Fair remuneration for community radio employees


Every charity or not-for-profit is different - ranging from those that are volunteer-only to huge organisations that employ many people.

Community radio stations are no different, and your workforce structure (volunteer/paid or some variation thereof) will be designed to ensure your station best meets its objectives in serving your community need.

The following advice is based on advice from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), the national regulator of charities.

Charities and not-for-profits can employ and pay people

Operating as a not-for-profit does not mean that a charity can’t employ people. Qualified staff can be required to carry out the work of charities and not-for-profits and these people need to earn a living.

In Australia, approximately 44% of charities are volunteer-run. However, 56% of charities need paid employees to be able to deliver their services.

Charities and not-for-profits need to be able to attract both quality volunteers and staff in order to serve their community need. Paying people fair wages for their skills, knowledge and experience can help attract the right people.

The ACMA's Not-For-Profit Guidelines agrees, outlining that "Licensees can pay salaries and commissions, provided the amounts are bona fide and directly related to the work or service provided. Such amounts must be properly accounted for in the licensee’s financial records."

"A salary or commission would generally be considered bona fide if it reflected current market rates or was comparable to salaries and commissions for staff and contractors in similar-sized stations in metropolitan or regional areas, or to the amount payable for similar work in the local employment market. Care should be taken to ensure that staff are appointed on the basis of their suitability for a position. For significant salaried positions, a competitive, merit-based selection process may be the best way of avoiding allegations of patronage and ensuring transparency."

Spending on employee salaries

The amount that a charity or not-for-profit spends on staff salaries is decided by the charity’s governing body (its board, committee, or trustees) and will depend on the skills and experience of the individual, as well as the organisation's purposes and activities.

Staff salaries should be appropriate for the work and should be considered in the context of the organisation's activities and purposes. In many cases, to attract qualified, skilled and experienced people, charities and not-for-profits need to be able to offer competitive salaries. One way to identify a competive salary level is to look at a salary survey. Examples applicable to community broadcasting include the Pro Bono Salary Survey and Not For Profit Remuneration Report.

Further, as recommended in the Australian Institute of Company Directors resource on Director fees, any salaries and bonuses paid to staff would form part of their employment contract with the organisation. The board or management committee determines staff remuneration and bonuses

Pay and compensation for fundraisers

Stations also rely on fundraisers - employed, volunteer or commission-based - to raise funds to support station activities. This might be through sponsorship sales, partnership management, or broad fundraising activities. 

The International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising sets out five key principles to shape fundraising work - honesty, respect, integrity, transparency and responsibility. 

They recommend that: "All payment and remuneration for fundraisers will be arranged before work is carried out, with any performance-related payments agreed in advance and set to ensure that payments will not be disproportionate or unreasonable."

More information

For more information about fair pay, awards, and agreements, check out our Employing Staff resource or contact our staff on 02 9310 2999.