Modern Awards are an important part of the Australian employment law landscape. Modern Awards were introduced in 2010 and there are currently 122 Modern Awards covering a wide range of industries and occupations. An Award basically sets out minimum standards including base rates of pay, other entitlements and conditions of work.
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) includes a requirement that every four years the Fair Work Commission (FWC) must review all Modern Awards. This year is first of the four yearly reviews. The FWC is currently considering the annual leave provisions in Awards and has identified that the ‘common issues’ for annual leave include:
- Cashing-out of leave
- Excessive leave
- Annual close-down
- Granting leave in advance
- Purchased leave
- Payment of entitlements on termination of employment
- EFT and paid annual leave
Both employer and employee representative groups have been encouraged to formulate a single position on each of the issues to streamline the process. At this stage a hearing date has been set for August.
Also of note is that 1 July 2014 marks the end of the transition period which applied from the introduction of the new awards in January 2010, so that from 1 July this year the full Modern Award rates will apply.
Sarah Waterhouse, Solicitor, BlandsLaw
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