Training Benchmarks

“Staff Training - Contribution and Commitment”


Employers sponsoring staff under the Sub Class 457 visa scheme are required to meet a number of requirements from the department before they can be approved as an approved sponsor.One such requirement is the need to demonstrate their contribution and commitment to the training of Australians by satisfying one of the “training benchmarks” outlined by DIAC.

The Training Benchmarks

OAt present there a 2 possible training benchmarks, and an employer must meet any one of these benchmarks:

  1. Employers pay 2 % of payroll (incurred in the last 12 months) expenditure to an industry training fund related to the employer’s business.
  2. Employers spend 1 % of payroll (incurred in the last 12 months) on training their Australian citizen or permanent resident employees.

Both these benchmarks require that the employer also makes a commitment to continue their expenditure required by the benchmark for each financial year that they remain an approved sponsor.

Businesses operating in Australia for less than 12 months (at the time when the application is considered) who cannot satisfy A or B can instead submit a plan in which they outline how they will meet 1 of the training benchmarks within the next year. The plan must be auditable, it must clearly explain the intended expenditure to meet either of the benchmarks and it must show the employer’s clear intention to implement the plan.

  1. Employers pay the equivalent of 2 percent or more of recent payroll expenditure (in the last 12 months) to an industry training fund which operates in an industry related to the employer’s business.
  2. Why would an employer use Training Benchmark A since it is more expensive?

    • Training Benchmark A will be particularly relevant for businesses that have not been able to set up their own employee training program for reasons such as:
      • The Business was only recently established; or
      • “Sole-trader” businesses (where the owner is the only member of staff and whose training is not counted towards the benchmark - see below); or
      • Businesses which employ no Australian citizens or permanent residents.

      What is an industry training fund ?

    • An industry training fund is a body created by legislation that is responsible for providing funding for training of eligible workers in certain industries. Many industries, including the construction and mining industries have such training funds.

  3. Employers spend the equivalent of 1 percent of payroll (in the last 12 months) on training for their employees who are Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  4. What kind of training can an employer count towards this benchmark?

Employers can count training that is formal, structured and conducted for Australian citizens and permanent residents towards meeting the benchmark. The training must also be independently verifiable, meaning that the employer must be able to show evidence that the training has occurred.

On-the-job trainingOnly if it the training is structured, in that it has a timeframe, involves increases in the employee’s skills at each stage, uses qualified trainers to develop the program and where employee progress is monitored and assessed.
Apprentices’ and trainees’ salariesYes - as apprenticeships and traineeships are training positions, the full salary paid can be counted towards the benchmark.
Graduates’ salariesNo - graduate positions are not considered training positions. However, any expenditure used for formal training of the graduate may be counted. This includes any expenditure incurred to administer a graduate program.
Employee’s wages while they are attending trainingNo – this does not count as expenditure for the provision of training.
Paying for employees’ formal course of studyYes - if the employees are Australian citizens and permanent residents or TAFE/ University students and if the course of study is approved under the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Employing a trainerYes – where they train the businesses’ Australian employees as a key part of their job.
Using external providers to provide employee trainingYes – if the training is delivered to Australian employees.

What kinds of training will not be included in the benchmark ?

    following types of training are unlikely to count towards Benchmark B:
  • Training that is delivered on-the-job in an unstructured manner
  • Training that relates to only one or a few aspects of the business’s broader operations
  • Training undertaken only by persons who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • Training only undertaken by the business owner(s) or their family members
  • Training that relates to a very low skill level (having regard to the characteristic and size of the business)
  • Whether an employer meets the training benchmarks will depend on their individual facts and circumstances.