Correction to Queensland Adult Modern Award Apprentice rate

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This update only applies to Queensland businesses that have employed an adult apprentice that commenced their training contract BEFORE 1 January 2014.
It is the case that the modern Electrical Contracting Award included the provision for Queensland adult apprentice rates (clause 16.4(c)) from the commencement of the modern award with a sunset clause; meaning these provisions ceased to operate on 31 December 2014.
With the cessation of these Queensland only adult apprentice provisions, the lower rates from clause 16.4 (b)(ii) of the modern award would apply. These conditions provide for lower percentages of the grade 5 rate than the Queensland adult apprentice wage structure did.
However, an employee cannot suffer a unilateral reduction in their wages, and as such it is MEA’s recommendation that these Queensland adult apprentice wages should be treated as “frozen” at the applicable rate as at 31 December 2014, until such time that the applicable rate is higher. See below:


“Frozen” Rate

When frozen adult rate should be increased

1st Year


The last date to enter into an adult apprentice under these conditions would be 31 December 2013. From 1 January 2015 onwards no adult apprentice can be 1st year as wage progression is time based.

2nd Year


No increase would be applicable until the apprentice reaches 4th year. This rate would become the 4th year rate for apprentices who commenced their training contract before 1 January 2014 (i.e. 82%), with the relevant Federal Minimum Wage increases.

3rd Year


4th Year


On completion of apprenticeship, if the apprentice is offered ongoing employment they will be entitled to tradesperson rates.

The latest wage sheets released, effective from your first full pay period on or after 1 July 2015, applied a 2.5% wage increase to these Queensland adult apprentice rates in error. A correction to the Apprentice wage sheets is available here.
For those employers who have applied this wage increase, you can give your apprentice notice that you have applied a wage increase in error, that you will be ceasing to pay the increased rate and reverting back to the rate applying prior to July, which is now reflected on the updated wage sheets.
An employer cannot automatically deduct an overpayment from an employee’s wage. If you do seek to recover the overpayment you will need to enter into a written agreement with the employee to repay the amount. The written agreement should set out:

  • The reason for the overpayment
  • The amount of money overpaid
  • The way repayments will be made, and how often. 

This does not affect the wages of any new apprentices who have commenced their training contract with your business on or after 1 January 2014.
Please note: this does NOT relate to those employers who are covered by the Queensland State Award Preserved Conditions for Apprentices.
For further information on the changes to apprentice wages under the modern award contact the Workplace Relations team on 1300 889 198.