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Modern Award reviews – What has changed in your Award?

Modern Award reviews – What has changed in your Award? (Last Updated On: July 10, 2017)
29 June 2015 – Timber Industry Award updates

A number of changes have been made to the Timber Industry Award. Most of the changes simply clarify the meaning of the award. A quick snapshot of the main changes can be found below.

  • Days off in lieu of public holidays: clause 36.4 previously provided substitute days off in lieu where Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday. This clause has been removed. Employees will only be entitled to a substitute day off if this is declared a public holiday by the state or territory where the employee is based.
  • Ordinary hours of work: clause 27 of the award has been amended to confirm that it allows ordinary hours of work to be averaged over a maximum period of four weeks.
  • Leading hand allowance: clause 21.4 of the award now confirms that the leading hand allowance is a weekly flat rate (not a daily rate).

 

2 June 2015

The Fair Work Commission has recently made some changes to a number of modern awards, as part of its four yearly review of all awards. This review is looking at a range of matters, including general drafting issues and inconsistencies with the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act).

The aim of the review is to ensure modern awards provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net of employment conditions. Hopefully, the review will also simplify the awards, after the Commission’s own survey found that small businesses find modern awards complex, lengthy and difficult to understand.

What’s changed?

The recent changes to some modern awards relate to alleged inconsistencies with the National Employment Standards (NES). The main changes are set out below.

Shiftworkers

Under the NES, shiftworkers (generally, someone who is rostered over seven days and regularly works Sundays and public holidays) are entitled to accrue an additional week of annual leave (totalling five weeks of annual leave a year for full-time employees).

Some modern awards potentially required employees to complete 12 months service as a shiftworker before this entitlement would accrue and suggested that the leave only accrued on a monthly (and not daily) basis. These provisions have been deleted. In accordance with the NES, all employees who are shiftworkers are entitled to accrue annual leave (on a daily basis) from day one of their employment.

Changes relating to leave entitlements and payments on termination

A number of awards contained additional requirements relating to accessing personal/carer’s leave or public holiday pay. Other awards removed the right to payment for accrued annual leave or notice on termination for employees who only had a short length of service or who were terminated for any reason which was their own fault. These provisions are inconsistent with the NES and have been amended or deleted from the relevant awards.

Broken Hill Allowances

Employees working in Broken Hill will continue to be entitled to a district allowance, even though this allowance was supposed to end on 31 December 2014. This allowance is contained in the awards listed below.

–  Fast Food Industry Award 2010
–  General Retail Industry Award 2010
–  Hair and Beauty Industry Award
–  Pharmacy Industry Award

What should I do?

These changes are unlikely to affect most businesses. If you employ shiftworkers and only allow them to accrue annual leave at a rate of four weeks a year, please contact the Advice team on 1300 651 415 for further assistance.

In relation to the other changes, please check the list below for additional information on specific changes to the awards applicable to your business. These will be identified in your initial review letter.

As always, we are on hand to help if you have any questions about the changes and how they affect your business.

List of specific award changes

Timber Industry Award has been updated

A number of changes have been made to the Timber Industry Award. Most of the changes simply clarify the meaning of the award. A quick snapshot of the main changes can be found below.

  • Days off in lieu of public holidays: clause 36.4 previously provided substitute days off in lieu where Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day fall on a Saturday or Sunday. This clause has been removed. Employees will only be entitled to a substitute day off if this is declared a public holiday by the state or territory where the employee is based.
  • Ordinary hours of work: clause 27 of the award has been amended to confirm that it allows ordinary hours of work to be averaged over a maximum period of four weeks.
  • Leading hand allowance: clause 21.4 of the award now confirms that the leading hand allowance is a weekly flat rate (not a daily rate).

Airport Pilots Award

This award only allowed an employee to access their personal/carer’s leave during a period of annual leave if they were seriously ill and the illness lasted at least seven days. Clause 27.8 of this award has been amended to confirm that the employee only needs to be unfit for work. They must also advise the employer as soon as reasonably practicable of the illness and produce medical evidence before they can access their personal/carer’s leave and have their annual leave re-credited.

Aircraft Cabin Crew Award

This award only allowed employees to access their personal/carer’s leave during a period of annual leave if the illness lasted for more than one day. Clause 25.9 of this award now confirms that an employee only needs to be unfit for work. They must also advise the employer as soon as reasonably practicable of the illness and produce medical evidence before they can access their personal/carer’s leave and have their annual leave re-credited.

Airport Employees Award

This award previously only required employers to pay accrued annual leave to an employee terminated in the first 12 months of their employment if the termination was through no fault of the employee’s. In accordance with the NES, now all employees are entitled to be paid any accrued leave on termination, regardless of the reason for the termination or their length of service.

Clause 32.6 of this award also previously limited the amount of personal/carer’s leave which an employee could use to care and support a family member when they are ill, to five days. This clause has been deleted. In accordance with the NES, employees can use all of their accrued personal/carer’s leave (up to 10 days a year for full-time employees) for personal illness or injury or to provide care and support to their immediate family or household members.

Business Equipment Award

This award previously confirmed that annual leave was only payable on termination if the employee had more than one week of service and the employment was not terminated for serious and wilful misconduct. This restriction has been removed. In accordance with the NES, now all employees are entitled to be paid any accrued leave on termination, regardless of the reason for the termination or their length of service.

Contract Call Centre Award

This award previously allowed employers to withhold payment for a public holiday if an employee was absent the day before or after the public holiday without reasonable excuse or consent. This clause has been deleted. In accordance with the NES, all permanent employees are entitled to be absent from work and paid for their ordinary hours of work on a public holiday.

Higher Education Industry – Academic Staff – Award

Clause 25.3 of this award confirms when casuals are entitled to not attend work or be available for work, including a right to take time off for the death of an immediate family member in Australia. The requirement for the family member to be in based in Australia has now been removed (as there is no such requirement under the NES).

Marine Towage Award

This award previously allowed employers to terminate an employee without notice for any misconduct. In accordance with the NES, clause 31.8(a) of this award has been amended to confirm that an employer can only terminate an employee without notice for serious misconduct.

Stevedoring Industry Award

This award previously provided for an additional day of accrued leave, in addition to penalty rates for working Christmas Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day or Labour Day. The right to an additional day of leave has been removed, but penalty rates will still be payable as set out in this award.

Sugar Industry Award

Clause 16.5(f) of this award provided for certain benefits to be payable on redundancy instead of long service leave. Long service leave entitlements are generally derived from State or Territory legislation and the Fair Work Act 2009 prohibits awards dealing with long service leave. Therefore, this clause of the award has been removed.

If you are considering making an employee redundant, please contact the Advice team on 1300 651 415 for more information.

Textiles, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award

A number of amendments have been made to the textiles award. Many of these amendments simply clarify the existing terms, but the key amendments are set out below.

–  Requirement to take annual leave: clause 41.4 of this award previously stated the employee must take annual leave within 18 months of accruing it. This clause has been amended to confirm that, once an employee has accrued six weeks of annual leave, an employer may direct the employee to take up to two weeks of annual leave. If directed to take leave, the employee may request to take the leave at an alternative time (within 6 months of the direction), which the employer cannot refuse unreasonably.

–  Breaks for shift workers (textile industry): clause 38.2(a) of this award provides employers with discretion to provide 20 minute crib breaks (counted as time worked) per shift in lieu of an unpaid meal break. This clause has been amended to confirm that this discretion relates to two eight hour shifts or three eight hour shifts (the word eight having previously been omitted).

–  Meal breaks during overtime: clause 40.1(a) of this award confirms an employee who works over 1.5 hours of overtime is entitled to a meal break of 30 minutes and a meal allowance. The clause has been amended to confirm that the employer can provide an adequate meal instead of the allowance.

–  Part-time leave entitlements: clause 13.9 has been amended to confirm that pro-rate leave entitlements are based on ordinary hours worked (and not overtime).

–  Payment by results and alteration of time standards: the circumstances in which an employer can amend any previously agreed time standards have been amended in clause 23.7 of this award.

–  Consultation provisions: employers must now provide information on any proposed change of roster or hours of work in a manner which facilitates the employees’ understanding of the proposed changes, having regard to their English language skills. This might include the use of translations where appropriate.

–  Rostered day off: clause 43.5 of this award has been amended so that it only applies to RDOs falling on public holidays except where this is a Saturday or Sunday.

Timber Industry Award

This award permits an employee to make an election to cash out personal/carer’s leave in certain circumstances. This award has been amended to confirm that the employer must agree to the leave being cashed out (as required by the NES).

Waste Management Award

This award previously allowed employers to withhold payment for a public holiday if an employee was absent the day before or after the public holiday without reasonable excuse or consent. This clause has been deleted. In accordance with the NES, all permanent employees are entitled to be absent from work and paid for their ordinary hours of work on a public holiday.

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