How do I know what award I am covered by?

What an award entails

As defined by Fair Work Australia, an award is an enforceable document containing minimum terms and conditions of employment in addition to any legislated minimum terms. An employee can determine what award applies to them by asking his or her employer, contacting Fair Work Australia or consulting with an employment lawyer. Essentially, an award stipulates the bare requirements that are to govern the employment. As such, the terms of the award are superimposed upon any written employment contract.

Upon commencing employment, many employees will be informed that their employment is subject to a particular award. If the employer does not identify which award, an employee can determine what award applies to them by asking his or her employer, contacting Fair Work Australia or consulting with an employment lawyer. It may also be important for an employee to inquire as to whether his or her employment is subject to an enterprise agreement. All modern awards and enterprise agreements are available to view and download from the Fair Work Australia website however it is often difficult to determine whether an employee falls under one or another award.

As of 1 January 2010, a system of modern awards was introduced after an extensive review was conducted by Fair Work Australia’s predecessor, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. As stated above an award is an enforceable document containing minimum terms and conditions of employment in addition to any legislated minimum terms. Modern awards created under the national workplace relations system set minimum standards for specific industries or occupations. Together with the National Employment Standards (NES), modern awards ensure that employees are protected by a ‘safety net’ of terms and conditions applicable to their employment.

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