The People in Dairy
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Pastoral Award 2010 (updated - applies 1 July 2016)

The Pastoral Award 2010 is a modern award created under the Fair Work Act. It commenced operation on 1 January 2010 and applies to all national system employers.

As of 1 January 2010, the only federal award which applies to the dairy industry is federal Pastoral Award 2010. However, there are special rules about when that award applies which depend on your business structure and award coverage as at 1 January 2010.
  • If your business was run by a company or a trust with a company as trustee as at 1 January 2010, the Pastoral Award 2010 applies to you as of that date regardless of which award covered you before then and regardless of whether you were award free.
  • If your business is not in Western Australia and is run by a sole trader, a partnership or trust which does not have a company trustee and was award free as at 1 January 2010, the Pastoral Award 2010 applies to you as of that date.
  • If your business is not in Western Australia and is run by a sole trader, a partnership or trust which does not have a company trustee and if your business was covered by a state award, and you employed employees as of 1 January 2010, the state award continued to apply until the end of the full pay period commencing before 1 February 2011. After that time the modern Pastoral Award 2010 applies.
  • If your business is not in Western Australia and is run by a sole trader, a partnership or trust which does not have a company trustee and if your business was covered by the federal Pastoral Industry Award 1998 as a transitional employer as at 1 January 2010, you are bound by the modern Pastoral Award 2010 as of 1 January 2010.
  • Reminder: Transitional arrangements which applied from 1 January 2010 ceased to apply as of 1 July 2014.

All non national system dairy farmers in Western Australia will be award free. This is because the Pastoral Industry Award 1998 ceased to operate as of 26 March 2011. The Pastoral Industry Award 1998 is no longer relevant, except for the purpose of determining entitlements such as sick leave and long service leave which accrued before 26 March 2011. 

External link
Visit the Fair Work Commission website and download the latest version of the Pastoral Award 2010 

you can also download a marked up version of the Pastoral Award with the relevant dairying sections and award classifications, highlighted in yellow. Do you have an ESKi folder? Replace the version in your folder with Pastoral Award 2010 (as at 1 July 2016).

If you want to know more about which award applies to your business go to which award?

National system employers should also refer to the National Employment Standards to understand how this impacts upon their application of this award.
There must be a copy of the award at the workplace
The Pastoral Award 2010 requires employers to keep a copy of the award on a noticeboard at or near the workplace or electronically, whichever is more easily accessible by employees. 

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Hours of work

Ordinary hours

Under the Pastoral Award 2010 ordinary hours are 152 hours worked over a four-week period. Ordinary hours for casuals are the same as for full-time employees. There are minimum hours of work for all part-time and casual employees.

For part-time employees the award specifies that the employer must roster the employee for a minimum of 3 hours on any shift. For casual employees the award specifies that on each occasion the casual attends for work they are entitled to a minimum payment of 3 hours work.- read this briefing note for more information.


Once the 152 hours have been worked, overtime is remunerated at the rate of time and a half for all hours worked with double time being paid for any work done on Sundays. Feeding and watering stock on Sundays is paid at the rate of time and one half. Milking is not regarded as 'feeding and watering stock'. 

Alternatively, the employee can elect to take time off duty with pay for a period equal to the overtime worked.

Overtime for casual employees is calculated the same way as for permanent employees. That is, overtime is not payable until 152 hours have been worked in a 4-week period regardless of the day the work is performed.

Part-time employees must be paid overtime rates for all work performed in excess of the agreed part-time hours.

Download: Overtime & Ordinary hours fact sheet which includes 2 example rosters and see how overtime can apply over a 4 week period. 

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Consultation about changes to regular rosters

As of 1 January 2014, clause 8 of the Pastoral Award has been amended to require employers to consult with employees when they propose to change regular rosters or ordinary hours of work.

The requirement to consult does not apply to employees who have irregular sporadic or unpredictable hours of work.

The consultation must provide the affected employee(s) with a genuine opportunity to attempt to persuade the employer to adopt a different course of action.

The employer must provide the affected employee(s) and if relevant, any union representative, with information about the proposed change, for example, details about the proposed change and when the proposed change is to begin. 

The employer must ask the affected employee(s) for their views about the proposed change and the impact of the change on them including any impact on family responsibilities.

The employer must then consider the views expressed by the employee(s) before a decision is made to implement the changes.

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Classifications and pay rates

The federal Pastoral Award 2010 creates five separate classifications for dairy farm employees with different rates of pay for each classification. The classifications reflect the experience and skills of employees or the tasks they perform.

The classifications are:

  • dairy operator grade 1A (farm and livestock hand level 1 - FLH1)
  • dairy operator grade 1B (farm and livestock hand level 3 - FLH3)
  • dairy operator grade 2 (farm and livestock hand level 5 - FLH5)
  • senior dairy operator grade 1 (farm and livestock hand level 7 - FLH7)
  • senior dairy operator grade 2 (farm and livestock hand level 8 - FLH8)
UPDATED July 2016: Determining employee classifications and pay rates
Classifications and the latest pay rates are available in our pay rates section. You may also like to download tackling pay rates
For pay rates for trainees, see Schedule C of the Pastoral Award

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Public holidays

Public holidays are provided for in the National Employment Standards (NES)

In addition to the NES, the Pastoral Award 2010 provides for farm and livestock hands to receive double time if they work on a public holiday.

If a public holiday falls when an employee is on annual leave, the employee is taken not to be on paid annual leave on that day. Instead the NES about public holidays will apply and the employee will be entitled to be paid for the public holiday at the employee's base rate of pay for ordinary hours of work

Calculation of penalty rates for casual employees
  • Penalty rates for casual employees are calculated on the ordinary time rate, not the loaded casual rate.
  • This means that the calculation for casual employees working public holidays is as follows: (2 x ordinary time rate) + (25% x ordinary time rate)

Substitution of other days

The Pastoral Award 2010 allows for employers and individual employees or employers and the majority of employees to agree to substitute an alternative day for the public holiday.  

Pay the correct rate on public holidays

Only one penalty applies at the one time. If a public holiday falls when an employee is on overtime - you pay the public holiday rate (200%) on the base rate, not the overtime rate.

Annual leave

Annual leave is provided for in the National Employment Standard 

The Pastoral Award 2010 provides for the employee to be paid the wages they would have received for ordinary  hours had they not been on annual leave. The Pastoral Award 2010 also provides for annual leave payment to be made before the employee goes on leave.

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Annual leave loading

In addition to the NES the Pastoral Award 2010 provides for payment of a 17.5% annual leave loading for all annual leave which is taken as leave or paid out upon termination of employment. 

Directing employees to take annual leave

The Pastoral Award 2010 provides for employers to direct employees who have at least 8 weeks accrued annual leave to take ¼ or less of their accrued annual leave. 

Before requiring the employee to take annual leave the employer must have genuinely tried to reach an agreement about the employee taking the leave. 

Employers must give employees at least 4 weeks notice of the requirement to take the annual leave.

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Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave

Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave are a part of the National Employment Standards

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Meal breaks and rest breaks

Under the Fair Work laws meal breaks and rest breaks are an award requirement.

The Pastoral Award 2010 provides for:

  • An unpaid meal break of not less than 30 minutes and not more than one hour to be taken not later than 5 hours after commencement of work.
    All work performed during a recognised meal break must be paid at double time rates with the payment continuing until the employee receives the meal break.
  • A paid rest break of at least 10 minutes each morning.

The employer and the individual employee can agree that the meal break be taken at another time. If employers and employees agree, a further unpaid rest break can be taken in the afternoon.

Award-free employees

Award-free employees should also be provided with rest breaks as part of an appropriate occupational heath and safety system in the workplace. It is suggested that the award provisions outlined above should also be applied for non-award employees.

Notice of termination

The National Employment Standards provide for notice of termination.

Employee notice

In addition to the NES, the Pastoral Award 2010 provides for employees to give the same amount of notice as employers and if they fail to give notice, employers can deduct money from the employee’s termination payments. However, employees do not have to give the additional week of notice based on the age of the employee and length of service.

Job search entitlement

Where an employer has given an employee notice of termination, the employee is entitled to take one day off without loss of pay to look for other work. The employee can take the day off at a time when it is convenient to the employee after consultation with the employer. 

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Individual Flexibility Agreements

Every modern Award must include a ‘flexibility term’ which enables employers and employees to agree to vary the effect of some award terms and put in place conditions of work which are tailor-made to suit the needs of their business and their employees. This is called an Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA).

Because IFAs stand in the place of the award terms which they modify, employers cannot be liable in the future for payment of those award entitlements.

The Fair Work Act ensures these arrangements do not undermine minimum employee entitlements by requiring the employer to ensure the employee covered by the IFA is 'better off overall' on the IFA compared to the modern award. Read more about IFAs.

Use these templates to create your own Individual Flexibility Agreement (updated April 2016); and an IFA letter of offer 

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Transitional arrangements

As of 1 July 2014, transitional arrangements which applied from 1 January 2010 no longer apply. All national system employers in Australia now pay the same award rates of pay 

Your state dairy farming organisation can also provide information on transitional pay arrangements

VIC: Victorian Farmers Federation - United Dairyfarmers of Victoria 
QLD: Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation
NSW: NSW Farmers Association - Dairy Committee
TAS: Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Assoc. - Dairy Council;Primary Employers Tasmania (for industrial relations)
SA: South Australian Dairyfarmers' Association
WA: WA Farmers Federation - Dairy Council

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