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Pay rates and deductions

Information about how much money a prisoner is paid for working in jail.

The rate of pay that a prisoner can earn is decided by the Department of Justice and Community Safety. The rate of pay will depend on the type of work and may also vary with ability or efficiency. There are 3 levels of pay. Prisoners who refuse to work or who are dismissed will receive no pay.

A prisoner must be paid up to a maximum of 30 hours per week for work done in a prison industry or participation in educational, treatment or rehabilitation programs. There is an exception if they are working on an essential work program.

A prisoner must be paid a minimum rate if the prisoner is:

  • on remand
  • in police custody
  • unable to work due to illness, disability or age.

If a prisoner refuses to work, or is dismissed from work they are not entitled to be paid (but must be supplied with essential toiletries).

See r. 43(4)—Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Daily rates of pay

The following rates of pay are current at May 2019, as set out in DCI 3.03 Prison industries in Deputy Commissioner's Instructions.

  • Level 1 pay rate—$8.95 per day
  • Level 2 pay rate—$7.75 per day
  • Level 3 pay rate—$6.50 per day
  • Prisoner who has been dismissed or who refuses to work—$ Nil
  • Prisoners who are classified as 'Long term management'—$5.70 per week day
  • Prisoners on remand—$3.30 per week day
  • Prisoners with short-term illnesses (less than 4 weeks)—$3.30 per week day
  • Prisoners aged over 65 years old—$6.00 per week day
  • Prisoners who are suffering from a certified long term illness (including psychiatric illness and prisoners with a disability)—$6.00 per week day
  • Prisoners who are subject to a detention order—$6.00 per week day
  • Prisoner in police custody (or in transit)—$3.30 per day
  • Prisoner participating in an approved full-time program or education—$7.15 for each day attended
  • Prisoner in approved, full time education program (during holidays and not employed elsewhere)—$3.30 per week day.

These amounts must be reviewed annually (but rates have not increased for quite some time!).

See Schedule 3.03(1) DCI 3.03 Prison industries in Deputy Commissioner's Instructions.


On the ‘structured day’ system, such as at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and Marngoneet, the prison may deduct money out of a prisoner’s pay if they are not at a place they are required to be at a certain time.

No deductions are made when prisoners are released from work to attend personal or professional visits when visit times coincide with working hours.

A prisoner is not entitled to Centrelink unemployment benefits while they are in prison. The prisoner should let Centrelink know if they are sent to prison.

More information

Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • s. 43—payment for work (remuneration)

See Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).