Gardening & Landscaping Award Summary

In this article, we detail some of the key provisions of the Gardening & Landscaping Award including what it covers for employers and employees throughout Australia who are wholly or principally engaged in the “gardening & landscaping industry”.

HR Connect advises a large number of organisations in this sector and has produced this Gardening & Landscaping Award Summary to help employers cut through the complexities of the award.

If you require any assistance in understanding your rights or obligations under the Award, please contact us.

 

Table of Contents

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COVERAGE
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CLASSIFICATION LEVELS & MINIMUM RATES OF PAY
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TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT
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ORDINARY HOURS OF WORK AND ROSTERING
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WHEN OVERTIME APPLIES
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OVERTIME RATES
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TIME OFF IN LIEU ("TOIL")
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BREAKS
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ALLOWANCES
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SUPERANNUATION
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PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
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LEAVE
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NOTICE OF TERMINATION
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REDUNDANCY PAY
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RATES OF PAY
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COVERAGE
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CLASSIFICATION LEVELS & MINIMUM RATES OF PAY
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TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT
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ORDINARY HOURS OF WORK AND ROSTERING ARRANGEMENTS
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WHEN OVERTIME APPLIES
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OVERTIME RATES
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TIME OFF IN LIEU ("TOIL")
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BREAKS
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ALLOWANCES
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SUPERANNUATION
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PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
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LEAVE
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NOTICE OF TERMINATION
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REDUNDANCY PAY
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RATES OF PAY

Coverage

The Gardening and Landscaping Services Award 2020 is an industry award designed to cover employers in the gardening and landscaping services industry.

“Gardening and landscaping services industry” is defined by the Award to mean:

  • the design, preparation and installation of:
    • pavements
    • landscape features, and/or
    • associated lawns and gardens in parklands, public domain and recreation areas
  • maintenance or horticultural establishment work (following practical completion of work)
  • the laying-out, construction, cultivation or keeping in order of gardens in connection with private houses
  • landscape and environmental rehabilitation and restoration works on private or public lands, or
  • the preparation and maintenance of gardens and grounds including related turf and renovation works in sports fields.

The Award is intended to cover most roles in a gardening and landscaping business, however does not cover purely clerical/administrative roles (for example a bookkeeper employed by a gardening business, such an employee would probably be covered by the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020).

It’s also important to check other industry awards which may be better suited to the work being performed such as Building and Construction General Onsite Award or the Hospitality Industry General Award (which has coverage for gardeners working at hotels).

 

Classification Levels & Minimum Rates of Pay

The Award sets out various different classification levels for employees, which in turn dictate their different rates of pay. We set out the different classifications below.

 

Introductory level

Employees at this level are typically in an entry level role and are undertaking training for a period of not more than 3 months which may include information on the workplace, conditions of employment, introduction to supervisors and fellow workers, training and career path opportunities, workplace layout, work and documentation procedures, work health and safety, equal employment opportunity and quality control/assurances.

An employee at this level performs routine duties essentially of a manual nature and to the level of their training:
(a) performs general labouring and cleaning duties;
(b) exercises minimal judgemen;
(c) works under direct supervision;
(d) undertakes training so as to enable them to work at Level 1; and
(e) assists on trade works and routine landscape tasks.

 
Level 1

Employees at this level perform simple or routine tasks essentially of a manual nature and to the level of their training:
(a) exercises minimal skills, knowledge and decision-making;
(b) works under direct supervision, and is given regular direction or guidance and results are constantly monitored; and
(c) undertakes general gardening/landscaping duties.

 

Level 2

Employees at this level perform work beyond the skills of a Level 1 employee and to the level of their skills, competence and training:
(a) works in accordance with standard operating procedures and established criteria;
(b) works under direct supervision either individually or in a team environment;
(c) understands and undertakes basic quality control/assurance procedures including the ability to recognise basic quality deviations/faults;
(d) understands and utilises basic statistical process control procedures;
(e) follows safe work practices and can report workplace hazards;and
(f) uses, and performs routine maintenance on, gardening tools and equipment.

 

Level 3

An employee at this level will have completed a course in horticulture at a recognised training institution and perform work above and beyond the skills of an employee at Level 2 and to the level of their skills, competence and training:
(a) is responsible for the quality of their own work subject to routine supervision;
(b) works under routine supervision either individually or in a team environment;
(c) exercises discretion within their level of skills and training;
(d) assists in the provision of on-the-job training; and
(e) is experienced in gardening work and has demonstrated competence in plant and lawn maintenance and development, tree and shrub identification and the use and care of lawn mowers, edging machines and rotary hoes.

 

Level 4

An employee at this level will have completed a satisfactory period of apprenticeship in horticulture and possesses a recognised trade qualification, or they would have completed a Parks and Gardens Certificate III, a Landscaping Certificate III, a Greenkeeping Certificate III or equivalent. Alternatively, the employee may possess not less than 3 years’ experience in practical horticulture as well as the skills, knowledge and experience to perform work within the scope of this level. They will also perform work beyond the requirements of a level 3 employee and;
(a) understands and applies quality control techniques;
(b) exercises good interpersonal and communications skills;
(c) exercises discretion within the scope of this classification level;
(d) performs work under limited supervision either individually or in a team environment;
(e) performs work which while primarily involving the skills of the employee’s trade is incidental or peripheral to the primary task and facilitates the completion of the whole task. Such incidental or peripheral work would not require additional formal technical training; and
(f) is able to inspect products and/or materials for conformity with established operational standards.

 

Level 5

An employee at this level is a trade qualified person who has completed relevant post trade training at Certificate IV or Diploma level from a recognised Registered Training Organisation, or holds a trade certificate and/or possesses the skills, knowledge and experience to perform work within the scope of this level.
An employee at this level performs work above and beyond a Level 4 employee, and to the level of their skills, competence and training:
(a) works from complex instructions and procedures;
(b) assists in the provision of on-the-job training;
(c) co-ordinates work in a team environment or works individually under general supervision; and
(d) is responsible for assuring the quality of their own work.

Furthermore, an employee at this level may be in charge of gardens, engaged in maintenance and/or development of suburban areas, parks, gardens and specialised horticultural construction work.

A summary of hourly rates payable to all levels of employee is set out in Schedule B to the Award. Lower rates are paid for junior employees (less than 21 years of age) and apprentices.

 

Types of Employment

Employees under the Gardening and Landscaping Award will be employed in one of the following categories:

(a) full-time;
(b) part-time; or
(c) casual.

 
Full-time employees

Full-time employees are engaged to work an average of 38 ordinary hours per week.

 

Part-time employees

Part-time employees work an average of less than 38 ordinary hours per week.

The Award says the employer must inform a part-time in writing at the start of their employment about their regular pattern of work specifying: 

  • the number of hours to be worked each day
  • which days of the week the employee will work
  •  the actual starting and finishing times each day

These hours can only be varied in writing by mutual agreement.

 

Casual employees

Casual employees generally work irregular hours.

Casual employees are entitled to a 25% loading on the minimum hourly rate set out in the Award. The casual loading is paid instead of annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, notice of termination and redundancy benefits.

The minimum engagement per shift for casual employees is 3 hours.

Casual employees who work regular hours are entitled to convert to permanent employment after 12 months of employment (subject to certain exceptions) – see our guidance here.

 

Gardening & Landscaping Services Award 2020 Summary

Ordinary hours of work and rostering

Ordinary hours of work are a maximum of 38 hours a week, or an average of 38 hours per week, averaged over a 4 week cycle in accordance with clause 13.4 of the Award.

The maximum number of ordinary hours that can be worked in a day is 10.

The spread of time in which ordinary hours can be worked are as follows:

DAYS  SPREAD OF ORDINARY HOURS 
Monday to Friday Inclusive  6.00 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday 6.00 am – 12.00 pm 

Hours worked outside of ordinary hours are overtime (see further below).

 

Rostered days off

Clause 13.4 of the Award says that an employer can operate a system of rostered days off by one of the following methods:

(i) by fixing one weekday in a particular working cycle on which all employees will be off; or

(ii) by rostering employees off on various days in a particular work cycle so that each employee has one day off during that cycle; or

(iii) by any other method which best suits the workplace and is agreed to by the employer and a majority of employees affected.

The Award also provides as follows:

  • Where any rostered day off prescribed by clause 13.4 falls on a public holiday according to the NES, the next working day will be taken instead of the rostered day off unless an alternative day in that 4 week cycle or the next is agreed in writing between the employer and the employee.
  • Where agreement has been reached between the employee and employer, up to 10 rostered days off may be accumulated and taken at an agreed time.
  • Each day of paid leave taken (except a rostered day off) and any public holiday according to the NES occurring during any cycle of 4 weeks will be regarded as a day or part-day worked for accrual purposes.

 

Water restrictions

The Award says that where an employer is subject to water restrictions,the employer may require any employee to perform their ordinary hours of work at any time on any day other than a Saturday after 12 noon or on a Sunday.

Where the ordinary hours are performed outside the spread of hours specified above, those hours will be paid at 150% of the ordinary hourly rate for full-time and part-time employees and 175% for casual employees.

Even when water restrictions apply, any work performed after 12 noon on a Saturday, and any time worked on a Sunday will be considered overtime.

 

When overtime applies

Full-time and part-time employees

Overtime is payable whenever work is performed:

  • In excess of 10 ordinary hours per day
  • In excess 38 ordinary hours per week
  • Outside the “spread of ordinary hours” listed below

Unlike many awards, the Gardening and Landscape Award does not say that part-time employees receive overtime rates for working outside their agreed regular pattern of work. We therefore take the view that part-time employees can be paid ordinary hourly rates for hours worked outside their regular agreed hours, so long as they are worked within the “spread of ordinary hours” listed above and do not exceed 10 hours a day or 38 hours per week, etc.

 

Casual employees

Overtime rates are payable when a casual employee works:

  • In excess of 10 ordinary hours per day
  • In excess of 38 ordinary hours in a week
  • Outside of the “spread of ordinary” hours listed above

 

Overtime rates

The overtime rate payable to an employee depends on the time at which the overtime is worked:

WHEN OVERTIME IS WORKED   FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME EMPLOYEES (based on ordinary hourly rate) CASUAL EMPLOYEES (based on the ordinary hourly rate)*
The first 2 hours – Monday to Sunday 150%  175%
After 2 hours – Monday to Sunday 200% 225%
Public Holidays 250% 275%

 

Gardening & Landscaping Services Award 2020 Summary

Time off in Lieu (“TOIL”)​

An employer and employee may agree in writing to an employee taking time off instead of being paid for overtime work. 

The period of time off that an employee is entitled to take is equivalent to the period of overtime they worked. For example, an employee who worked two (2) overtime hours at time-and-a-half is entitled to two (2) hours’ time in lieu.

Where there is an agreement for time off in lieu, this must: 

  • Be agreed to in writing and must state
    • the number of overtime hours to which it applies and when those hours were worked;
    • that the employer and employee agree that the employee may take time off instead of being paid for the overtime;
    • that, if the employee requests at any time, the employer must pay the employee, for overtime covered by the agreement but not taken as time off ,at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked in the next pay period;
  • Be taken within 6 months of the overtime being worked at a time agreed by employee and employer

 

  •  

Breaks

The Award provides for the following entitlements to breaks:

Break

Entitlement

Other provisions

Unpaid meal break

Minimum 30 minutes, to be taken no later than 5 hours after starting work

An employee required to work through their normal meal break will be paid 150% of their ordinary hourly rate until they receive the full meal break.

Overtime breaks 

Where an employee is required to work at least 1.5hrs of overtime, the employee will be allowed a meal break of 20 minutes after ordinary hours before starting overtime, paid at the ordinary hourly rate.

There is also an entitlement to a 20 minute paid break after each 4 hours of overtime worked (so long as overtime is continuing thereafter), paid at the relevant overtime rate.

An employer and employee may agree to extend the meal break before starting overtime

E.g. where both parties agree to increase the break between ordinary hours and starting overtime to 30 minutes, noting the employee will only be paid for 20 minutes.

Rest breaks

10 minutes paid break each morning or at an appropriate time if water restrictions are in place.

An employer and employee may reach an agreement for an additional rest break. This rest break will be unpaid and will not be included in the employee’s ordinary hours of work.

 

Allowances

The Award provides for the payment of various allowances. The leading hand allowance and the tool allowance are classified as “all purposes allowances” meaning that they are included in calculations of entitlements such as overtime, penalty rates, etc.

The rates of allowances frequently change, the current value of all allowances is listed in Schedule C to the Award.

 

Leading hand allowance

A leading hand allowance is paid according to the number of persons an employee is in charge of per week.

 

Vehicles and/or plant allowance

Employees must paid this allowance when required to drive a work vehicle (which requires a licence for a truck or tractor) or operate plant in the course of their work, but not when the employee merely assists a fitter or engineer to do such.

 

First aid allowance

An employee holding a first aid qualification from St John Ambulance or equivalent and who is appointed by the employer to perform first aid duties must be paid a first aid allowance allowance

 

Tool allowance

Tradespersons must be paid a tool allowance, for all purposes of the award.

This allowance does not apply where the employer provides all the tools reasonably required by the tradesperson to perform all the functions of the tradesperson’s employment.

 

Vehicle allowance

Employees will be paid per kilometre allowance when directed by the employer to use the employee’s motor vehicle for any purpose. The time spent travelling will be paid for at ordinary rates provided that an employee will not be paid more than an ordinary day’s wages for any time not exceeding 24 hours spent in travelling.

 

Meal allowance

An employee must be paid a meal allowance per occasion when required to work overtime:

(i) for 1.5 hours or more immediately after the completion of their ordinary hours of work on an ordinary working day;or

(ii) immediately after the completion of 8 hours of work on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.

 

Clothing and equipment allowance

An employee who is required to wear protective clothing (e.g. oilskins, gumboots, overalls, goggles, safety boots, bowling shoes etc.) must be reimbursed by the employer for the cost of purchasing the special clothing and equipment. 

The Award says the following provisions also apply unless clothing and equipment is paid for by the employer:

(i) If a uniform must be worn, the employer will provide the employee with a uniform at the commencement of employment, to be replaced on a fair wear and tear basis.

(ii) The employer may deduct an agreed amount from the wages due to an employee over 18 years old to cover the cost of the initial uniform issue.

(iII) The employee will have that amount reimbursed by the employer when the employee returns the uniform on termination of employment or at the expiration of 6 months from the commencement of employment.

 

Travel and accommodation allowance

An employee who is required to work away from their usual place of residence, will be provided reasonable board and lodging or the employer will pay the demonstrable cost of such lodging.

An employee who is required to work away from their usual place of employment will, at the direction of the employer, present themselves for work on the job at the usual starting time.

For all time reasonably spent in reaching and returning from such a job in excess of the time normally spent in travelling,they will be paid travel time at the ordinary rate of pay and fares reasonably incurred in excess of those normally incurred in travelling between home and the depot.

 

Superannuation

In addition to the normal requirements regarding superannuation, an employer must make superannuation contributions in the following circumstances: 

  • whilst the employee is on any paid leave, or when the employee is away from work due to work-related injury or illness; and
  • For any period during which the employee absent from work due to work-related injury or work-related illness (up to a maximum of 52 weeks) provided that:
    •  the employee is receiving workers compensation payments or regular payments directly from the employer in accordance with any statutory requirements, and
    • the employee remains employed by the employer.

 

Public holidays

Public holiday entitlements are provided for in the NES which state that full-time and part-time employees who would ordinarily work on a day that is a public holiday are entitled to be absent on that day and be paid at their base rate of pay.

An employer and employee may also agree to substitute another day for a day that would otherwise be a public holiday under the NES. 

Where an employee works on a public holiday or a substituted day that must be paid at 250% of the minimum hourly rate (275% for casuals). The minimum engagement on a public holiday is 4 hours’ work.

 

Leave

Annual leave

Annual leave is provided for in the NES, i.e. permanent employees get four weeks’ annual leave.

Permanent employees who are regularly rostered to work on Sundays and public holidays in a business in which shifts are continuously rostered 24 hours a day for 7 days a week are considered shiftworkers and are entitled to five weeks’ annual leave.

 

Annual leave loading

Employees are entitled to be paid an annual leave loading whenever they take annual leave of the greater of:

  • 17.5% of the applicable minimum rate set by the Award of pay; or
  • the weekend penalty/shiftwork rates they would have earned during the period of annual leave. 

 

Annual leave in advance

The Award provides for employees and employers to agree for annual leave to be taken in advance of it accruing, this agreement needs to be in writing and any annual leave owing to be deducted from an employee’s termination pay.

 

Excessive annual leave accruals

The Award permits employers to require employees with excessive annual leave accruals to take annual leave as directed. However, this is subject to strict rules including:

  1. An employer can only require an employee to take annual leave where the employee has accrued more than 8 weeks paid annual leave (or 10 weeks paid annual leave for a shiftworker).
  2. the employee cannot be required to take leave where it would mean they would have less than 6 weeks annual leave left
  3. the employer must not require the employee to take any period of paid annual leave of less than one week
  4. the employer must not require the employee to take a period of paid annual leave beginning less than 8 weeks, or more than 12 months, after the direction is given.

 

Annual close-down

The Award allows for an employer to require a permanent employee to take annual leave as part of a close-down of its operations (e.g. a Christmas closedown), by giving at least one months’ notice.

The Award currently provides that if the employee does not have sufficient annual leave accrued the employer is able to place the employee on unpaid leave for the duration of the close down, however this practice will be outlawed from 1 May 2023. See our guidance here.

 

Cashing out of annual leave

Cashing out of annual leave is permitted by the Award so long as the rules in the Award are adhered to including:

  1. There is a written agreement between the employer and employee;
  2. The agreement must not result in the employee’s remaining accrued entitlement to paid annual leave being less than 4 weeks.
 
Personal/carer’s leave

Personal/carer’s leave is as provided for in the NES (i.e. ten days paid leave for full-time employees, pro-rata for part-time employees).

 
Parental leave, compassionate leave, community service leave, family and domestic violence leave

All such leave is as is provided for in the NES.

 
Long service leave

Long service leave (including for casual employees) is provided for in relevant State-based legislation.

 

Notice of termination

The Award stipulates a permanent employee must provide the employer notice of termination in line with the below table, according to their period of continuous service:

Employee’s period of continuous service with the employer at the end of the day the notice is given  Period of notice 
Less than 1 year 1 week
More than 1 year but less than 3 years  2 weeks 
More than 3 years but less than 5 years  3 weeks 
More than 5 years  4 weeks 

Employers are required to provide the same amount (or payment in lieu) of notice of termination of an employee, plus an additional week of notice for employees over 45 years of age who have completed at least 2 years of service when they receive the notice. 

 

Deduction from wages for insufficient notice given

Under the Award, an employer can deduct from wages due to the employee an amount that is no more than one week’s wages if the employee is:

  • Over 18 years old and
  • Fails to provide the minimum notice requirements set out above

 

Redundancy Pay

Redundancy pay is provided for as per the NES, meaning employers with 15 or more employees must make a redundancy payment to permanent employees with 12 months service or more, in accordance with the table at section 119 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

In a redundancy situation the Award also provides for employees to take paid time off to look for work and for the employee to elect to leave during the notice period.

 

Rates of pay

Rates of pay

As at 1 July 2023; please note the rates are the minimum ordinary rates of pay as outlined within the Award. Please see here. Please refer to the relevant Fair Work Ombudsman pay guide for other applicable rates such as overtime, penalty rates or allowances.

 

Adult – Full-Time & Part-Time Rates

Classification Weekly pay rate Hourly pay rate
Introductory level $812.60 $21.38
Level 1 $834.80 $21.97
Level 2 $865.20 $22.77
Level 3 $903.50 $23.78
Level 4 $940.90 $24.76
Level 5 $970.40 $25.54

 

Adult – Casual Rates

Classification Hourly pay rate
Introductory level $26.73
Level 1 $27.46
Level 2 $28.46
Level 3 $29.73
Level 4 $30.95
Level 5 $31.93

 

Gardening & Landscaping Services Award 2020 Summary

How HR Connect can help

If you require assistance with dealing with disciplinary issues concerning staff, HR Connect can help. Our HR Advisors will be able to guide you through each step of the disciplinary process and we have template documents (e.g. direction to attend a disciplinary meeting, written warning, letter of termination, etc) available as part of our subscription packages.

 

About HR Connect

HR Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of HR & workplace safety advice services, designed to help small business owners make confident and compliant business decisions.  

Disclaimer

The information provided in these knowledge base articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact HR Connect for advice. The information in this summary is correct as of August 2021.   This knowledge base article will change over time, as Modern Award legislation relating to this Industry or Occupation is passed by the Fair Work Commission. Originally published on 21 September 2021 and last updated on 18 February 2022.

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