November brings numerous modern award changes

13 December 2020

November was a busy month for the Fair Work Commission with several decisions resulting in many modern awards being changed more than once.

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National Minimum wage increase

In June 2020, the FWC announced the 1.75 per cent National Minimum Wage increase would be implemented across all modern awards. Acknowledging the COVID-19 pandemic impacted industries differently, the 122 modern awards were divided into three groups. Each group received an operative date for the wage increase. The operative dates are: 1 July 2020 (Group 1); 1 November 2020 (Group 2); and 1 February 2021 (Group 3).

The increase on 1 November 2020, applied to over 70 modern awards, including the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 and Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020. To view a complete list of modern awards affected please click here. The FWC also confirmed allowances increased for Group 2 awards according to individual determinations. The Victorian Chamber offers members an Award subscription service. This allows you to receive notifications when changes to awards occur. To sign up contact membership@victorianchamber.com.au, or for on-the-spot assistance with wage rates please call the Workplace Relations Advice Line on (03) 8662 5222.

Casual overtime

The FWC has identified several awards containing ambiguity regarding casual employees and the payment for overtime. This ambiguity included uncertainty on: whether casual employees had any entitlement to overtime rates; the circumstances in which overtime rates were payable to casual employees; and the rate at which overtime was payable to a casual employee (i.e whether the casual loading was payable in addition to the overtime rate and, if it was, whether it was added on a cumulative or compounding basis).

In October 2020, the FWC issued decisions and determinations addressing this ambiguity. This had the effect of changing many modern awards to clarify the casual overtime entitlement. The date the changes come into effect varies from award to award. In some cases, the operative date is 20 November 2020 (for example the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020) whereas others have been given more time to implement the changes with operative dates in 2021 (for example Aged Care Award 2010). Given the inconsistent changes and the substantial impact they have on minimum modern award entitlements, members are strongly encouraged to review the changes to their applicable modern award and seek advice where unsure.

How we can assist

Our experienced staff are here to give you over-the-phone advice about human resources and workplace relations issues at any time. We offer a range of services to help navigate changes and remain up to date.

Award subscription service: To utilise this service please contact membership@victorianchamber.com.au

Workplace Relations Advice Line: Complete Members have unlimited access to the Advice Line as part of their membership. Networker and Essentials members are welcome to utilise their free calls to speak to our knowledgeable advisors. Contact the Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222.

Workplace Relations Tools and Templates: We have an extensive library available to Victorian Chamber members including factsheets and HR templates. To receive your log-in details please contact membership@victorianchamber.com.au.

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