Greatest hits 2014: modern awards in 5th spot


Greatest hits 2014: modern awards in 5th spot

Our greatest hits countdown continues with our fifth most popular story of 2014, which looks at what's happening with modern awards in 2014.


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Our greatest hits countdown continues with our fifth most popular story of 2014, which looked at what's happening with modern awards in 2014.

Also coming in at number 5 were:

Paul Munro's A-Z definitions

Superannuation Guarantee was the fifth most popular  A-Z definition for 2014.

Topic pages

Allowance payments was the fifth most visited page on the WorkplaceInfo website this year.  (this is under the payroll category of “Payments and expenses”)

Feature articles

Now to our fifth most popular feature story Modern awards 2014 – what's happening?

Here it is again, in case you missed it.

Modern awards 2014 – what's happening?

This year will see the first major review of modern awards since the Fair Work Act 2009 took effect in 2010. This is not to be confused with the Modern Awards Review 2012 (which is still underway), which was designed to check that modern awards were properly modernised and is narrower in scope than the forthcoming four-yearly review.

The intent of the four-yearly review is to vary modern awards where they seem out of kilter with contemporary needs. The four-yearly review seems likely to run through 2014 and the first half of 2015 and it is expected there will be a number of major multi-award applications as well as applications for individual awards.

Process for the four-yearly review

The Fair Work Act (s156) requires that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) must conduct review of modern awards every four years. The FWC has published an issues paper setting out the finalised process for conducting this review. It will be primarily conducted by one Full Bench of the FWC over the next 18 months.
While one ‘core’ Full Bench will conduct the review, the composition of the Full Bench will vary depending on the group of awards being reviewed. In some cases, individual members may deal with specific awards or specific issues and provide a report back to the Full Bench.
The review will follow the form of the original Part 10A award modernisation process, in that parties will be required to make submissions to a Full Bench on an award by award basis, rather than by application.
The four-yearly review will consist of an initial stage that considers the legislative framework under which the Review will be undertaken and identify common issues, followed by an award stage which reviews the awards in four groups.
Each stage is expected to last from four to six months with some overlap between each stage in order to complete the review by mid-2015.

Recent award variations

There have been recent variations to all modern awards with respect to consultation about changes to hours, superannuation, individual flexibility arrangements, and apprentice wage rates and conditions of employment. There has also been an order issued by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

Consultation about changes to hours

As of 1 January 2014, all modern awards now require any employer wishing to change employees’ regular roster or ordinary hours to consult with staff, provide information about the change and invite their views about the impact of the proposed change and consider those views.
This new consultation requirement will not apply to employers with an operating enterprise agreement that was voted up before 1 January 2014, but similar consultation provisions must be included in an agreement made on or after 1 January 2014.


The FWC, on 30 December 2013, varied modern awards to ensure superannuation contributions for default fund employees (those who have not nominated their own choice of fund) are paid into either a defined benefit scheme or a fund that offers a MySuper product.
Changes have been made to the relevant definitions clause and superannuation clause in each modern award. The FWC has ruled that the changes come into operation on the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 January 2014.
This new MySuper requirement is consistent with employer obligations under superannuation guarantee legislation. Guarantee legislation requires that all contributions for default fund employees from 1 January 2014 are made into a fund offering MySuper (or a defined benefit) and applies to employers whether or not there is an award. Failure to comply is a breach of the choice obligations.
The new MySuper requirement does not apply to employers with an operating enterprise agreement that was approved before 1 January 2014. Default fund employee contributions can continue to be made under an agreement until the agreement no longer applies, whether or not the fund offers MySuper.
Making default fund employee contributions under an agreement to a fund not offering MySuper is permitted under superannuation guarantee legislation.
Agreements approved on or after 1 January 2014 which specify funds must only specify funds offering MySuper (and/or defined benefits).

Superannuation clauses in the four-yearly review

A separate four-yearly review of the superannuation provisions in modern awards will also start in the first quarter of 2014. This review will result in a new standard superannuation clause in all modern awards, but also, in many cases different funds being specified for default fund employee contributions.
The current provision allowing default fund employee contributions into a fund being used before 12 September 2008 will disappear, and it is not clear whether there will be a way for employers to use the one default fund for employees under different modern awards where there is no common fund specified.
Variations from the superannuation review will not come into effect before 1 January 2015.

Individual flexibility arrangements

All 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 FWC recently varied the standard clause to allow up to 13 weeks notice of withdrawal from an IFA by either party (instead of the previous maximum 28 days notice) and also to make clear that an IFA cannot be entered into with a prospective employee as a condition of employment.
The 13 weeks notice will only apply to IFAs that are made from 4 December 2013.

New Road Safety Remuneration Order

On 17 December, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal handed down its first Road Safety Remuneration Order, the Road Transport and Distribution and Long Distance Operations Road Safety Remuneration Order 2014.
The order applies to any driver employed or engaged in:
    • road transport and distribution as defined in the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2012 for the transport of goods or anything else destined for sale or hire by a supermarket chain (a business that operates fove or more supermarkets); and
    • long distance operations as defined in the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010

The order, which takes effect from 1 May 2014, imposes obligations on the employer or hirer of these drivers and also on participants in the supply chain, including consignors, consignees and intermediaries. 

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Apprentice wages — January 2014 increases

The Modern Award Review 2012 looked at the pay and conditions of apprentices, trainees and juniors, and the FWC determined in a decision in 2013 which would result in variations to those modern awards that contain apprenticeship provisions.
These variations increase wages — the FWC awarded new wage rates for first and second year junior apprentices, and in some cases adult apprentices, for apprenticeships commencing on or after 1 January 2014, and introduced a number of changes relating to conditions of employment.
Any changes to conditions of employment apply from 1 January 2014 to current and future apprentices. The FWC has now issued determinations specifying the exact variations to be made to each affected modern award.
The following are examples of modern awards that contain minimum rates of pay and conditions of employment relating to the employment of apprentices:
Airline Operations — Ground Staff Award 2010
    • Airport Employees Award 2010
    • Aluminium Industry Award 2010
    • Amusement, Events and Recreation award 2010
    • Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010
    • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010
    • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award 2010
    • Gas Industry Award 2010
    • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2010
    • Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010
    • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
    • Joinery and Building Trades Award 2010
    • Local Government Industry Award 2010
    • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
    • Meat Industry Award 2010
    • Mining Industry Award 2010
    • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010
    • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010
    • Restaurant Industry Award 2010
    • Stevedoring Industry Award 20101
    • Timber Industry Award 2010
    • Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010

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