Award Interpretation: Tips For Business Owners

When you employ a team to work in your business, you need to ensure that you treat them fairly. Not only is treating your employees properly important for overall staff morale but it is your responsibility as their employer to ensure that they are paid the minimum legal pay rates and that you provide the right conditions for your employees when it comes to the workplace. Fair Work Australia outlined what these pay rates and conditions are, however, for many business owners, managing these fair working requirements can be an ongoing challenge that can be difficult to get on top of.

As with many other business processes nowadays, thankfully technology can help you. With award interpretation software, you can set up award rates in just a few clicks so that you don’t spend more time than necessary on this task. The software will allow you to auto-fill essential entitlements such as overtime pay, allowances and penalty rates, making life easy for the employer. In addition to that, this type of software will also automate wage calculations so you can be sure that your employees are paid correctly, and finally, you can connect your software seamlessly with your payroll systems to decrease the amount of administrative work required and to ensure that your timesheets, entitlements and other details are synced with your payroll software of choice. With all of these benefits, business owners can finally manage award Fair Work requirements with confidence.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you with award interpretation so you can ensure that your employees are treated fairly.


Know Your Industry’s Award

There are one hundred and twenty-one different awards that span a number of different occupations, industries and niches. These are put in place by Fair Work Australia to ensure that employees experience consistently fair working conditions and pay in their job.

Some of the different awards include the General Retail Industry Award 2020, Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020, Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020, Real Estate Industry Award 2020, Aged Care Award 2010, Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010, Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020, Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020, Children’s Services Award 2010, and the Miscellaneous Award 2020.

Each of these awards has different requirements. If you are not sure what the relevant award for your industry is, be sure to check the Fair Work Ombudsman website.


Be Wary Of Changes

Whatever industry you might be in, it’s crucial that you stay up to date with the latest changes when it comes to award interpretation. Fair Work rules can change from time to time and you need to ensure that you are aware of the latest updates so you can adapt accordingly.

Using award interpretation software, you don’t have to keep your ear to the ground, constantly on the lookout to see what has changed. Instead, the software does the hard work for you so that you are always up to date with what is required of you. This ensures that your team are always paid correctly and is provided with the right working conditions, regardless of what changes come down the track.


Understand Your Obligations

As an employer, it’s important that you understand exactly what your obligations are when a modern award applies. It is your responsibility to ensure that your employees receive at least the minimum entitlements and pay, as outlined in the applicable modern award for the work that they do, the hours that they work and the time of the day that they complete those hours of work. You also need to consider the level of experience of your employee, the experience they have and the level of qualification that they hold.

All of these factors can impact the classification level under the modern award in question, which, in turn, can impact what they should be paid and other entitlements.  If an employee’s situation changes, you need to ensure that you are still paying them the correct rate and providing them with the right entitlements. Modern awards cover hours of work, pay, breaks, rosters, allowances, overtime and penalty rates. Any or all of these could be impacted if an employee’s situation changes so you need to be sure that you are always up-to-date with the personal circumstance of each of your team members.


Ensure You Understand Award Interpretation As An Employer

If you employ any number of people, you need to be aware of award interpretation. While not every employee in the country is covered by a modern award, such as those who do not fall under the national workplace relations system, individuals who are award-free, or people that are covered by an enterprise agreement, you need to be aware of what rules apply to you as an employer. Following the tips outlined above, you can be sure that you meet your obligations moving forward and avoid possible non-compliance fines that can reach up to $51,000, in addition to massive amounts of backpay

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