3.3% Minimum Wage Rise Effective July 2017

The Fair Work Commission has released its annual review of the Minimum National Wage with a flow-on to the pay rate for apprentices, effective from the first pay period in July 2017.  The increase is 3.3% across the board for all Year levels of apprentice bricklayer and represents a lift in weekly rates by $22.20 on the minimum wage. This translates to a rise from $17.70 to $18.29 an hour or $694.90 a week at that level.

Little Brick StudioThis pay rate increase for bricklaying apprentices should be an incentive for employers to take time out to review the training package you provide, to ensure that the apprentice(s) is receiving training that will help deliver a quality bricklaying team as fast as possible and for the future.  High skill levels and a high productivity rate go a long way towards ensuring a profitable business.

It’s important that the apprentice spends time on the trowel in the first year to learn and improve the hand skills of laying bricks and blocks as well as learning labouring skills such as mixing a batch of mortar and loading up the job.

It takes a couple of weeks for Fair Work to release the full details but ABBTF will release a newsletter to employers and to apprentices carrying full details of the change, as soon as they are available.  Both websites, ABBTF and Become-a-Bricklayer will carry the same updated information as soon as possible.


6 Responses to “3.3% Minimum Wage Rise Effective July 2017”

  1. Jamie

    You guys are kidding your self right? I as a boss take home what I was on, working for some one else! Except now I have paperwork coming out of my arse, I have to train my apprentice and I have to own, store and maintain a ton of tools and machinery, whilst I have to consistently lay high amount of bricks per day. Why don’t you look into putting price of bricks up in order to keep good trades ppl in the industry? I won’t be putting apprentices on ever again the way you lot are going! Too hard a job for minimal reward as an employer = getting out of trade! Simple

    • BAB

      Thanks for your comment. There is wide recognition that the current Minimum Award wage is not adequate and as a result the Fair Work Commission has made the judgement that a 3.3% rise in the Minimum Wage will go some way to improving the position of 2.3 million workers who are reliant on the national minimum wage and modern award minimum wages (including the lesser apprentice training wage). I am sure you realise it is the decision of the Fair Work Commission not the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF).
      The decision as to whether you employ an Apprentice must be based on affordability, of course and on a judgement you make about investing in the future of the business. ABBTF strongly believes that investing in an Apprentice is essential to maintain the quality of workmanship in the team over time and therefore your ability to run a profitable business.
      I’d encourage you to make sure you’re accessing all the incentives and support attached to employing an Apprentice, starting with a review of subsidies at abbtf.com.au, calling your State ABBTF office and contacting your local Apprenticeship Network Provider.

      • Brett W

        Everything Jamie said there is spot on 100% correct, minimum wages for apprentices keep going up 2,3-4% every year and the bricklaying rates stay the same or in some cases go backwards due to lack of work about in some areas. Its getting beyond a joke, I’ve worked for myself for 10 years now and the only way you can make decent coin is to put on subbie brickies that know what they are doing. Ive had 2 apprentices through an employment agency in the past and man it was the hardest time financially in my life. (even though one was from a bricklaying background (father) and the other was just a real switched on kid that enjoyed the physical outdoor work) The ABBTF really need to take a hard look at what they can do to further support employers or the trade will be dead. Where i am here in vic there are prob 5-10 bigger gangs of bricks and prob the same in littler guys also and between all of these there wouldn’t be 5 apprentices. It really needs to be seriously considered as the Franchise home companies are starting to kill our industry. Maybe the ABBTF need to go to these building mobs (JG KIng, Metricon, Simmonds, Dennis Family, Bryan and Petersen, Watersons) ect and work out some sort of pay deal as what we are on at the moment is the same as it was when i first started my apprenticeship 15 years ago. How much has the minimum wage gone up since 2002? I’m not sure but i bet if you look at the difference then you will clearly see that its just not feesable to have apprentices on.


        • BAB

          Thanks for your comments. As you probably know, ABBTF has no control over the setting of the Minimum Wage at the annual Fair Work Ombudsman review or the fact that apprentice rates are set as a proportion of the minimum wage and these rates flow on to apprentices. The last three annual reviews saw wage growth of 2.5% 2.4% and in 2017, 3.3%, as part of a catch-up required to match the cost-of-living (CPI) movement over some years.
          I really do understand the challenge you faced in training the two apprentices you took on through an employment agency. It takes considerable experience in the trade to evaluate the suitability of a prospective candidate and I appreciate you don’t have the time to interview and trial 10 starters to find the right one. That is one task ABBTF has grabbed with open hands and, for three years or so now we’ve conducted an extensive vetting and trial process through our Work Ready Program in all markets to get the best crop of candidates on site. We’re getting higher retention rates and better recruits into the trade as a result and can help you find a better fit than you’ve had to date, so please give us a call if you’re game to try again. We’re also keen to assist with mentoring your apprentices, in association with the TAFE or RTO involved.
          There are a range of Subsidies available to support you in Victoria: The combined $7,000 from ABBTF and the Federal Government, plus a $2,000 incentive for employing a female apprentice (FAB), plus the potential for a 21-24 year old apprentice incentive (SAAB) and a potential Recommencement Bonus from ABBTF for out-of-trade apprentices. Call our Victorian Office on 1300 66 44 96 for further assistance on these. There is also a 25+ year old placement incentive from the Federal Government (Apprenticeship Network Provider 13 6348).
          We can’t solve all the problems, but I hear what you’re saying and will take it on board.
          CEO ABBTF

  2. Christo

    Hello bricklayers
    As a boss and someone in the game for almost 30 yrs I have always encouraged my 1st year apprentices to focus on the labouring aspects of the trade as it instills in them a good work ethic
    It is not all about laying bricks it is about not be afraid of hard work. Pushing the barrow for at least a year is what I recommend.the apprentice MUST NOT miss out his schooling and he should always be paid for it !!!
    There are a lot of shifty bosses that don’t pay while at school and they should be punished for that

    • BAB

      Hi Christo,
      I welcome your comments on the need to instill a strong work ethic in new apprentices and for reminding everyone on the importance of trade school attendance and adhering to the Fair Work Commission regulations on paying apprentices. We do have a process for identifying and responding to recalcitrant employers but we also use our Brickies Blog to remind apprentices who may be at risk to be aware of their rights and obligations as an apprentice and to keep records of their hours worked, in the event they need to raise this issue with their employer or to escalate it to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
      There was Research conducted by ABBTF in 2009 that is still relevant today, on why employers take on an apprentice. The top reasons why bricklayer employers take on an apprentice were (a) it makes good business sense (b) an apprentice is more likely to stay with an employer over the term of the apprenticeship (c) because the employer was an apprentice once and wants to see good young people skilled up in the trade and (d) because it costs less to employ an apprentice – a reason to start training them onsite, as early as it makes sense to you. Our experience in speaking with bricklayers across the trade is that getting the apprentice on the trowel from Day 1 keeps them enthusiastic and assists with retention because in minimises boredom.


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