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What are Modern Awards and which one am I covered by?

This topic pops up a lot at HR Gurus HQ.  We are often asked what Award am I covered by and how do I find out?  Before we go into what Award you may be covered by let’s take a step back and look at what is a Modern Award?

Modern Awards are legal documents that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment in addition to the National Employment Standards.  Modern Awards apply to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system.  Modern Awards can be either occupations or industry based and apply to bother employers and employees.  Take note, managers and employees on higher salaries may not be covered by a Modern Award for the industry they work in.

There are 122 industry or occupation Awards that cover most people who work in Australia, no wonder it can be confusing!

The Fair Work Commission is responsible for making and varying Award conditions.  Some standard clauses in Modern Awards cover:

  • Award flexibility
  • Dispute resolution
  • Types of employment
  • Termination and redundancy
  • Minimum wages
  • Allowances and penalties to name a few

When a new employee starts with your company their contract of employment should outline what Modern Award they are covered by.  The exception to this is generally management and employees on a high salary as mentioned earlier.  All Modern Awards are available to view and download from the Fair Work Australia website.

You can work out what Award applies to your employees or workplace by either contacting Fair Work Australia at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards/find-my-award/ or calling HR Gurus on  1300 959 560 and one of our highly skilled HR professionals will be able to assist.

Written by resident HR Guru Natalie Bol

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