A classification is the level allocated to the type of work that your employee is performing. Modern awards contain many different classifications and these are defined in detail based on the duties and tasks that your employees ordinarily perform.
The Clerks Award contains 7 classification levels and employees must be classified at the appropriate level, based on the skills and experience that they are required to use in their job.
Note: You are required to inform your employees in writing of their classification and of any changes to their classification. You can do this by including this information in a letter of engagement when they start working for you (templates available below), and simply by writing them a letter if their classification changes. You must also record their classification in your time and wages record for each employee.
To find the right classification
You can access Finding the right pay for various tools (such as PayCheck Plus) to help you find the classification levels for your employees. If you are having difficulty, or prefer, you can also:
- read through the classification descriptions located in Schedule B of the Clerks Award
- select the most appropriate classification level based on the skills/experience required for the work to be performed by your employees, keeping in mind the most complex aspects of their job.
Each of the classifications contains characteristics and typical duties and skills. You need to consider all of these to classify someone accurately. An employee will generally be classified at the highest classification which includes the skills they are required to use.
Level 1 is the starting level where employees with no qualifications, or limited experience, learn and gain ability in basic clerical skills. In most cases, employees will progress through the classification levels as their skills increase.
The minimum wage entitlements for employees classified as Level 1 or Level 2 will depend on their years of experience at that level. An employee classified at either level will progress through the years based on the amount of time they are working at that level. An employee commencing at Level 1 can progress to Level 2 depending on the number of years in the job. This does not limit their ability to progress to a higher classification level if the complexity of the role increases.
Prior service in the clerical industry is included when working out an employee’s years of experience at a level. If required, an employer can ask an employee for reasonable evidence for verification.
Craig, the director of Blackwood Accountants Pty Ltd, needs a full-time administration officer to look after the preparation of banking reports and wages payments, provide general assistance to clients over the phone, produce documents using various software packages and to manage his day to day calendar including making travel bookings and organising meetings.
Craig hires Christina, who doesn’t have any experience in an office environment. Christina is initially classified at Level 1 under the Clerks Award, as this level best reflects her skill level. At this stage Christina asks a lot of questions and needs regular supervision and assistance.
A year later, Christina is more confident and has developed skills in her role. While she is working comfortably without immediate supervision, Christina is not preparing any of the complex reports or wages payments, and the documents that she is producing are regularly checked. At this stage, Christina has progressed to Level 2.
After a year working at Level 2, Christina is entitled to the Level 2 - Year 2 minimum wage rate to reflect the amount of time she’s been working at that level.
By the end of the second year, Christina confidently performs all of the duties of her position without supervision. She responds to all of Craig’s mail and organises his calendar and travel, she responds to various client queries without relying on anyone and uses her initiative when solving problems as they arise. Christina only relies on guidance or direction when a complex issue arises. Based on these skills, Christina is most appropriately classified at Level 3.
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