Infographic: The principle purpose test


Infographic: The principle purpose test

This infographic sets out the basic principles used to determine which modern award applies to a particular job.


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How does an employer know which modern award applies to its workers?

The so-called ‘principal purpose’ test has long been recognised by industrial tribunals where the work under consideration involves a range of different activities.

In determining which award applies, it is not merely a matter of quantifying the time spent on various elements of work performed by an employee, the quality of the different types of work done is also a consideration. For instance, in considering the contest between work as a journeyman tradesperson and a labourer, greater emphasis should be placed on the 'quality' work as a journeyman tradesperson.

Aspects of the employment to look at include the substance, the nature of the work, the principal purpose, or the major objective for which the employee was employed.
In considering that a modern award does not cover an employee, the Fair Work Commission needs to be satisfied the employee’s duties were not the major and substantial role of the employee, and this activity was not the principal purpose of his or her employment and was incidental to the principal purpose of his or her employment.

Our infographic illustrates the factors behind the principle purpose test.

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