Award modernisation decision meets employers’ concerns

Heather Ridout, Chief Executive Australian Industry Group, says last week's Stage 4 award modernisation decision by the full bench addresses most employer concerns.

Heather Ridout, Chief Executive Australian Industry Group, says last week’s Stage 4 award modernisation decision by the full bench addresses most employer concerns.

“Today’s Full Bench decision of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has addressed the major concerns expressed by the Australian Industry Group about the draft modern awards released in September for the 4th and final stage of the award modernisation process,” Ridout said.

“As a result of Ai Group’s efforts, the final Stage 4 modern awards incorporate the following very important aspects:

· Unlike the earlier draft, the Miscellaneous Modern Award will not cover professional employees.

· The Miscellaneous Modern Award will now expressly exclude “those classes of employees who, because of the nature or seniority of their role, have not traditionally been covered by awards including managerial employees and professional employees such as accountants and finance, marketing, legal, human resources, public relations and information technology specialists”.

· Accounting practices will not be covered by a modern award.

· All modern awards will contain a clause clarifying the coverage of on-hire employees similar to a draft clause submitted by Ai Group.

· A modern award will not be made for the employment services industry or the group training industry, as argued by Ai Group. The earlier draft award will be modified to limit its application to the labour market assistance sector. Group apprentices and trainees will be covered by the award applicable to the industry in which they are placed.

“Award modernisation is a massive and extremely complex task, with very tight timeframes. Ai Group commends the Commission for the consultative approach which it has taken,” Ridout said.

The Commission acknowledged the contributions made by scores of people who participated in the 120 days of consultations.

“The timetable has placed significant demands on the resources of many, particularly those unions and employer associations with interests across a number of industries. Overall the level of cooperation and assistance we have received has been of the highest order,” the Commission said.