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About Modern Awards – Fair Work Act Awards System

Information About Modern Awards

The Australian Government began reviewing and modernising awards in 2008. In 2010, 122 industry and occupation awards had been modernised and counting!  Most modern awards include provisions allowing certain aspects of the award to be phased in over a 5 year period, such as wages, loadings and penalties.

Fair Work Australia generally reviews minimum wages of Modern Awards each financial year as part of the Minimum Wage Panel of Fair Work Australia – so it is important to keep up to date with any increases to the Award.

The Modern Awards work in conjunction with the National Employment Standards.

The National Employment Standards set out 11 minimum standards that employers are required to adhere to.  The 11 standards relate to the following matters:-

  • Maximum weekly hours;
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements;
  • Parental leave and related entitlements;
  • Offers and requests to convert from casual to permanent employment;
  • Annual leave;
  • Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave;
  • Community service leave;
  • Long service leave;
  • Public holiday;
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay; and
  • Fair Work Information Statement.

The Modern Awards and National Employment Standards work together to create minimum rights and entitlements for employees.  Employers must ensure that these minimum standards are being met.

Note, only some of these standards are applicable to casuals.

Flexible Arrangements

Under the National Employment Standards, parents or those who have the responsibility of caring for a child, have the opportunity to request a change in their working arrangements to take into account their individual personal needs.

A request may be made in writing to their employer, setting out the details of the changes sought and the reasons for the change.

A change may relate to such things as:-

  • Hours – reducing the hours or modifying the start or finish times;
  • Location – working from home or another location.

Employers must give the employee a written response advising whether the request has been granted within 21 days.  The change can be refused on reasonable business grounds.   Where this is the case, the advice to the employee must include the reasons for refusal.

You can browse and download Modern Awards at the Fair Work Australia website. You can also give them a call – they are very helpful.