Many Australian game workers are employed under the Professional Employees Award, which historically has not included access to overtime payments or penalty rates. As has been repeatedly noted in our industry surveys, this situation regularly results in our members working long hours for no extra pay.
Thanks to the work of union members, this is about to change. The Fair Work Commission, after years of campaigning and submissions from Professionals Australia, has announced its decision to introduce overtime payments and penalty rates for workers covered by the Professional Employees Award, including many Australian game workers. Testimonials and evidence from Australian game workers were critical in the Fair Work Commission’s decision.
Read more about the changes on Professionals Australia’s press release.
When these changes come into effect, employers will be required to track hours worked by their employees and pay for any time worked over 38 hours in a week. Hours worked before 6:00 AM or after 10:00 PM will attract extra pay, as will any work on a Sunday or public holiday.
These new rules will not apply to anyone earning 25% or more than the minimum Award rate, as the extra 25% will be viewed as compensation for any overtime that may occur.
Our graduate and junior members who fall under the Professional Employees Award will be the biggest winners under these new rules, as many Australian games industry employers generally offer entry-level salaries at (or just above) Award minimums – with no overtime.
Low wages and no overtime are not good enough. We need jobs that allow us to support ourselves and have a great work-life balance. Changes like this are just one of the many ways that union members are fighting to build a better industry for all of us.
If you’re not a member of Game Workers Australia yet, join now and be a part of the movement which is changing the Australian games industry for the better.