Modern Awards


by AHR Support

What is a Modern Award?

A Modern Award is a document that is occupation specific which sets out the terms and conditions of employment in which an employee is entitled to. An award introduces further employee entitlements built off the 11 minimum standards of employment as determined within the National Employment Standards (NES) governed by the Fair Work Act (2009). To find out more see the info guide on the National Employment Standards.

The specifics of what is contained within a modern award will vary based upon the role in which it is referring to and the specifics required of this role. In particular, the qualifications and experience expected of the employee, and the requirements of mentioned duties, hours, and frequency of such.  

Entitlements within a Modern Award are inclusive of:

  • Pay level and rate
  • Hours of work
  • Intended roster schedules
  • Break frequency and duration
  • Any allowances offered in response to role requirements
  • Penalty rates
  • Overtime rates
  • Occupation or industry specific leave entitlements

What do employer’s need to know?

Modern Awards are applicable to all employees that are covered by a ‘national workplace relations system’. Business owners must comply with all entitlements and conditions set within employee awards and in accordance with the 11 minimum employment standards (defined in the NES). Modern awards are unique to each industry or occupation which is problematic when an employee works within a versatile role.

Modern awards are updated regularly as laws change, and it is essential that employers are made aware of these changes and make adjustments accordingly. If this is not done promptly, employers will be held accountable for back pay and are vulnerable to an ‘unfair work claim’, which may result in interest on the back pay and other forms of compensation.

Enterprise and Employment Agreements – What are they? How do they differ?

In some instances, a Modern Award will not exist for an industry or occupation and therefore an employment or enterprise agreement will be established. Enterprise and Employment Agreements are often used for employees who work multi facet or contract roles in which there is an uncertainty of which modern award is most appropriate for the role, and therefore the development of an agreement is deemed most suitable for defining the role specific terms and conditions. The conditions within an agreement need to build from the minimum national employment standards and cannot be contradictory or less favourable than such.

Due to the increment and unique conditions of entitlements for supervisors and managers, they are often on enterprise or employment agreements even though modern awards exist for the industry and occupation.

Awards and Agreement Pyramid:

Assurance HR assist many businesses to navigate the complexity of Modern Awards, implementing associated policies and procedures to ensure compliance within such. We can also facilitate the drafting and completion of agreements in consultation with employers and employees, whilst ensuring these adhere to minimum National Employment Standards (NES). Contact Assurance HR today on 1800 577 515 to discuss how we can help you.

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