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Student accommodation facilities provide housing for students studying at tertiary institutions.

Award coverage for an employee working at a student accommodation facility depends on:

  • their industry their employer operates in
  • the specific duties and qualifications of the employee

Higher Education Industry

The Higher Education General Staff Award covers employers in the higher education industry. This is defined as an educational institution providing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching leading to the conferring of accredited degrees and performing research to support and inform the curriculum.

Employees working at a student accommodation facility that’s operated by an employer in the higher education industry are covered by the Higher Education General Staff Award.


Central University is in a remote area of Western Australia.

The university operates an accommodation facility on campus grounds for their students. It provides 3 catered meals a day during semester and laundry services once a week for towels and linen. There’s also communal fridges, microwaves, kettles and coin operated washing machines for students to use.

During summer break, the facility offers short term accommodation services.

Employees working at the accommodation facility are employed by the university. They’re covered by the Higher Education General Staff Award.

Employees working in student accommodation that is run independently from an education institution will be:

  • covered by an industry award, such as the hospitality award or the real estate award
  • covered by the miscellaneous award, or
  • award free

Hospitality Award

The Hospitality Award can cover an employee if:

  • they’re employed by an employer that provides student housing that’s not a residential college
  • their duties and responsibilities are covered by the classifications within the award

Roles that could be covered by this award are:

  • kitchen attendant/cooks/wait staff if the accommodation has a café or restaurant or provides catering services
  • guest services such as cleaners employed by the accommodation facility
  • front desk employees
  • clerical employees
  • maintenance workers or gardeners

There’s no classification in the Hospitality Award for students support roles, such as advisers or counsellors.


College Caverns is located in Melbourne CBD. It provides accommodation to students from multiple universities and colleges across Melbourne. It’s run separately from educational institutions.

College Caverns is not operated by an employer in the higher education industry and isn’t a residential college.

Shelley is employed as a receptionist. She works in the front office and performs duties such as providing information services and taking bookings and reservations.

Shelley is covered by the Hospitality Award as a Front Office grade 1.

Real Estate Award

Employers that provide property management services for student housing owned by individual landlords are covered by the Real Estate Award.

They’re classified based on their skills and duties.

Miscellaneous Award

The Miscellaneous Award can cover an employee if:

  • they’re not covered by an industry or occupational award
  • they’re not a professional employee

For example, an employee of a residential college that’s run independently from an educational institution and doesn’t provide education to students may be covered by the Miscellaneous Award.

An employee might be considered a professional employee if their role requires a degree qualification.

The classification for employees depends on their duties and the qualifications required for the role.


Deepa also works at College Caverns. She’s employed as a residential adviser. Her duties include:

  • providing guidance and assistance to residents
  • running orientation programs and social events
  • ensuring residents are following college caverns rules

Deepa doesn’t have any formal qualifications, but she’s worked in similar roles for many years.

There’s no classification for Deepa’s role in the Hospitality Award. Deepa is covered by the Miscellaneous Award. She’s classified as a Level 2.

Award free

An employee who isn’t covered by an industry or occupational award, or the Miscellaneous Award is award free. For example, a student counsellor with undergraduate qualifications employed by an accommodation provider to provide counselling services to students.

Award free employees are entitled to the national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards.

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