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Important changes for ‘award-free’ employees from 1 July 2020

June 22, 2020

If you engage employees that are considered ‘award-free’, you need to be aware of some important changes to the coverage provisions of the Miscellaneous Award 2020 (Miscellaneous Award), which are taking effect from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2020.

As a result of the changes, your employees who were not previously covered by a Modern Award, may now be covered by the Miscellaneous Award.

What are the changes?

The coverage provisions of the Miscellaneous Award previously clarified that employees “in an industry covered by a modern award who are not within a classification in that modern award” were not covered by the Miscellaneous Award. This provision has now been removed.

Consequently classes or groups of employees who were considered award free, because their industry award did not have an appropriate classification for them, may now be covered by the Miscellaneous Award.

For example, a cleaner employed by a building and construction business would not have been covered by the Miscellaneous Award. This is because the building company would be covered by an industry award (the Building and Construction General On-site Award) but the cleaner would not fall into any classification under that Award and would therefore have been considered award free.

The changes to the coverage provisions, mean that the cleaner may no longer be award free, as the employee could now be classified under the Miscellaneous Award.

It is important to note, that the Miscellaneous Award continues to explicitly exclude managerial employees and professional employees such as accountants and finance, marketing, legal, human resources, public relations and information technology specialists who have historically been award free.

What types of employees may now be covered by the Miscellaneous Award?

In the residential construction industry some roles that that may be impacted, depending on their duties and seniority, include:

  • Draftspersons
  • Site supervisors
  • Interior designers
  • Estimators.

Please note however that each employment situation is different, and while in some situations an employee may be covered by the Miscellaneous Award, others may still be award-free. We recommend contacting the HIA InfoCentre to determine whether there is potential coverage for your employee/s under the Miscellaneous Award.

What do the changes mean?

If you have employees now covered by the Miscellaneous Award you will need to observe penalty rates, hours of work requirements, minimum wages etc., as set out within the Award.

The changes are not retrospective, which means if you have an employee that is now covered by the Miscellaneous Award, the new entitlements will only apply from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2020.

For further information or assistance, please contact the HIA InfoCentre on 1300 650 620 or enquiry@hia.com.au.