Fitness industry award review

Enterprise Legal’s Award Review Series – Chapter 1: The Fitness Industry

The majority of employers and industries in Australia are regulated by the National Award Scheme, which imposes minimum payment and other employment obligations on employers. Complying with the minimum conditions set out in these awards are non-negotiable. Just last month, Fair Work reportedly issued fines totalling $295,579 (excluding back-payments and unreported fines) for non-compliance.

In April, the Fair Work Ombudsman began auditing 1000 businesses across Australia as part of a new campaign to ensure employers have the ‘basics’ right in their workplaces. Consequently, now is the time for employers to ensure that they understand the wage rates applicable to their industry and the various classifications, allowances and penalty rates that apply to their staff or risk the wrath of Fair Work!

Over the next six months, Enterprise Legal will be assisting employers, by publishing a series of articles targeting six specific industries, answering common questions and addressing award-specific matters for that industry.

This month, we are addressing issues novel to the Fitness Industry – regulated by the Fitness Industry Award 2010 (mostly!). Here are our top tips: 

Crèche Staff

It is common for fitness centres to offer child-minding services to parents.

Child minders employed by fitness centres aren’t covered by an award. These employees are simply entitled to the national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards. Consequently, if you own a fitness centre, make sure that you are not unnecessarily over-paying your crèche staff. 

Accredited Exercise Physiologist Staff

Some fitness centres offer services provided by exercise physiologists to their members.

AEPs will usually fall under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010, which doesn’t prescribe for broken shifts (commonly used in the fitness industry) and other industry related practices.

Consequently, if employers want to impose the same practices on exercise physiologists as applies to their other staff, they may need to enter into individual flexibility agreements with their exercise physiologist employees.

Casual Staff and Weekend Work

Make sure you utilise and roster your casual staff on Weekends or Public Holidays. This is because full-time and part-time employees are entitled to significant penalty rates in these instances, whereas casual staff are only subject to an extra 5% casual loading. In a snapshot, it means that if you are employing a personal trainer, at say, classification level 4A:

your full-time employee will be entitled to $23.23 per hour (ordinary hours), $29.04 (Saturday ordinary hours), $34.85 (Sunday ordinary hours) and $58.08 (Public Holiday hours); and
your casual employee will be entitled to $29.04 per hour (ordinary hours) and $30.20 (Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday hours).

Broken Shifts

The Fitness Industry Award 2010 allows for broken shifts, as this is a common practice in the Fitness industry, but you must beware, it does place the following limitations on businesses:

  • A loading of 1.7% is applied to employees working a broken shift
  • The shift is not to be broken into more than two parts
  • The total length of the shift must not be less than three hours (excl. meal breaks)
  • The span of hours from the start of the first shift to the end of the second shift must not be more than 12 hours
  • A minimum 10-hour break must be given between when your staff finished their last shift and when they are due to start their next shift, otherwise they must be paid at double time for all hours worked until they have had a break from work of at least 10 hours

This can often severely restrict employers in the fitness industry, and even lead to employers disregarding the minimum conditions set out in an award. 


An employee at classification Level 4A or below in charge of employees must be paid a leading hand allowance on top of their hourly rate, as follows:

  • 1 to 5 3.0%
  • 6 to 10 4.1%
  • More than 10 5.5% 

Meal Breaks

An employee must be given an unpaid meal break of not less than 30 minutes and not more than 60 minutes, no later than five hours after commencing work and five hours after the end of their last meal break.

An employee required to work through a meal break must be paid double time for all time until a meal break complying with the Award requirements is allowed.

Some of the key practices restricted by an award and identified in this article can be overcome by entering into an ‘individual flexibility agreement’ with your employees – contact the Employment Law Team at Enterprise Legal to find out more about whether this option is appropriate for your business.

We can also review your employment contracts, undertake wage reviews and/or audit your work practices to ensure your business is fully compliant with all relevant awards and workplace laws.

We offer all of our employment services on a fixed fee basis, with full employment reviews usually starting from $3,300.00. Contact us today to get expert advice and an obligation free quote.

Disclaimer: This article attempts to provide a snapshot of key issues and practices in the fitness industry, it is not meant to be exhaustive and it may not apply in all circumstances.

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