Ever been confused about what modern awards and enterprise agreements are? and if you should have one or not? This mini glossary may help shed some light…

Modern Awards

Modern Awards are an industry or occupation based set of minimum employment terms and conditions which apply in addition to the National Employment Standards (NES). Many if not most industries have a modern award, which covers all employers and employees in that sector. For example a Registered Nurse would find his/her minimum terms and conditions contained in the Nurses Award 2010.

Above Award

Means a term or condition which often includes a higher wage or salary that is more than the minimum wage set by the applicable Modern Award. It sometimes means that some entitlements to overtime and or penalties are factored into the ‘above Award’ wage or salary under what is called an Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA)- stay tuned for our upcoming blog article about what an IFA is.

Enterprise Agreements

Enterprise agreements are agreements made at an enterprise level between employers and employees about terms and conditions of employment. An Enterprise Agreement may include additional, adjusted or more favourable terms such as for example higher wage increases, consultative processes and/or dispute resolution procedures. Enterprise Agreements must not include any unlawful content. Employees partied to the Enterprise Agreement must also be better off overall when comparing the Enterprise Agreement terms and conditions with the applicable industry Modern Award.

Award Free Contracts

These contracts are for occupations that are traditionally not covered by a Modern Award for example; Finance, Marketing, Public Relations and Human Resources. An Award free contract is an agreement between the employee and their employer detailing the terms and conditions of employment which cannot be less than the National Employment Standards or the national minimum wage. Award free employees still have protections contained under the National Employment Standards and the Fair Work Act 2009.

Should you need help working out which arrangement is best or applicable to your business, give us a call today, we can help.


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