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How Does an All-purpose Allowance Work?


An allowance refers to the additional amount of pay an employee can receive by undertaking certain tasks or performing duties not usually required by their employer. Therefore, this can encompass working away from your place of work, or providing personal resources such as your own car to use in carrying out the task at hand. It is important to note that an allowance in this sense is different to any penalty rates which may be payable to the employee.

All-Purpose Allowance

Classifying your work under an ‘all-purpose’ allowance allocates the time spent on those tasks to an employee’s ordinary hourly rate based on the conditions and standards associated with that kind of work. Your pay condition rules will allocate your additional work by checking them off as being ‘all purpose’. This section is usually under an employee award agreement. For more information on employee awards and how they are part of your employment agreement, check out our guide ‘Am I Still Covered by an Award if I Sign an Employment Contract?’.

Entitlements to an all-purpose allowance

Completing tasks that are usually outside the ambit of your employment will likely make you entitled to an all-purpose allowance. As a result, this can include working in a different place or at a different time.

Some situations to consider are as follows:

  • Using your own tools for the workplace (e.g. vehicle, phone, equipment).
  • Working in an unpleasant or dangerous working environments.
  • Performed certain tasks that require a particular skill set (e.g. first aid).
  • Worked overtime, on the weekend or on a public holiday.
  • If you unexpectedly had to take on a supervisory role or leading a work-related task
  • Lastly, travelling at your own expense.

For more information on how bonus payments affect your wages, you can read our guide on ‘Employee Bonus Payments: What Taxes Apply?’.

How is it calculated?

An employee’s ordinary hourly rate will not influence their earnings for additional work carried out. Moreover, the rate associated with that additional or unexpected work will determine the wages earned. You can calculate your additional payment by visiting the Fair Work Ombudsman website.


  • Additional or unconventional work done in the course of employment entitles you to earn additional wages.
  • This additional or unconventional work may include working in a different place or at a different time.
  • Allocating work as ‘all-purpose’ calculates the additional wages at different rates compared to ordinary hourly rates.

Want to know more?

  • If you need more information on your employment rights, consider consulting one of our lawyers for a legal advice plan here.
  • Interested in pursuing a matter? Find the lawyer fit for you with a free quote here.
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