workplace law

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Penalty Rate form part of the Modern Award Review

Penalty Rate form part of the Modern Award Review

The Fair Work Commission full bench is conducting the four-year review of modern awards, and shall consider any possible changes to penalty rates towards the end of the process.

The tribunal, in a statement this week, said that awards where penalty rates might be a “contested issue” have been allocated to the fourth group to be reviewed.

Tribunal President Iain Ross, Vice President Adam Hatcher, Senior Deputy Presidents Jennifer Acton and Jonathan Hamberger and Commissioner Michelle Bissett advised was necessary so to “allow time for the interested parties to gather evidence to support their claims and to ensure that any phasing in of transitional rates or loadings will be complete“.

Despite some parties pushing for penalty rates to be included in the common issues stage now underway, President Ross ruled in March that penalty rates did not meet the definition of a common issue.

Justice Ross announced that the 6 common issues to be dealt with separately from the individual award reviews were annual leave; award flexibility/facilitative provisions; casual employment; part-time employment; public holidays; and transitional/sun-setting provisions relating to accident pay, redundancy and district allowances.

The tribunal expanded the list to include apprentice conditions following ACTU submissions in May.

The full bench also announced this week that 2 full benches will be convened to look at 6 group one awards that contain substantial, contested issues :

  • the Meat Industry Award 2010;
  • Security Services Award 2010;
  • Stevedoring Industry Award 2010;
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2010;
  • Timber Industry Award 2010; and
  • Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010.

Common issues

After a conciliation conference before Senior Deputy President Ian Watson this week, the full bench will look at annual leave common issues on August 20 and 21.

In June, employer organisations called for clauses to be inserted in modern awards relating to cashing out leave; excessive accruals; shutdowns; advanced access and payment of annual leave, while the ACTU asked the Commission to insert a clause clarifying the inclusion in termination payments of what employees would have received had they taken the leave they were owed.

While further directions will be issued soon on transitional/sun-setting provision common issues relating to accident pay, redundancy and district allowances, the Commission has called for submissions by August 29 from parties concerned that some transitional issues due to cease on December 31 need to be dealt with more urgently.

An initial conference will be held on September 29 to discuss part-time employment and casual employment common issues, with hearings in the first half of 2015.

The bench said that public holidays and award flexibility/facilitative provisions common issues will also commence in early 2015, with any changes arising from the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014 to be addressed then.


Brooke Pendlebury
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Entitlements, News