What is a common rule award?

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What is a common rule award?

There has been considerable discussion about Victorian employees being brought under a common rule award system from 1 January 2005.

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There has been considerable discussion about Victorian employees being brought under a common rule award system from 1 January 2005.

What is meant by a common rule award system?

Common rule awards can be made by the various State industrial tribunals and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) (in relation to the ACT, Northern Territory and Victoria).

The term 'common rule' is applied to awards which affect all employers and employees engaged on work covered by the award, whether the employer is named as a party to the award or not, and whether he/she was represented upon the making of the award or not.

In other words, the common rule awards' application is determined by the nominated work or industries covered.

Note that an employer cannot enter into a contract with an employee to deprive the latter of any benefit conferred on the employee by an award or industrial enactment. Any contract entered into by an employer and employee, which is inconsistent with the provisions of any award or other industrial enactment, does not prevent the employee from recovering all amounts due to him under such enactments irrespective of any other benefits received, nor does it prevent the employer from being prosecuted for breach of the award.

Other awards or agreements instead of common rule award

If employers and employees, with or without union involvement, wish to vary conditions otherwise applicable by force of a common rule award, they can negotiate and register a specific award or agreement that takes into account the minimum entitlements of the common rule award, but varies them according to their particular needs and requirements.

Existing agreements

Transitional provisions will be provided by the AIRC to cover agreements still current in Victoria.

Existing agreements and AWAs would run their course in all likelihood; and then the issue of testing against the standards of the relevant common rule awards would arise.

Victorian timetable

Victorian employers and unions are negotiating the common rule awards to apply as federal awards from 1 January 2005.

The AIRC is currently hearing submissions and guiding the implementation of common rule awards in Victoria.

AIRC site

The AIRC has set-up a site that provides links to applications, hearing dates and other material for Common Rule Awards in Victoria.

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