Award modernisation — draft awards released


Award modernisation — draft awards released

On 12 September another major step along the road toward a system of 'modern awards' (which will come into effect on 1 January 2010) was taken.


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On 12 September another major step along the road toward a system of 'modern awards' (which will come into effect on 1 January 2010) was taken.
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission, which is overseeing the process of award modernisation, released 14 draft modern awards for the 14 priority sectors it announced in June (see below).
Over the next 6 weeks the Commission is seeking the views of employer and employee representatives, and other stakeholders about the draft awards. The Commission will then revise them, with the final versions of these modern awards to be released in December 2008.

Modern awards – background

A new system of "modern awards" is one of the key features of the Federal Government's new workplace relations system. Along with the 10 National Employment Standards (NES), the proposed system of modern awards will form the "fair minimum safety net" for employees in the federal system.
Modern awards are intended to be simple to follow, and allow flexible and productive working practices.
The introduction of the modern award system is not intended to disadvantage employees nor increase costs for employers.
Modern awards will replace the current jumble of federal awards, NAPSAs (Notional Agreements Preserving State Awards, which are the federal form of pre-WorkChoices state awards) and state awards for private sector employers. A major goal of the Commission is to reduce the number of awards. It is aiming to make the modern award system so that there are only one or two modern awards applying to any single business.
Employers should assess
Employers should assess how the draft classifications might apply, and whether the rates and conditions in the draft awards impose new costs. Another important factor for employers to consider is the coverage of the draft awards. Does the relevant modern award apply to the business' operations, or a relevant part of its operations, or does it cut through functions which should be under the one set of conditions?
Priority sectors
The priority sectors are shown below together with the draft modern awards issued for those sectors. In some sectors there is more than one modern award and a number of manufacturing sectors were bundled up together.
The priority sectors do not cover all industries, but one of the priority sectors is clerical work. All employers are potentially directly affected by the draft modern award (the Clerks - Private Sector Award 2010) made for this sector. Other draft modern awards have a wider coverage than apparent from their title. For example, the draft Retail Industry Award 2010 covers community pharmacies, hair and beauty establishments.
Some employers operate in industries which interact with one or more of the priority sectors. They may be impacted by the coverage provisions of one or more of the draft modern awards.
Finally, the release of modern awards provides the first opportunity to see the Commission's thinking about what modern awards should look like. Although modern awards will not commence until 1 January 2010 they are being made now and over 2009. It will be too late to look for changes in 2010. The gate will be shut.
The priority sectors and draft modern awards 
The ‘priority sectors’ awards are listed below. 
Coal Mining Industry - Coal Mining Industry Award 2010
Glue and Gelatine Industry - Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
Higher Education Industry - Higher Education Industry - Academic Staff - Award 2010; Higher Education Industry - General Staff - Award 2010 
Hospitality Industry - Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
Metal and Associated Industries - Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
Mining Industry - Mining Industry Award 2010 
Private Sector Clerical Occupation - Clerks - Private Sector Award 2010 
Racing Industry - Racing Clubs Events Award 2010; Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award 2010 
Rail Industry - Rail Industry Award 2010 
Retail Industry - Retail Industry Award 2010 
Rubber Plastic and Cablemaking Industry - Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
Security Industry - Security Services Industry Award 2010
Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry - Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2010
Vehicle Manufacturing Industry - Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
More information 
WorkplaceInfo will continue to publish analysis and comment on the award modernisation process.
* This overview was prepared by Australian Business Industrial, the registered industrial entity associated with the NSW Business Chamber. For more information about the Chamber and its services call Business Hotline on 13 26 96.


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