Keeping Up With Modern Awards

Stephen Booth

The first 4-yearly review of modern awards commenced in January 2014, and whilst it still has some way to go, it is presently intended to be completed by the end of 2018.  This review process has been so demanding that the Fair Work Commission has deferred the second 4 yearly review (previously scheduled to begin last January) until the current 4 yearly review is complete and the dust has settled on the changes made to awards as a result of the current review.

This deferment has been actioned so that all relevant parties have the chance to review how the amended modern awards operate in practice, and has come as a relief to pretty much everyone involved in the process.

The Fair Work Commission has been amending awards as various streams of the process have been completed.  Generally, this occurs with a model term being developed to be inserted into most awards - although there are many instances wherein individual awards have a variation of the model term, due to different considerations for particular industries or occupations (such as patterns of work, or established custom) which the FWC has taken into account.

Taking the above into consideration, it is imperative for those people responsible for companies' HR and payroll to stay vigilantly aware of any and all changes within 'their' awards, and to implement any changes to their organisation's current practice necessary in complying with the relevant changes.  There is no substitute for reviewing the applicable awards and noting any changes which have come about in the last 4 years, as these will generally have derived from the 4-yearly review.  

Particular changes and issues to consider include:

If you require any assistance to understanding the changes to those awards relevant to your business, please don't hesitate to get in contact with our Employment Law Team.  We can help you to identify the changes to the awards that are relevant to you, and what they may mean in practice.