This is a follow up industrial update from our previous one dated the 16th February 2023.

The previous update dealt with your rights under the NSW Local Government State Award to annual salary assessment, the ability to progress through your salary range and your right to be given the information and training required to progress through the salary range for your position.

This update covers your right to higher grade pay as per Clause 11:

Clause 11. Payment For Relief Duties/Work

  1. An employee required to relieve in a position which is at a higher level within the salary system shall be paid for that relief. The rate to be paid shall be determined by considering the skills/experience applied by the employee relieving in the position but shall be at least the minimum rate for the position in accordance with the salary system except where the higher level skills have been taken into account within the salary of the relieving employee.
  2. Payment for use of skills relieving in a higher position shall be made for the time actually spent relieving in the higher position and is not payable when the relieving employee is absent on paid leave or an award holiday. An employee on annual leave or long service leave may be entitled to a higher rate of pay in accordance with the provisions of subclauses 22D(xi) and 22E(iii) (c) of this Award.
  3. An award employee who is required to relieve in a senior staff position, so designated under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW), shall be paid an appropriate rate of pay commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the relief work undertaken.

Quite often we hear that employees are performing higher grade work or are carrying out duties that are not part of their position description and are not receiving any higher grade pay. Some Position Descriptions may include the words “other duties as required”. Those unspecified other duties should have been identified when the position description was sized through a recognised job sizing mechanism such as OOSOFT for example, otherwise it cannot be demonstrated that these unspecified duties have been taken into consideration when the position was sized for placement within the salary system.

Position Descriptions cannot be validly assessed for placement within the Council/Employer’s salary system without identifying all of the duties and responsibilities that would ordinarily apply to the position.

The USU advises our members to request a copy of their current position description or at least the one that they were appointed under to check if it fully covers their normal current duties and responsibilities for their position, not including when they are being paid higher duties for relieving in a higher position.

If you are required to perform work outside of your position description, especially in filling in for higher duties, you should receive both recognition and payment unless it is clear that higher duties were factored into the salary range and that this payment can be identified within the salary range for the position.

What you should be paid

If you have been relieving in a higher grade position, you cannot be paid less than the entry level for the higher grade position, but you are entitled to be paid for the skill level that you have been relieving at. You can request to be assessed under the salary system for relief positions and are not just restricted to assessment for your normal role.

This is also important when you have been assessed in a higher grade relief position if and when the higher grade position becomes vacant and you apply for it, as having proof that you have been assessed and have progressed above the entry level salary for the position demonstrates suitability for the role.

You are also entitled to payment for all time spent relieving in a position under the Award and don’t have to act in a higher position for a minimum period unless in the rare case that the employer can demonstrate that paid recognition is already being applied to cover short-term higher-grade relief work.

Higher Grade Pay While on Annual Leave and Long Service Leave applies if you have worked an aggregate of at least 6 months higher grade in the preceding 12-month period, in which case you are entitled to the average hourly rate of pay received during the previous 12-month period.

If you are not being paid higher grade pay when carrying out duties and/or responsibilities which are not in your current position description, especially when you believe they are of a higher grade you should contact the USU and your allocated local USU Organiser for advice and assistance.

A good example of this occurs when a more senior person is on leave or has left the organisation and you are then required to take on some of or all of their duties with little to no recognition. In such cases it should be fairly easy for the USU to argue your case or we may be able to get your position description updated and then it must be put through a job size assessment process to determine if the position salary grade or range should be increased.

If you are a current member of the USU or wish to join, we invite you to contact us for advice and assistance.

We ask that our members circulate this update and message to your fellow workers.

Better pay to help meet your cost of living pressures may only be a phone call or membership application away and REMEMBER UNION FEES ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Please contact us at 1300 136 604 or join at

Or speak to your local USU Delegate to get your allocated USU Organiser’s contact details.