Manufacturing News

Doubts raised over draft Miscellaneous Modern Award

Coverage of the draft Miscellaneous Modern Award, released last week by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, is said to require very careful analysis.

Heather Ridout, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, says the draft Miscellaneous Modern Award needs to be very carefully analysed to ensure that it will not lead to an extension in award coverage and consequent operational and cost difficulties for industry.

“In addition to lower classifications, the draft Miscellaneous Modern Award covers professional employees except:

· Professionals covered by another modern award;

· Professionals excluded from award coverage by the Fair Work Act (eg. those who earn more than $108,300); and

· Professionals “in an industry covered by a modern award who are not within a classification in that modern award”.

“The likely interpretation of the word “industry” in the above exclusion needs to be very carefully analysed. It is vital that HR professionals, accountants etc who are currently award-free remain so. Many professional employees earn less than $108,300.

“The award includes hefty overtime penalties for hours worked in excess of 38 in a week and shift penalties for work performed after 7pm. These penalties are unworkable for professional employees.

“Ai Group will be making detailed submissions to the Commission to ensure that there is no ambiguity about the exclusion of employees who have not traditionally been covered by awards from the final Miscellaneous Modern Award.

“The Fair Work Act (s.143(7)) and the Award Modernisation Request of the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (para 4A) require that the Commission ensure that modern awards are drafted to exclude classes of employees who, because of the nature or seniority of their role, have not traditionally been covered by awards,” Ridout said.

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