EMPLOYMENT LAW - FOR EMPLOYERS
WHAT ARE AWARDS AND HOW CAN THEY AFFECT EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS?
Awards are legally enforceable orders made either through arbitration or agreement between employers and union representatives. An award usually includes conditions such as ordinary hours of work, definitions of types of employment (full-time, part-time, casual), penalty rates and allowances. If an employer is covered by an award, that award will specify minimum standards that need to be met. An employer and employee may, however, negotiate to set conditions that are more favourable to the employee then those listed in the award.
As part of the new amendments to employment laws, Australia’s award system has been streamlined with the goal of creating fewer awards to provide broader coverage across industry and occupational lines. From 1 January 2010 the streamlined awards containing provisions covering wages, conditions and allowances along with the new National Employment Standard are in effect.