On a weekly basis, we receive many enquiries in relation to how agents are paid. This is a very individual negotiation for each person – however, guidance firstly comes from the NSW Real Estate Industry Award. As of 2 April 2018, there was a new award for people employed within the property industry. It is important that all people working within the industry are aware of the award and its requirements. Whether you are an employer or an employee, you should be knowledgeable about your rights and obligations. We have summarised below the main areas within the award that most agents ask questions about.
Employment in the property industry falls within four broad areas:
As of 1 July 2021, the base wage for a full-time or part-time adult real estate salesperson (Level 1 in the first year of employment) is $21.31 per hour.
There are now specific guidelines in the new award in relation to commission payments and splits if an employee leaves their employment prior to the settlement of a property that they have listed and/or sold. Briefly, if a salesperson leaves the employment of an agency and they have listed a property and it has exchanged, they are entitled to the commission when the property settles. In addition, if a property that they have listed has not exchanged when they leave employment of that agency, and then the property exchanges whilst it is still in the “exclusive listing period”, then that salesperson is entitled to the listing component of that commission, as would be detailed in their employment agreement.
Naturally, if the salesperson is terminated for serious misconduct, the commission is limited to properties that have exchanged prior to their termination.
As the property industry is the last remaining industry with commission-only employees, the new award has included some specific requirements around this category of employment. The core requirements for commission-only employment are:
These are significant changes for commission-only employees, and must be considered seriously by both employees and employers.
Those persons who work as independent contractors in the property industry are NOT covered by the new award. An independent contractor should seek legal advice in terms of signing an agreement with their chosen agency. It is an expectation that independent contractors are employing other people to assist them in their own business, where these employees need to be active agents, not just people who assist with accounts or marketing. As a College, we refer agents to Jemmeson & Fisher who specialise in supporting agents in all legal and accounting aspects of their business.
MORE INFORMATION: I highly recommend that you, whether you are an employer or an employee, visit the REEF (Real Estate Employers Federation) website at www.reef.org.au and ensure that you have all the information you require to make sure that are complying with the Real Estate Industry Award.