Quirks in mod­ern awards #1: One mon­th’s notice of ter­mi­na­tion under the Pro­fes­sion­al Employ­ees Award

The major­i­ty of employ­ees in Aus­tralia are cov­ered by an indus­try / occu­pa­tion spe­cif­ic mod­ern award. Whilst many of the awards con­tain sim­i­lar pro­vi­sions, in this series of occa­sion­al arti­cles we exam­ine unusu­al award claus­es which are some­times missed by employers.

Most mod­ern awards con­tain word­ing in rela­tion to notice along the fol­low­ing lines: Notice of ter­mi­na­tion is pro­vid­ed for in the Nation­al Employ­ment Stan­dards”. This is a ref­er­ence to the slid­ing scale of min­i­mum notice peri­ods stat­ed in sec­tion 117 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

The Pro­fes­sion­al Employ­ees Award 2010 cov­ers employ­ees per­form­ing pro­fes­sion­al engi­neer­ing and pro­fes­sion­al sci­en­tif­ic duties” (as defined) and employ­ers in the infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy indus­try, the qual­i­ty audit­ing indus­try or the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices indus­try” (as defined).

Unlike most oth­er mod­ern awards, clause 12.2 of the Award states Instead of s.117(3)(a) of the Act, in order to ter­mi­nate the employ­ment of an employ­ee the employ­er must give the employ­ee one month’s notice.”

This means that an employ­ee is enti­tled to one mon­th’s notice from their first day of employment.