Salary Packages

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NB: This article was written in October 2021 – please consult the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020 for up to date information and wage entitlements.

Most Veterinary Practices in Australia are subject to the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020. An Award sets minimum terms and conditions of employment. The Award is usually updated every July.

Additional measures have been added to the Award to apply during the COVID Pandemic.

The Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020 now covers Veterinary Surgeons, Practice Managers, Veterinary Nurses, Receptionists, Animal attendants and Assistants, and Animal care industry inspectors.

The Award covers arrangements such as, but not limited to those below:

  • minimum wage rates
  • allowances
  • payment for extra hours worked
  • on-call and provision for a communication system
  • rosters & RDOs
  • annual leave
  • CPD – continuing professional development
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Periods of notice, redundancy
  • Clothing for work
  • Travel and use of own vehicle
  • Meal breaks
  • Sick leave
  • Maternity leave
  • Public holidays
  • Dispute resolution

The terms and conditions of the Award must be complied with by the parties covered by the Award. However, employment arrangements can operate over and above the Award eg. An employment agreement can provide for a salary ‘package’ which exceeds the minimum salaries required, thus encompassing all other entitlements such as allowances, on-call work, extra hours etc.

Veterinary Surgeons (01 Jul 2021)

Classification Minimum annual salary
Minimum hourly rate
Level 1A (graduates) 54,329 27.49
Level 1B (after 6 months) 57,304 29.00
Level 2 (after 2 years) 61,908 31.33
Level 3 (experienced) 68,013 34.42
Level 4 (senior vet) 76,826 38.88

+ on call allowance $45.51 for each period of on call duty

+ at least the relevant hourly rate for any active on call

+ 80 cents/km reimbursement for practice use of private vehicle

+ Superannuation 10%


Locums may be engaged and paid as a casual employee. A casual employee must be paid at the hourly rate prescribed for the class of work performed, plus 25%.

Market Salary Rates

Because the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020 sets minimum salaries and terms of employment, market salary rates can vary across the country and between practices. Keeping an eye on job adverts can be a way of getting an idea of market salary rates, but many ads don’t mention salary levels. There is now a requirement for ads to include a salary range where they need to comply with advertising requirements for visa sponsorship. The most recent Kookaburra Veterinary Employment salary survey was carried out in 2019, pre-covid,  and the results can be accessed at

We suggest that you could ask for a written letter of offer when you are offered a permanent position, and that you could also request a Contract, or an equivalent document, when you commence work. You can consider renegotiating your salary package after 6 months, together with getting an update on how well your employer feels you are progressing in your job.

Vet Nurses / Vet Technicians and Support Staff

Rates for Vet Nurses, Receptionists, Practice Managers, Animal Attendants range from $20.33/hour for introductory level up to $27.14/hour for level 5 (Practice Manager), and there are also Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and public holiday rates specified in the Award. Casual (locum) VNs should have a 25% casual loading.

For more information

You can view the Award on the Fair Work Commission website at

If you are a member of the AVA, they provide help and advice through the AVA HR hotline – 1300 788977 or  This is possibly the best reason to be a member of the AVA – the HR service is very useful.


Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

01/10/2021 |

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