Many game developers believe that there are no minimum legal wages or conditions which apply to them in Australia. This is not true.
Games are software. Anybody involved with the design or creation of software falls under the Professional Employees Award 2010. This includes game developers, and yes before you ask – even artists and designers!
In addition, all Australians are entitled to the protections of the National Employment Standards (NES).
This page will help you understand how both the Award and the NES apply to you as a game developer. The wages and conditions on this page apply to anybody working in game development who is an employee (not an independent contractor).
If you are an independent contractor, this data might be helpful when it comes to setting your rates. More information about contractor rates for game development can be found here.
Figures are current as of 1 July 2019. Figures may change on 1 July 2020.
|Job Description||Minimum Annual Salary (full time)||Minimum Hourly Wage (permanent)||Minimum Hourly Wage (casual)|
|...with a 3 year qualification||$51,498||$26.06||$32.58|
|...with a 4 or 5-year qualification||$52,817||$26.73||$33.41|
|One year of experience||$53,704||$27.18||$33.97|
|Two years of experience||$55,940||$28.31||$35.39|
|Three years of experience||$58,773||$29.74||$37.18|
|Four years of experience||$60,574||$30.75||$38.43|
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 contractor) 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.
Do I need a tertiary qualification?
Not necessarily. The award allows for different combinations of a degree/diploma, and/or experience, and/or certification.
If you have a TAFE diploma or other qualification, you can still be covered.
GWU Australia can assist you in working out how to meet the qualifications.
It’s worth thinking about more than just your salary when looking at your job. You are also entitled to:
- Minimum superannuation of 9.5% (even for casuals)
- 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 & Crunch
If you work more than 38 hours in a week, you must be compensated for it. There is no such thing as “unlimited overtime without compensation” under Australian law.
Exactly how you are compensated is up to you and your employer to agree on, but you must be compensated.
Some ways that you could be compensated include:
- Substantially increasing your annual salary to make up for any overtime rates you would otherwise have received. A good starting point would be approximately 10%.
- Giving you a work vehicle, such as a car
- Paying overtime rates (you and your employer should decide on a rate)
- Paid time off in lieu (TOIL) equal to the amount of overtime worked
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.
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.