Friday, 24 April 2020

Changes to the Miscellaneous Award from July 2020

From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020, the coverage of the Miscellaneous Award will change to cover those employees who were not previously covered by an award.

Lower-skilled, semi-skilled or trades-qualified work that is not covered by another modern award, will now be covered by the Miscellaneous Award.

This change does not impact managerial or professional employees (such as accountants and finance, marketing, legal, human resources, public relations and information technology specialists). These employees will continue to be excluded from coverage of the Miscellaneous Award.

Why are these changes being made to the Miscellaneous Award?

Currently, employees in an industry covered by a modern award who were not within a classification in that modern award were excluded from the Miscellaneous Award. That is, due to the identity of their employer, certain occupations that were traditionally subject of award coverage are presently award free.

In a ruling on 25 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission decided that this exclusion was inconsistent with the purpose of the Miscellaneous Award.

The Miscellaneous Award was created to cover employees who were not covered by another modern award, but who performed work of a “similar nature” to those that had been historically covered by awards.

To illustrate this position, the Fair Work Commission provided an example of security guards employed by a building/construction business to watch over a building/construction site in non-working hours. As the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 does not contain any classifications for security guards, that award does not cover those employees. In addition, because of the exclusion in the Miscellaneous Award, they would also not be covered by that award.

The changes to coverage of the Miscellaneous Award are therefore made to align with the original purpose of this award and provide coverage for those types of employees.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should consider whether any of their employees (not currently covered by an award) will now fall under the Miscellaneous Award.

If so, employers should ensure that the minimum wage rates and other conditions such as penalty rates and overtime rates are paid in accordance with the Miscellaneous Award.

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This article was produced by HR Legal. It is intended to provide general information only in summary format on legal issues. It does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such.

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