Legal Services Award

[Australasian Law Management Journal,Legal Service Award] January 6, 2016


Minimum rates for Levels 1 to 6

As from 1 July, 2015, new minimum rates apply for the Legal Services Award. These are payable in the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July, 2015. Please note, this year Fair Work has advised that weekly rates need to be rounded to the nearest 10 cents, and this means the weekly rates are not increased by exactly 2.5 per cent.

Minimum for a graduate working 38 hours per week

The minimum weekly pay rate for law graduates undertaking a traineeship is now $882.80 for a 38-hour working week and this is an annual minimum of $50,884.59 (including leave loading and 9.5 per cent superannuation).

Entitlement to overtime rates if paid minimum and working more than 38 hours

It is important to be aware that award-covered employees being paid the minimum rate are entitled to overtime rates if they always work more than the standard 38 hours per week.

As an example, if a graduate lawyer (Level 5) always works 8.30am to 6pm with a half hour for lunch (45 working hours per week), they are entitled to a minimum annual salary of approximately $62,593.31.  They would be entitled to more additional pay if they regularly worked weekends.

Junior rates of pay

Employees aged 20 or less can be paid junior rates of pay. These rates are a percentage of the adult rates of pay as stipulated in the Legal Services Award.

Age %
Under 16 years 45
16 years 50
17 years 60
18 years 70
19 years 80


For further information, the Legal Services Award can be found at

The Fair Work Pay Guide for the Legal Services Award can be found at

New national minimum pay rate

Award free adult employees must be paid a minimum of $656.90 per week or $17.29 per hour.  For further information, please visit

High income threshold for 2015-16

From 1 July, 2015, the high income threshold increases to $136,700, meaning employees who are award free and earning less than this can make unfair dismissal claims. The same figure is used for guarantees of annual earnings. The high income threshold does not include all amounts paid to an employee. The compulsory 9.5 per cent superannuation, bonuses or overtime payments are examples of what is not included.

Unfair dismissal compensation limit

The compensation limit under unfair dismissal is 26 weeks and the maximum increases to $68,350.

Tax-free threshold for redundancy payments and early retirement schemes

These rates have increased from 1 July, 2015, to $9780 plus $4891 for each year of completed service. For further information, please visit


This Superannuation Guarantee Levy remains at 9.5 per cent for employees.

Prepared by Kriss Will, Kriss Will Consulting Pty Ltd

25 June 2015

Disclaimer: Information provided here is intended to be of a general nature. No reader should rely on it without undertaking their own research or seeking expert HR and/or legal advice.