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Wages in Australia

Australian employers and employees and contain the minimum terms and conditions for employees in particular industries and occupations.

While modern awards contain minimum wages, some modern awards have transitional arrangements in place, whereby the wage-related components that came into effect 1 July 2010 may be phased in over five years.The transitional provisions apply to:

base rates of pay, including piecework rates

casual and part-time loadings

Saturday, Sunday and public holiday penalty rates

evening and other penalty rates

shift allowances or penalties.

It is important that employers check the relevant Award for any applicable transitional conditions. These are generally found in Schedule A of the award.

Minimum wage

Generally, employees in the national system cannot be paid less than minimum wage and minimum wage will be outlined in your award or agreement.

National Employment Standards

The 10 minimum conditions of employment, which became applicable to all employees covered by the federal system from 1 January 2010, cover:

maximum weekly hours of work

the ability to request flexible working arrangements

annual leave

public holidays

parental leave

long service leave

personal leave (sick/carer's and compassionate leave)

community service leave

notice of termination and redundancy pay

the Fair Work Information Statement.

What if an employer gets it wrong?

Any breach in the terms contained in a Modern Award or a national minimum wage order may be investigated and enforced by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). This may result in long and expensive audits and costly penalties.A breach in terms includes:

pay

conditions (e.g. annual leave or sick leave)

unlawful workplace discrimination

workplace rights.

Additionally the adverse publicity could seriously damage the reputation of a business.The cost of getting it right is minimal in comparison to the cost of defending any actions taken against a business. It is ultimately beneficial to the future and viability of your business.

Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements set out the employment conditions between an employee or group of employees and an employer.

Enterprise agreements include specific conditions for one workplace. When a workplace has an enterprise agreement, the modern award doesn’t apply. However, the pay rate in the enterprise agreement can’t be less than the pay rate in the modern award.