Modern employment awards (termed as awards) are a key concept in Australian employment and workplace law. They offer additional standards and entitlements to the National Employment Standards, such as a pay, allowances, breaks, rosters, and hours of work. So, what entitlements are offered under a Modern Award and how do you go about understanding awards? Read on for more information on Modern Employment Awards.

What are Modern Employment Awards and Who is Covered by Them?

Modern awards are legal documents that outline the minimum terms and conditions of employment, on top of the National Employment Standards (NES). They came into effect on 1 January 2010 and are regularly updated to reflect our changing Australian workplace.

Modern awards apply depending on the industry you work in and the type of role you hold. Every award has a specific clause within it, detailing who it covers (usually in the coverage clause) and the specific job classifications it relates to. For example, in the Legal Services Award, clause 4 details the coverage of clerical and administrative employees, law graduates and law clerks. Further, if your business is not primarily involved in the legal services industry, however, you cannot be covered under this award. Who awards cover therefore varies with each modern award itself.

When Modern Awards Don’t Apply

Importantly, a modern award may not be relevant to an employee if their business is already covered by a registered collective agreement. Further, an employee may not be covered by any modern award and may be considered award and agreement free, in certain circumstances. Some examples of award free employees are those whose job classification fails to meet any of those that modern awards specify, or those who earn considerably more than the modern awards cover. In these circumstances, the National Employment Standards (NES) and National Minimum Wage prevail as the minimum terms and conditions of that employee’s employment.

So, how do you Navigate Modern Employment Awards?

If you’re wanting to examine modern employment awards in more depth, learn to navigate them or would like information on what award you may be classified under as an employee, contact our expert team of employment lawyers. We can not only help find your award, but can assist in resolving any workplace legal disputes and draft employment contracts aligned to the Australian Fair Work system.

Need Help?

If you would like help with respect to employment law and modern awards, contact our team of experienced lawyers by submitting an online enquiry, calling us on 1300 QUINNS or alternatively, +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange a teleconference or appointment.