Even After A 94% Pay Rise, Many AFLW Players Are Still Earning Less Than Annual Minimum Wage

Top-tier players will now earn $71,935, while the average AFLM player earns $372,224.

aflw pay

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AFLW players have copped a 94 percent pay increase for the next season in a step in the right direction for pay equality in sport. The one-season deal covers the game’s seventh season, which kicks off in August 2022. But many players are still earning less than the annual minimum wage.

Under the new deal, players will earn between $39,184 and $71,935 for the season, which amounts to an average increase of 94 percent. For context, the minimum wage in Australia is $40,175.20 while the average AFLM player cops a sweet $372,224 per season.

While the new deal is a significant jump from the maximum $37,155 salary paid to top-tier players in the women’s league this season, it cannot be stressed enough that we are still paying women less than the annual minimum wage for the same job that we pay their male counterparts hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for.

In a statement released on Thursday, the AFL Players Association called the move a step toward AFLW players being full-time professional athletes, which serves as a stark reminder that these players are still forced to work full-time jobs on top of their sporting careers.

“This agreement is the first step toward our vision of AFLW players being full-time footballers by 2026,” said AFL Players Association chief executive Paul Marsh. “Our players love the game and are driven to succeed. This CBA acknowledges the important role the AFLW players have and instils great confidence in the future direction of the competition.”

Considering the AFL — a not-for-profit organisation — rakes in a staggering $738.1 million annually, there’s really no excuse for the women’s league to not at least pay a minimum wage for all players as we enter the seventh season.

But despite the fact that we’re still not paying a minimum wage for all players, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan praised the move for truly valuing “the contribution of our players”.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience, especially the players and clubs over the last few weeks, and that patience has resulted in a great agreement for both the players and the broader industry,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said in a statement. “The agreement represents a landmark improvement in pay for AFLW players and an historic level of investment in domestic women’s sport that truly values the contribution of our players. (It) is a giant step forward in achieving our vision of ensuring AFLW players are the best paid female athletes in any local professional competition by 2030.”

This isn’t to say that a 94 percent pay increase isn’t a step in the right direction, it certainly is, but we truly have miles left to go.