Quirks in modern awards No’s 5 to 8
As part of our occasional series on odd and unusual terms in modern awards, we highlight a further four more quirky clauses in modern awards that employers sometimes miss.
Quirks in moderns awards No. 5: Requirement to pay overtime rates where employees are kept waiting for their wages in the Building and Construction General Onsite Award 2010
Employers in the building and construction industry are well advised to remember their cheque book on pay day. Clause 31.5 of the Building and Construction General Onsite Award 2010 provides as follows:
“If an employee is paid wages by cash or cheque and is kept waiting for their wages more than a quarter of an hour after the usual time of finishing work on pay day (for reasons other than circumstances beyond the control of the employer), the employee is to be paid at overtime rates after that quarter of an hour for the period they are kept waiting, with a minimum payment of a quarter of an hour.”
Quirks in moderns awards No. 6: Part time employees paid more than full time employees in the Cleaning Services Award 2010
Although the minimum hourly rate to be paid to full-time and part-time employees is identical in most modern awards, the Cleaning Services Award 2010 unusually provides for an allowance of 15% for part-time employees which full-time employees do not receive (see clause 12.4(b)(iii) of the Award).
Quirks in modern awards No. 7: Junior employees to be paid adult wages when serving liquor
Many modern awards provide that “junior employees” (those under 21 years) can be paid a lesser wage than their older “adult” counterparts. It is usual for such awards to include a sliding scale of wages dependent on the employee’s age (eg 50% of the adult wage for an employee 16 years of age or under, 60% for an employee 17 years and under, etc).
However, the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 (at clause 15.1), the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010 (at clause 12.1); the Racing Clubs Events Award 2010 (at clause 19.1) and the Hospitality Award 2010 (at clause 15.1) all have provisions that state that where juniors are required to serve alcohol they should be paid the full appropriate adult wage (whereas other junior employees can be paid reduced rates).
Quirks in moderns awards No. 8: Pay rate of Level 5 employee higher than a Level 6 employee in the Fitness Industry Award 2010
A perusal of the pay rates at clause 17.1 of the Fitness Industry Award 2010 reveals that for pay rates effective from 1 July 2017, the minimum rate for an adult Level 5 employee is $24.48. The minimum rate for a Level 6 employee is less at $24.27.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website, this apparent anomaly is deliberate https://www.fairwork.gov.au/library/k600230_level-5-pay-rate-in-the-fitness-award, and is as a result of a decision of the Fair Work Commission in the 2012 Modern Awards Review: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2012fwa9142.htm