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Game Journalist Wages & Conditions

All Australian journalists are entitled to the minimum wages and conditions of the Journalists Published Media Award.

Thanks to the hard work of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Award now has been expanded to explicitly cover journalists who work for digital publications – which means game journalists like you!

The National Employment Standards (NES) also apply to all Australian employees.

This page will help you understand how both the Award and the NES apply to you as a game journalist.

The information on this page is designed for anybody working in game journalism who is an employee (not a freelancer/independent contractor).

If you are a freelancer/independent contractor, please refer to our page on game journalist contractor rates where we have provided information from many of the major Australian outlets.

Wages

Please note:

  • These figures are current as of 1 July 2021. They may change on 1 July 2022.
  • These figures are for employees of digital publications.
  • For print publications, refer to the Award or contact us for assistance.
  • The annual salary does not include leave loading, which is paid at an additional 17.5% for each week of leave.
ClassificationMinimum Annual Salary (full time)Minimum Hourly Rate (full-time and part-time)Minimum Hourly Rate (casual)
BAND 1
Level 1$51,038.00$25.83$32.29
Level 2$52,468.00$26.55$33.19
Level 3$54,724.80$27.69$34.61
Level 4$56,191.20$28.44$35.55
Level 5$57,652.40$29.18$36.48
Level 6$60,611.20$30.67$38.34
Level 7$63,258.00$32.01$40.01
BAND 2
Level 8$66,211.60$33.51$41.89
Level 9$70,605.60$35.73$44.66
Level 10$75,020.40$37.97$47.46
BAND 3
Level 11$77,235.60$39.09$48.86
Level 12$86,788.00$43.92$54.90
Level 13$97,068.40$49.12$61.40

Experience has value. Your wage should increase every year!

Do I have to receive these wages?

Yes, or better! If you are an employee (not a freelancer) you cannot be paid less than this, even if you agreed to it.

If you have signed an employment agreement with wages lower than this, that agreement may be illegal. If this is happening to you, speak to your union.

What level is right for me?

There are three broad ‘bands’ in the Award. Your specific level within that band reflects your skill, experience and capabilities.

  • Band 1 employees are entry-level employees who work under broad supervision and ascend in levels as they increase in skill and receive more training and experience.
  • Band 2 employees have advanced skills and wide practical experience. They are capable of working independently and exercising good judgement.
  • Band 3 employees have the highest level of skill and responsibility. They exercise experienced judgement and have outstanding levels of individual accomplishment.

The definitions in the Award are somewhat vague and it can be up to you and your employer to discuss and agree on what is appropriate. Join your union so they can assist in representing you during this discussion!

Entitlements

It’s worth thinking about more than just your salary when looking at your job. You are also entitled to:

  • Minimum superannuation of 10% (even for casuals)
  • Minimum four weeks paid annual leave per year (paid at an additional 17.5% of your base rate)
  • Ten days paid personal leave (sick leave) per year
  • Ten days unpaid personal leave per year
  • Unpaid community service leave (on agreement with your employer)
  • Protection from unfair dismissal
  • Severance pay and redundancy pay
  • Twelve months of unpaid parental leave, once you have been working for your employer for a year

PRO TIP: Just like your wages, you and your employer can negotiate for better entitlements than these (for example, six weeks of annual leave) but these are the legal minimum.

Overtime

If you work more than 38 hours in a week, you must be compensated for it in some way. There is no such thing as unpaid overtime under Australian low.

The rules for overtime are provided for in Clause 18 of the Award. Unless you negotiate a superior agreement with your employer in your contract that leaves you better off, those rules apply.

You have the right to refuse unsafe work!

You have the legal right to refuse overtime if it’s unsafe, unreasonable or excessive. You can not be fired for doing so.

This includes when you are required to care for family members who need you, or if it would be unsafe for you to continue to work due to illness or fatigue.

Disclaimer

This is intended to be a short, readable summary. This means some details have been excluded for readability. If you would like more information, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

If you are in trouble at work, join your union immediately.