Cleaning industry wages

Cleaning staff wages issuescleaning industry wages - underpaid student staff

Sorry to say it, but the cleaning industry must be one of the most unscrupulous industries regarding how it treats its staff concerning wages.

You only have to look at  stories in the press to underline this fact Victorian school cleaners and Woolworths cleaners underpaid.

In both these cases, companies that should have to know better were deliberately underpaying staff.

Why does this issue seem so prevalent in the cleaning industry? After all, this is an industry that in 2013 was worth $7.9B to the Australian economy?

I suspect the fact that the cleaning sector is so very much looked down upon. Many see it is an unskilled, uneducated and very much unappreciated industry. And this is reflected in the treatment of its most valued asset, its staff.

A poor perception

In my short time running a  cleaning business, I have found that this poor perception extends to how much people think they need to pay for cleaning.

So often you quote on a job. You include award wages for your staff. A reasonable amount of time for someone to complete the job and a small profit. But more often than not you lose the job to a price that would not even support the minimum award wages.

The Cleaning Accountability Framework goes some way to overcoming this problem. But this is mainly for the ‘big end of town’. At the moment there is nothing but our self-regulation for the smaller guys trying to do the right thing in the cleaning industry.

A handy tip when looking for a cleaning provider

A handy tip for anyone looking for a commercial office cleaner. If you are looking for a regular clean of your premises, and you require an out of hours clean. Then expect to pay more than $25 an hour!!

Let me explain

The award wages for a part-time cleaner (cleaning services award – MA000022) is $27.68 an hour, with the loading for evening work puts it up to $31.29 (2023 award). So with super, Q Leave, equipment, insurance….well you can see $25 does not go very far

So you need to ask yourself if it is too good to be true, it probably is. In this instance, someone is missing out, and I can assure you it will not be the business offering such a low rate, but the poor cleaner who, desperate for work will probably be doing the job that well below the wage they deserve (or should be legally paid).

What to do

Look for companies that are members of professional bodies. The Building Service Contractors of Australia Ltd is a good place to start, the Cleaning Accountability Framework has companies that have signed an agreement to remunerate staff correctly.

Have a brief understanding of what the award cleaning wages is for a cleaner. Too low a cleaning rate, probably means this is being violated.

Get assurances from your suppliers that they are abiding by the rules if they are they will have nothing to hide. I would expect that they would freely give you information if not alarm bells should ring


From the very beginning, our business motto has been,

‘providing peace of mind for our clients and financial security to our staff’.

This can only be achieved by paying the correct award wages, ensuring super and Q Leave is paid and making sure work cover is up to date.

Our staff are our most precious asset. We feel that this asset should not be undervalued or underpaid in any way.

If you are looking for a cleaning company which not only provides you with excellent results, but also looks after its staff don’t hesitate to contact NRE Cleaning Services

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