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Changes to modern awards – effective 31 December 2014

Modern AwardsDecember 15, 2014

Changes to modern awards – effective 31 December 2014

From 31 December 2014 transitional provisions in modern awards will no longer apply, and some apprentice rates will increase.

What are transitional provisions?

Transitional provisions were included in the Modern Awards to preserve certain employee entitlements, wage rates and conditions of work from pre-modern awards (such as state based awards) with the expectation that they will eventually be phased out over time. The good news is, that time is now!

What’s changing?

Changes vary from award to award, but in most awards accident pay and district allowances will no longer be payable from 31 December 2014. The level of redundancy pay included in some awards is also affected.

Accident pay and district allowances for applicable awards

Accident pay is a form of make-up pay payable in addition to workers compensation when an employee is injured at work.

District allowances apply to employees working in remote areas, in particular in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland as well as other regional locations such as Broken Hill and Christmas Island.

From 1 January 2015, these allowances and entitlements will no longer be payable. However, you may still be required to pay them or maintain an employee’s current pay depending on their contract of employment or any applicable enterprise agreement, so it’s best to check before making any changes.

Apprentice rates

There will be an increase to the minimum rates of pay for some first and second year apprentices under certain awards. These increases are effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. You can read details of the increases in the list of awards changes below.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase your employees’ wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Please contact the Wage team on 1300 651 415 if:

  • You’re considering reviewing any apprentice pay – under many awards, adult apprentices are entitled to receive the higher of the standard apprentice rates and a lower level adult employee classification.
  • Your apprentice is based in Queensland. Special provisions apply in relation to Queensland apprentices, which means different increases will apply to your apprentices.

What should I do?

If you are currently paying a district allowance or accident pay and are unsure if it will continue to apply, or are considering making an employee redundant please call us for advice on 1300 651 415. Note that the changes to accident pay, district allowances and redundancy are unlikely to affect the majority of employers.

Check the list below for additional information about specific changes to the awards and increased apprentice rates which apply to your business. The awards applicable to your business are identified in your initial review letter.

List of affected awards

Aged Care Award 2010

Some permanent employees working in WA have been entitled to an additional week of annual leave (over and above the annual leave provided under the Fair Work Act 2009). This entitlement ends on 31 December 2014.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive additional leave, unless you are required to provide this under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Airline Operations – Ground Staff Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first year junior (AQF IV) apprentices (who have completed Year 12) and first and second year (AQF III) junior apprentices who commence on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 16.2 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Airport Employees Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first and second year apprentices who commence on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 16 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Amusement, Events and Recreation Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 52.5% to 55% of the rate for grade 4) first year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014 and completed Year 12, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Black Coal Mining Industry Award

Additional leave in NT and remote areas

Some permanent employees working in NT and more remote areas of WA and QLD have been entitled to an additional week of annual leave (over and above the annual leave provided under the Fair Work Act 2009). This entitlement ends on 31 December 2014.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive additional leave, unless you are required to provide this under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Specialist allowances

Various specialist allowances contained in Schedule C of the award are no longer payable from 1 January 2015. These are allowances relate to:

  • production and engineering employees in QLD who are involved in live sewer work; and
  • employees in NSW who are engaged in the sinking of a shaft or driving of a drift or in or about longwall operations.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive these allowances, unless you are required to pay them under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Apprentice rates

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 50% to 55% of the rate for Mineworker – Induction Level) for junior first year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Business Equipment Award

Basic district allowances in NT and WA will no longer be payable from 1 January 2015, unless you are required to pay these under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

However, there are a number of additional allowances which will continue to apply to employees in the technical and clerical streams under the award for work in specified remote areas. These include Mount Isa, Broken Hill and areas in NT and WA. See clause 22.1 of the award for more information.

Building and Construction General on-Site Award

There will be an increase in minimum wage rates (by 5% of the standard rate) for first and second year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014 (and are not covered by the Electrotechnology Training Package). These increases are effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Cemetery Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 52.5% to 55% of the wage for a Cemetery Employee Class 4) for first year apprentices who commence on or after 1 January 2014 and have completed Year 12, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Children Services Award

Some pre-modern awards in WA required some employer to reimburse employees for the costs of undergoing health screening or obtaining a police clearance. These entitlements end on 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to be reimbursed, unless you are required to pay them under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Cleaning Services Award

Minimum wages

Transitional provisions (in Schedule A of the award) preserving higher rates of pay, loadings and penalties under pre-modern awards cease to apply from the beginning of the first full pay period on or after 31 December 2014.

Minimum engagement periods

Transitional provisions in relation to minimum engagement periods for part-time and casual employees in instances where there has not been a contract change for a site or building since 1 January 2010 cease to apply from 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, minimum engagement periods will instead be set by reference to the total cleaning area under clause 24.2 of the award.

If you have been applying the rates contained in Schedule A of the award, these changes may affect some employees’ rates of pay, but this will be subject to the rates you are required to pay under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

If you have been applying the rates in the body of the award (and not Schedule A), the minimum wages changes will not affect your business.

Please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 for an updated wages schedule and further advice.

Coal Export Terminals Award

There will be an increase (of 5% of the minimum wage for Maintenance Trades – Competent Rate) in minimum rates for first and second year apprentices who completed Year 12 and who commence on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 50% to 55% of the rate for a Dry Cleaning Employee Level 5) for apprentices in the first 6 months of their apprenticeship who completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (by 5% of the standard rate) for first and second year apprentices who commence on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award

Apprentices

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first and second year junior apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 16.4 for further information.

NSW trainee apprentices

Transitional trainee apprentice minimum rates in NSW cease to apply from 31 December 2014, which may result in an increase to minimum wages for some trainee apprentices.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Electrical Power Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for some first and second year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 17.2 for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Fitness Industry Award

On 1 January 2015, there will be an increase to the minimum wages for certain adult and junior employee classifications under the Fitness Industry Award 2010.

The increases vary from classification to classification (but are generally under 1.7%) and take effect from the first full pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates. Please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 for an updated wages schedule and further advice.

Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award

Some pre-modern awards entitled employees to receive annual bonuses, Christmas allowances or annual leave bonuses. These entitlements end on 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive these bonuses or allowances, unless you are required to pay them under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

However, the affected employees will become entitled to annual leave loading under clause 34.5 of the award.

Gardening and Landscaping Services Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 52.5% to 55% of the rate for Level 4) first year apprentices who completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Gas Industry

There will be an increase in minimum rates (by 5% of rate for a Level 4 employee) for first and second year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 52.5% to 55% of the rate for a Level 5) for junior first year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015 for first year apprentices.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Joinery and Building Trade Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (by 5% of the rate for Level 5) for first and second year junior apprentices who commenced a four year apprenticeship on or after 1 January 2014 (and completed Year 12), effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Hair and Beauty Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for some first and second year apprentices and pre-apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 19 of the Award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Health Professionals and Support Services Award

Additional leave in WA

Some pre-modern awards entitled permanent employees in WA to receive additional annual leave (over and above the annual leave provided under the Fair Work Act 2009). This entitlement ends on 31 December 2014.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive additional leave, unless you are required to provide this under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Apprentice rates

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first and second year dental technician apprentices and for first year gardening and landscaping apprentices (who have completed Year 12) from 1 January 2015. If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates. See clause 14 of the award for further information.

Higher Education Industry – General Staff – Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for apprentices in the building, electrical, metal and engineering and plumbing trades, who commenced on or after 1 January 2014. These increases will be effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See Schedule G for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Hospitality Award

  • Minimum wages in SA: transitional provisions relating to rates of pay, loadings, penalties and breaks for employees in SA of employers who hold a Hotel Licence, Entertainment Venue Licence, a Small Venue Licence or a Special Circumstances Licence or Residential Licence cease to apply from 31 December 2014.
  • Minimum wages in WA: on or after 31 December 2014, junior employees who can be employed as liquor service employees must be paid at the adult rate of pay for work being performed from
  • Breaks in WA: transitional provisions relating to breaks cease to apply from 31 December 2014. After this date, employers must provide breaks in accordance with clause 31 of the award, which allows employees to elect (in writing) to take an unpaid meal break if they work a shift between 5 and 6 hours. Mandatory breaks are required for employees who work 6 or more hours (see clause 31 of the award).

These changes may affect some employees’ rates of pay in WA and SA, but this will be subject to the rates you are required to pay under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 for an updated wages schedule and further advice.

Labour Market Assistance Industry Award

Some permanent employees working in NT and more remote areas of WA and QLD have been entitled to an additional week of annual leave (over and above the annual leave provided under the Fair Work Act 2009). This entitlement ends on 31 December 2014.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive additional leave, unless you are required to provide this under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Local Government Industry Award

Additional leave and allowances

Some pre-modern awards entitled some employees to:

  • additional annual leave, personal/carer’s leave and compassionate/bereavement leave over and above the leave provided under the Fair Work Act 2009; and
  • fares and library allowances.

These entitlements end on 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive additional leave or allowances, unless you are required to provide this under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Tasmania Municipal Managers

Special provisions (under Schedule G of the award) regarding salary and conditions for employees who would have been covered by the Municipal Managers (Tasmania) Award 2003 cease to apply from 31 December 2014. Please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 if your business was previously covered by this award.

Apprentice rates

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 50% to 55% of the rates for Level 4) for first year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for junior apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 25.6 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Marine Towage Award

Certain employees have been entitled to area and port-based allowances previously payable under the Tugboat Industry Award 1999. These entitlements end on 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive these allowances, unless you are required to provide this under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Mining Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (by 5% of the rate for Level 3) for first and second year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014 (and completed Year 12), effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

Mobile Crane Hiring Award

An additional allowance of $6.90 per day payable to employees in NSW for fare and travel allowance will cease to apply from 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015 employers in NSW will only be required to pay the standard allowance rate of $17.43 per day, unless you are required to provide the higher allowance under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Nursery Award

NSW transitional trainees apprentice minimum rates cease to apply from 31 December 2015, which may result in an increase to minimum wages for some trainee apprentices.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (by 5% of the standard rate) for first and second year apprentices who completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award

Specialist allowances

Various specialist allowances are no longer payable from 31 December 2014. These allowances are:

  • a registration allowance for sprinkler fitters employed in NSW or ACT; and
  • a registration allowance for employees in Tasmania where they act as an employer’s nominee.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive these allowances, unless you are required to provide the higher allowance under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Employees in plumbing and mechanical services in VIC

Some employees in plumbing and mechanical services in VIC are currently entitled to higher overtime and penalty rates after the first hour of work. These more favourable provisions end on 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, these employees will be entitled to the standard penalty rates:

  • 50% loading for the first two hours of ordinary hours worked on a Saturday (and 100% for all hours after this)
  • 150% loading for the first two hours of overtime worked during the week or on a Saturday (and 200% for all hours after this);
  • 100% loading for all ordinary hours worked and 200% for all overtime worked on a Sunday;
  • 150% loading for all ordinary hours worked and 250% for all overtime worked on a public holiday.

Unless you are required to provide the higher penalty rates under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Apprentice rates

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first and second year plumbing and sprinkler fitting apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increase minimum rates.

In addition, plumbing apprentices in NSW are currently entitled to receive 100% of the tool allowance, but this more favourable entitlement ends on 31 December 2014 and instead they will be entitled to a percentage of this allowance. This change may create a minimal reduction in weekly pay rates for some apprentices, but this will be subject to the rates you are required to pay under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Please contact our Advice team on 1300 651 415 for further advice.

Port Authorities Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for some first and second year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Quarrying Award

Transitional provisions (under Schedule A) regarding salary and conditions for some employees cease to apply on 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015:

  • ordinary hours for employees in WA change from 5.30am and 5.00pm to 6.30am to 6.00pm;
  • more favourable shift allowances in NSW, VIC and QLD end, so all employees will be entitled to afternoon and night shift allowances of 15% extra (and 30% where an employee works a permanent night shift); and
  • pecial overtime payments in QLD end, so employees will be entitled to receive double time after the first two hours of overtime (whereas they were previously only entitled after three hours).

These changes may reduce the minimum rates of pay applicable to some employees, but this will be subject to the rates and allowances you are required to pay under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Racing Industry Ground Maintenance

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 52.5% to 55% of the rate for a tradesperson) for first year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Rail Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first and second year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause14.3 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Real Estate Industry Award

From 1 January 2015 the entitlements and changes listed below come into effect.

A motor vehicle allowance will be payable to any employees required to use their own motor vehicle in the course of their employment. The employer can elect to calculate this allowance by one of two methods: either by reference to the age and engine capacity of the vehicle or by paying a reimbursement at the rate of $0.78 per kilometre driven (to a maximum of 400 km per week). See clause 18 of the award for further information.

  • Annual leave loading of 17.5% of the minimum weekly wage will be payable to employees in all states (previously this was not payable to some employees in ACT, NT, SA, Vic and WA). However, annual leave loading is still not payable to commission only employees.
  • Transitional provisions in relation to reimbursement for mobile phone allowances and compensation for employees under a property management or strata and community and title management classification on stand-by cease to apply on 31 December 2014.

Please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 for further guidance on offsetting reimbursements for these allowances.

Registered and Licensed Clubs Award

Transitional provisions (in Schedule B of the award) relating to rates of pay, loadings, penalties and breaks for some employers in SA engaged in the Club Industry cease to apply on 31 December 2014.

These changes may affect some employees’ minimum rates of pay applicable to some employees, but this will be subject to the rates and allowances you are required to pay under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 for an updated wages schedule and further advice.

Salt Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (by 5% of the standard rate) for first and second year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Security Services Industry Award

Various specialist allowances contained in Schedule B of this award cease to apply from 31 December 2014. These are:

  • specific allowances for work in certain defence and space station related facilities;
  • allowances for traffic controllers on civil construction site in QLD only; and
  • allowances for dog handling work and site allowances for work in power, plant, mine, abattoirs, gas works, garbage tips, refineries, breweries and sites with unpleasant odours or noxious fumes in QLD only.

From 1 January 2015, employees are no longer entitled to receive these allowances, unless you are required to provide the higher penalty rates under an employee’s contract of employment or any enterprise agreement that is applicable to your business.

Stevedoring Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for first and second year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 13.6 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Sugar Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 40.6 for further information. If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Telecommunication Services Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for some junior first and second year apprentices and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 14.5 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Travelling Shows Award

Transitional provisions relating to rates for casuals on Sundays and public holidays cease to apply on 31 December 2014 Clause 23.3(a). However this is currently under review.

If this award applies to your Company, please contact our Wages team on 1300 651 415 for further clarification.

Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award

There will be an increase in minimum wage rates for junior first year apprentices and second year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015. See clause 35.2 of the award for further information.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Water Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates (from 50% to 55% of the rate for Level 4) for first year apprentices who have completed Year 12 and commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

Wine Industry Award

There will be an increase in minimum rates for some first and second year apprentices who commenced on or after 1 January 2014, effective from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2015.

If you already pay above award rates, you may not be required to increase wages, providing the rates paid are above the increased minimum rates.

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