Coaching and Teaching Employment Considerations

Whilst the following cannot be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, this document provides a brief outline of work situations.

In addition to workers being provided a Fair Work Statement; a copy of the National Employment Standards and a Guide to Workplace Health and Safety for the work venue, workers should be extended common courtesy and advised when commencing as to:  

  • what their rates of pay are

  • what conditions they are being employed under (e.g. terms or award)

  • when they will be paid

  • how they will be paid

  • How the National Employment Standards affect them in the workplace.

Within the Aquatics Industry, there are four usual types of work situation.

They are:

  1. Volunteers. They are not paid, though may receive an “Honorarium” which is tax free to cover out of pocket expenses and as a sign of gratitude. Any honorarium fee paid does not relate to hours worked. From an insurance perspective they are usually covered by the club’s insurance if they are a paid up member of a Swimming Australia affiliated club whilst undertaking approved club activities.

  2. Employed. PAYG tax is deducted and the superannuation guarantee is paid by the Employer. Employment may be on a casual, part time (hourly rate) or full time wage. Usually the Employer will provide all necessary work equipment e.g. kick boards, venue and clients. Employed staff are usually covered by their employers insurance cover and often may also pay for attendance at professional development events such as conferences and SCTA membership. All employed staff fall under Fair Work Australia’s National Employment Standards regarding issues like minimum rates of pay and hours worked, loadings, holidays, sick pay, superannuation and a swag of other potential entitlements.

    1. Casual employees are paid an hourly rate but will need to work (or be paid for) a minimum number of hours. No holiday or sick pay is due. Employment may be terminated at any time. Casuals are paid a 23% loading above the full time hourly rate to compensate for no holiday or sick pay and loss of other full time benefits.

    2. Permanent part time employees are paid on the hours worked and may accrue sick pay, holiday pay and other benefits on a pro-rata basis.

    3. Full time employees are paid a wage for a certain number of hours each week and may be paid overtime and penalty rates for nights and weekends as per the award or fair work conditions. Holiday pay, sick pay and other core employment conditions are paid.

  3. Contractor/ Sole Trader/ partnership. Contractor/ Sole Trader/ partnership pay their own tax, insurance and superannuation. Usually Contractor/ Sole Trader/ partnerships are paid more (30 -50 % above casual rates), but have more expenses. They often collect the income and pay a rebate to the club, pool management or local council. They may also be lessees of the pool.

  4. Companies, organisations and entities. As employers of others, they are responsible for tax, superannuation, professional development, insurance and income from the business. They operate under corporate governance rules.

Swimming and water safety Teachers fall under the Fitness Industry Award of 2010. Reference should be made to this award for guidance of minimum pay rates and conditions.

There is no collective agreement or federal award that covers swimming coaches specifically.

General information regarding all employment conditions may be obtained from Fairwork Australia website

Coaches not employed under a contract arrangement may come under State Awards that define an industry sector. Swimming Coaches often come under comparable qualifications and duties defined for similar industry sectors, such as sport and recreation awards.

A person holding a valid swim coach’s membership.  There are usually no penalty rates assigned to coaching hours, as it’s expected a coach will work ‘unusual hours’ and weekends within the limitations of part-time or full-time hours of employment. We strongly encourage all potential Employers to actually review a coaching session delivered by the potential coach and to the check validity of accreditation claims with SCTA. SCTA can confirm the accreditation level and membership status. This may have a bearing later in relation to invoking Member Protection policies should difficulties arise.

The coaching accreditation system in Australia is:

·                Swim Australia™ Teacher of Competitive Swimming (SAT CS) – entry level, this person is qualified to give stroke correction and transition learners into swimming squads and on to training squads. They may work independently delivering stroke correction with advanced learn to swim, stroke improvers; mini or junior squads but should be under the supervision of a more senior coach when delivering training programs to training squads. Entry-level coaches usually fill casual or part-time employment positions. A SAT CS has completed a formal coaching qualification at the entry level as a swimming coach.  The SAT CS may work independently to prepare junior athletes or novice competitors. The SAT CS may also work under the guidance of a coach having higher qualifications in applying more complex training programs to age-group (i.e. 13-17 years) or senior athletes. The SAT CS will primarily assist swimmers in their technical development and deliver training programs that improve speed and endurance. The SAT CS will normally seek assistance in drawing up long-term training programs, counselling of athletes, and implementing more advanced performance development training plans.

Development Coach replaces the previous Bronze Coaching Course and provides entry-level coach accreditation.  Successful Development Coaches create experiences which focus on the benefits of developing skills and increasing fitness. Their enthusiasm and encouragement provide extra motivation for participants to develop a love of swimming and sustain this interest over their lives.  Development coaches have the knowledge and skills to help swimmers with technical and tactical development, goal setting and realising a sense of achievement by setting appropriate challenges while showing concern for safety and psychological comfort.  The Swimming Australia Development Course focuses on developing a broad range of introductory coaching skills and techniques while also promoting participation in competitive swimming at club and district level. Above all, this coach encourages participation, swimming for fun, play and skills whilst fostering a safe swimming environment.

Advanced Coach replaces the previous Silver course and provides Advanced level coach accreditation.  Successful Advanced Coaches bring out each swimmers ability by identifying individual needs and planning and implementing suitable training programs based on individual swimmer needs. They implement support systems that develop the individual swimmers physical and psychological fitness and maximises their performance.  Advanced Coaches have an in-depth understanding of the skills, tactics and strategies required and focus on skill development and decision making in a competitive environment. They help their swimmers develop a wider sense of sporting ethics and nurture a love of competition while also encouraging a life-long love of the sport.  The Swimming Australia Advanced Coaching Course focuses on continuous improvement in coaching skill, education and promotion of participation in competitive swimming at regional, state and national age competitions.

Performance Coach replaces the previous Gold course and provides performance level coach accreditation.  Successful Performance Coaches develop people and structures to sustain success for swimming. They do this by balancing data and information with intuition and experience to make accurate evidence-based decisions under pressure. They trust their swimmers to take responsibility for their own performances, and they welcome feedback.  These Coaches are resilient risk takers, strategic thinkers, influential leaders, trusted mentors, relentless learners, skilled facilitators and strong collaborators.  They are influenced by swimmer need and help drive the personal and social development of the individual alongside maximising performance.  The Swimming Australia Performance Course is designed to develop the competencies required to not only coach elite level swimmers but to become a leader, a role model and someone who can help develop the next generation of coaches in the swimming community.


Swimming coaches are classified by their accreditation and registration. These are SCTA recommended salary ranges for permanent full-time employment:



Average Salary per annum

Australian Dollars

Recommended Hourly Rate of Pay for Casual Employment



$20 – $25

Development Coach


$25 – $35

Advanced Coach


$30 – $50

Performance Coach


$40 – $70


  • Permanent part-time salary may be adjusted from the full-time scale. Hourly rates of pay adjustment may vary considerably, based upon the tasks performed and the skill / experience required by the coach.

  • Salary or wages payable under employment agreements, or contractual arrangements may be well above the minimum.

  • Where a coach is receiving a higher salary or hourly rate of pay than the recommended (see above) for his/her classification, that coach should not have such rate of pay reduced because of these recommendations.

  • Increases may occur based on years of qualification, outcomes and performance.

Coaches are employed by their employers to perform tasks, meet standards or goals as agreed upon in their employment agreement, which sets out the obligations and benefits to each party.  Details for each coach’s job should be documented in a job description as provided by the employer.

Coaches are required to use their best endeavours to support the success, reputation and interests of those they coach, their employer, and the sport. Coaches are expected to apply their knowledge, skills and energy to the best of their capabilities to achieve established organisational and program goals.

Coaches are also required to keep their coaching skills up-to-date through such means as membership of professional associations and on-going professional development experiences, formal or informal study, private research, and attendance at relevant conferences and seminars and competition events. The employer shall provide reasonable opportunity and support for coaches to pursue these goals of keeping their skills up-to-date.

Coaches must comply with the Safe Sport Framework, SCTA professional Code of Conduct, and all relevant State law governing Child Protection.

The recommended salary for each of the recognised levels of accreditation may be used as a guideline only for Swimming Clubs or other employers to negotiate an appropriate salary or hourly wage.  Employment agreements should take many factors into consideration and should be written to include these (and possibly other) items:

  • Duty statement of the coaching position

  • Level of independence required by the coach

  • Past experience and record of performance required by the position

  • Salary (or hourly wages) that reflects the stated duties and performance expectations

  • Minimum superannuation guarantee from the employer (where required)

  • Conditions of bonus or incentive payments

  • Term of employment

  • Condition of review of the coach’s performance (including any probationary period)

  • Reporting requirements of the coach and review requirements of the employer

  • Conditions under which allowances or expenses are paid / reimbursed

  • General expectations of the employer (i.e. average hours of work per week, etc.)

  • Conditions governing termination of employment (including any redundancy payments or severance pay)

  • Provisions for extension of the term of employment or conditions of re-employment

  • Employer and employee obligations and/or expectations for professional development (including any provisions for financial support or paid leave)

  • Leave entitlements and conditions (including the amount of annual recreational leave) and all types of leave provisions (i.e. sick leave, maternity or paternity leave, long-service leave, etc.),

  • Conditions covering severance pay

  • Work environment (i.e. what may, or may not, be provided by the employer)

  • Procedures for settling employer – employee disputes

  • Provision for professional membership fees, insurance, etc.

All of these employment considerations should be addressed in a written employment agreement that is offered by the employer and accepted by the employee (i.e. coach).