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Changes to the Legal Services Award – March 2020

Published May 07, 2020 (last updated July 22, 2020) Author: Employsure
legal service award change

The Fair Work Commission has recently clarified the way some Award provisions apply, and made minor amendments to the Legal Services Award itself.

What Are the Changes?

  • The definition of “law graduate” has been amended to make it clear that the employee must have completed a qualification in law and be undertaking a period of training within a law firm in satisfaction of requirements prescribed under relevant legislation in order to be admitted to practice as an Australian lawyer. It does not include someone who has already been admitted to practice as a lawyer in Australia or overseas.
  • The Award allows some clauses to be varied by agreement with an individual employee. A new clause has been introduced summarising the provisions where this is possible.
  • For an employee to be paid overtime rates for work performed outside ordinary hours in the Award, the work must be authorised work that is required or requested by you as the employer.
  • Paid rest breaks can be taken at a time suitable to you as the employer, taking into account the reasonable business needs of the practice.
  • The Fair Work Commission has reinforced that employees who earn above the award minimum rate must be paid this higher rate when taking annual leave.
  • The Fair Work Commission has changed the language of early morning, afternoon and night shift “allowances” to “penalty rates”. The penalty rates remain the same.
  • The part-day public holiday provisions apply to those declared or prescribed between 7.00pm and midnight Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, not 6.00pm.

 What Do I Need to Do?

  • If you have employees classified as a law graduate, ensure they meet the new definition.
  • If you wish to vary any Award terms, contact us for further advice.
  • Ensure employees’ work is authorised by you or requested by you before paying the employee overtime rates.
  • If you pay employees higher than the Award minimum rate, ensure you are paying the employees that higher rate when they take annual leave.

How Can Employsure Help Me?

Not a client? If you need help understanding and implementing these changes, please contact Employsure on 1300 207 182 and we can give you free, initial advice on this topic. If you’d like more help implementing these changes in your business and are interested in ongoing support, Employsure can help you.

Employsure clients affected by the changes to the Legal Services Award have been notified of these changes by email. Get in contact with Employsure if you have any trouble understanding or implementing these changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When did these changes come into effect?

    These changes came into effect on Monday 20 March.

  • Has the Pay Rate Schedule changed?

    There are no updates required for this change to the Legal Services Award.

  • Do you need help understanding these changes to the Legal Services Award?

    Not a client? If you do need help understanding and implementing these changes, feel free to ring Employsure on 1300 207 182. We can give you free, initial advice on these changes to the Legal Services Award.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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