Classification translation principles

From 1 January 2010, modern awards commenced operating and replaced thousands of pre-existing instruments. The following principles provide guidance on how individual employee classifications translate into modern award classification structures.


  1. Employees will be covered by a modern award classification that appropriately covers their work
    • A classification will apply if it clearly covers the employee’s occupation, skills, competency and level of responsibility.
    • Some modern awards list indicative tasks which each classification is expected to perform. The indicative tasks provide helpful guidance, but should also be considered in conjunction with a classification’s required skills, competency or responsibility level.
    • A modern award classification should be equivalent or comparable to the required duties and skills under an employee’s pre existing classification.

  2. A modern award classification structure may not be identical to that in the pre-existing instrument
    • The translation of each pre-existing classification will need to be considered individually.

  3. There may be more than one modern award classification that covers elements of an employee’s job.
    • In these situations, it may be appropriate to consider one or more of the following factors:
      • the primary purpose of an employee’s job
      • an employee’s expected level of competency or skill
      • an employee’s degree of responsibility, judgement, autonomy and accountability
      • an employee’s required level of supervision
      • whether the employee is required to supervise other staff
      • an employee’s required qualifications, experience or level of knowledge.
  4. Employees may not always be covered by the modern award classification which provides the closest wage rate to their pre-existing wage rate.
    • An employee’s modern award classification should not be selected by comparing wage rates
    • An employee’s classification should always be identified based on the work they do.

  5. There may be multiple translations to or from a single classification
    • A pre-existing classification may translate into more than one modern award classification
    • More than one pre-existing classification may translate into a single modern award classification.

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Page last updated: 17 Sep 2010