Award modernisation – at last

Award modernisation – at last

ANY employer who has grappled with Western Australia’s unwieldy and archaic awards will be glad to hear the award modernisation process has finally gotten underway.

Directions were issued by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission in January with the hearing due to commence in March.

The hearing relates to four key State awards, namely the:

Ø      Metal Trades (General Award) 1966;

Ø      Cleaners and Caretakers Award 1969;

Ø      Children’s Services (Private) Award 1990; and

Ø      Shop and Warehouse (Wholesale and Retail Establishments) State Award 1977.

The modernisation process should result in awards having a more uniform arrangement, clear and unambiguous scope clauses and up-to-date provisions in respect of all those entitlements that apply by virtue of the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA).

In addition, the WAIRC will be considering:

Ø      Whether or not to include a ‘reasonable hours’ clause in similar terms to the Federal standard;

Ø      Whether or not to include a ‘family responsibilities’ clause that would require employers to provide part-time work, job sharing, flexibility in rostering and other flexible employment arrangements to those with family responsibilities;

Ø      Whether or not ‘shift penalties’ are relevant in the modern workplace; and

Ø      Whether or not some standard enterprise bargaining provisions such as probation periods and ‘spread of hours’ clauses should also be included in awards.

Award modernisation should result in awards being more ‘user-friendly’ which is good news for employers.

However, certain proposed clauses (such as those dealing with reasonable hours and family responsibilities, could significantly impact some employers.

Kathy Reid, associate 9429 7695


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