This includes:

  • nursing assistants
  • enrolled nurses
  • student enrolled nurses
  •  registered nurses
  • nurse practitioners
  • occupational health nurses

The Award also covers labour hire businesses and their employees who are placed with the health industry as a nurse or midwife.

Therefore, those who are employed as nurses or midwives by eligible employers in the health industry are entitled to the Nurses Award.

To determine whether your staff fall under the Nurses award, it’s recommended to visit the Fair Work website.

Nurses pay rates

Workstem has developed a comprehensive guide to help compliance with the Nurses Industry 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 Nurses award.

Full-time and part-time employees

  • Ordinary and penalty rates

Minimum hourly rate

Monday to Friday Saturday Sunday

Public holiday

Afternoon shift

Night shift

% of minimum hourly rate

100% 112.5% 115% 150% 175%


  • Overtime rates

Monday to Saturday


Public holiday

First 2 hours

After 2 hours

% of minimum hourly rate

150% 200% 200%


Casual employees

  • Ordinary and penalty rates

Casual hourly rate

Monday to Friday Saturday Sunday

Public holiday

Afternoon shift

Night shift

% of minimum hourly rate

% of casual hourly rate1


137.5% 140% 150% 175%


* 1 The casual hourly rate is defined in clause 2—Definitions.

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 Nurses 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 Nurses 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 Health industry, but a particular employee is not covered by the Nurses award, then either the FWC’s national minimum wage or the state minimum wage applies.

Read more: Nurses Award Guide [MA000034]