Community comment sought on guidance material for transition to modern awards

29 April 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a draft guidance note on how pay rates in modern awards will be phased in over the next four years.

The note details the Fair Work Ombudsman's interpretation of transitional arrangements created by the national workplace tribunal, Fair Work Australia.

It also sets out how the Fair Work Ombudsman will apply its interpretation of these arrangements to its education and compliance activities.

While modern awards commenced on January 1, most contain Fair Work Australia's transitional arrangements whereby certain pay-related entitlements are to be phased-in over four years from July 1.

These include minimum wage rates, casual and part-time loadings and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and night work.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says his Agency has been consulting with unions and employer groups since the transitional arrangements were finalised by Fair Work Australia in December.

"We have considered the views of unions and peak industry bodies in reaching our interpretation of Fair Work Australia's transitional arrangements and we are now in a position to hear from the wider community before we publish our final position on June 1," Mr Wilson said.

"I encourage all interested workplace participants to take this opportunity to provide constructive input to this important process."

The draft guidance note is available at
Submissions should be emailed to by May 12, and will be made public.

Mr Wilson says the Fair Work Ombudsman will adopt a flexible, fair approach to enforcing compliance with the transitional arrangements of modern awards.

"Our first preference is always to assist employers to voluntarily rectify any non-compliance issues identified. We have not prosecuted a small business for making an honest mistake and fixing it up - and we are not about to start now" he said.

Tools and resources to assist employers comply with Australia's new workplace laws are also available online, including PayCheck, which by July 1 will provide users with information about transitional pay rates for the 50 most common modern awards.

Employers or employees seeking assistance can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. For translations call 13 14 50.

Go to draft Guidance Note on transitional arrangements in modern awards

Media inquiries:

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations,
0419 818 484

Ryan Pedler, Media & Stakeholder Relations Senior Adviser
(03) 9954 2561, 0434 365 924

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