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CLAS - Community Language Allowance Scheme

The Community Language Allowance Scheme also known as CLAS helps the NSW Government provide efficient and effective language assistance to their customers. The Scheme recognises the language skills of employees who can provide on-the-spot language assistance.

What is CLAS?

CLAS is an allowance paid to qualified NSW Government employees who have a basic level of competency in a language other than English and work in locations where their language can be used to assist customers. Qualified employees are to be viewed as languages aides and not fully qualified interpreters or translators.

The Scheme draws on the language skills of employees to provide on-the-spot language assistance for simple matters. Some examples include, answering customer enquiries, providing directions to another office or making appointments.

Qualified employees who are selected for the Scheme can use their language skills as part of their usual duties, or in addition to their normal role on an as-needed basis. Successful employees are remunerated by the employing department or agency.

Who is eligible for CLAS?

Full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary employees nominated by their agency are eligible for the Scheme.

Nominated employees can qualify for the Scheme by having existing National Accreditation Authority for Translating and Interpreting (NAATI) qualifications. This includes:

  • accreditation at the interpreter level or above, or
  • have a NAATI recognition award.

Alternatively, employees who have language skills can complete the Multicultural NSW examination which is conducted by NAATI.

Who conducts the Multicultural NSW Examination?

Multicultural NSW has engaged NAATI to deliver language proficiency testing to establish eligibility for the Scheme. NAATI is the national authority responsible for maintaining a quality assurance system of accreditation for bilingual language aides, interpreters and translators, maintain a credentialing system for over 200 languages and support an extensive system of testing and assessment. NAATI is responsible for scheduling the Multicultural NSW examination, providing the examiner and liaising with the employee and the employer.

How much is the CLAS allowance?

The base level rate is $1,413 p.a. and the higher level rate is $2,124 p.a. Refer to NSW Treasury circular (NSWTC 18-15) rates effective from 1 July 2018. The allowance is paid by the agency.

How do you apply for CLAS examination?

Interested employees must be nominated by their agency for the Scheme.

Employees interested in sitting for the examination should contact their agency CLAS Contact Officer.

How much does the CLAS examination cost?

The examination fee is $410.00 (excluding GST) for each candidate per language and is payable by the department or agency.