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Employers of Queensland apprentices facing backpay.

Employers of Queensland apprentices facing backpay. (Last Updated On: December 7, 2017)

A recent full Federal Court appeal decision has been made in relation to Queensland based apprentices and trainees, which has prompted questions from some employers. This appeal was regarding a previous decision and has been dismissed. As such, there should be no change to the rates of pay for apprentices and trainees in most businesses.

In September 2016, Employsure advised clients of the change in position by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in relation to pay and conditions for some apprentices and trainees based in Queensland, following a determination by the Fair Work Commission. This determination stated some apprentices and trainees previously believed to be covered by the Queensland Apprentice Order 2003 were actually covered under the applicable Modern Award.  As a result, Employsure updated pay rate schedules to reflect this change of position by the Ombudsman.

The decision was appealed as the higher rates were determined to apply from 1 January 2014, meaning employers who had diligently following the FWO’s previous position could have unknowingly been underpaying their apprentices and trainees for years. Despite these objections, the Federal Court has now dismissed the appeal confirming the rates of pay for apprentices and trainees are set by the applicable Modern Award.

This ongoing cycle of challenges and determinations has not impacted the advice provided by Employsure to clients in September 2016 and the pay rates provided since that date. For clients of Employsure, the apprentice and/or trainee rates for the Modern Award applicable to their staff can be found on the MyEmploysure Portal.

  • MyEmploysure Portal users, click here
  • Those clients not yet using the MyEmploysure Portal, click here

Who does this decision relate to?

This decision only relates to employers who answer yes to all of the below questions. For employers which answer no to any of the below questions, this decision has no impact on their business and no action is required.

  1. Does the business employ Queensland-based apprentices or trainees (even if the business is based in another State)?
  2. Is the business a proprietary limited company (ie business name has ‘pty ltd’ after it and is not a sole trader, partnership or trust)?
  3. Was the business operating prior to 27 March 2006?
  4. Did the business employ an apprentice or trainee immediately prior to 1 January 2010?

For employers which have answered yes to all these questions and are unsure of whether the business is paying the correct rates please call Employsure on 1300 651 415.

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