Modern award variations published

Analysis

Modern award variations published

Modern awards are currently being varied in a number of ways because of recent decisions of the Fair Work Commission in the two-year review of modern awards and also changes to the Fair Work Act.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The following summary of recent award variations has been provided to WorkplaceInfo by the New South Wales Business Chamber.
 
Modern awards are currently being varied in a number of ways because of recent decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in the two-year review of modern awards and also changes to the Fair Work Act 2009. Variations will affect:
    • superannuation contributions
    • individual flexibility arrangements
    • consultation clauses
    • part-day public holidays (applying in South Australia) 
    • apprentice rates and conditions (applying to awards that contain apprenticeship provisions).
Superannuation contributions
 
Most modern awards contain superannuation provisions that require an employer to contribute for default fund employees into one of the funds named in the award, a fund they were contributing into before 12 September 2008 or a successor fund. A default fund employee is an employee whose contributions are not made into a fund chosen by the employee.
 
Awards are being varied to require that contributions for default fund employees are only made into a fund offering MySuper (or a defined benefit fund). This means that any fund specified in the award which does not offer MySuper will be removed from it.
 
Employers will still be able to contribute into a fund they contributed into prior to 12 September 2008 or a successor fund provided it offers MySuper.
 
If an award does not currently contain a superannuation provision it will be varied to require that contributions are made for default fund employees into a fund that was being contributed into before 27 November 2013, provided it offers MySuper.
 
Most of the larger funds are authorised to offer Mysuper, and the award variation should not affect obligations. Your default fund(s) should already have advised you if they offer MySuper.
 
The FWC is expected to vary awards for the MySuper requirements shortly. The MySuper amendments will take effect for contributions made on or after 1 January 2014.
 
Individual flexibility arrangements
 
Modern awards have a clause allowing an employer and employee to enter into an individual flexibility arrangement (IFA) to observe specified parts of the award differently.
 
The Commission recently varied the standard clause to allow up to 13 weeks notice of withdrawal from an IFA by either party (instead of the current maximum 28 days notice) and also to make clear that an IFA cannot be entered into with a potential employee as a condition of employment.
 
The FWC has finalised the wording of the changes and will vary awards in the near future. The 13 weeks’ notice will only apply to IFAs that are made after the award has been varied.
 
The variation date for the various awards is not yet known.
 
Consultation clauses
 
Changes will be made to awards that require employers to consult with their employees about a change to their regular roster or ordinary hours of work.
 
The employer will be required to provide their employees with information about the change, invite employees to give their views about the impact of the change, including any impact in relation to their family or caring responsibilities and to consider the views of their employees.
 
The Commission has not yet determined the final form of the new term and the variation date for the various awards is not known. The new consultation requirement will apply from 1 January 2014.
 
Part-day public holidays (SA only)
 
Modern awards are being varied to provide for part-day public holidays proclaimed for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in South Australia.
 
The variations merely update the reference to 2012 to 2013 in the part-day holiday provisions that were inserted for South Australia last year.
 
The provisions will only apply to these part-day holidays in South Australia for 2013. It is expected that the FWC might examine part-day public holiday provisions more generally in the forthcoming four-year review of awards, which will take place in 2014.
 
Apprentices
 
The Commission awarded new rates for first- and second-year junior apprentices, and in some cases adult apprentices, who commence their apprenticeship from 1 January 2014.
 
It also varied a number of conditions applying to apprentices, which will apply from 1 January 2014, including providing for competency-based wage progression in a small number of awards.
 
The Commission has finalised the new clauses and is varying awards with apprentice provisions.
 
Post details