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FWC Modern Award laws around time-tracking and pay compliance March 1 2020

Published 28th February 2020
Changes to the Fair Work Act Award are set to come into force first of March 2020, spurring companies to take action and comply with the new laws.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has introduced an annualised wage arrangement that requires employers to create, and for seven years retain records of hours worked by salaried staff and any extra pay for overtime within 14 days.

This means rather than review annually, employers need to track hours and pay every single pay cycle.

From March 1 2020, non-compliance with the award is a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009, and civil penalty provisions may be applicable.

From recruiters of all sizes to consulting firms like PWC, many employees of workers in a range of roles under an Award are now being told to clock on and off in an effort to not be swept up in the latest underpayment scandals.

What do employers need to do?

Review employment contracts and update HR and payroll practices to comply with the new obligations to audit annual salaries, record hours of work and backpay any shortfall when annual salaries are audited against modern award entitlements.

Modern awards impose new annual wage obligations

According to Paul O’Halloran of Law firm, Colin Biggers and Paisley, employers with employees covered by the modern awards listed in the industries/occupations below are highly likely to require amendments to employment contracts and adjustment to payroll and HR practices, in preparation for annual salary changes to be introduced on 1 March 2020:

  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010
  • Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award 2010
  • Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010
  • Contract Call Centres Award 2010
  • Health Professionals Award 2010
  • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award 2010
  • Horticulture Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Legal Services Award 2010
  • Local Government Industry Award 2010
  • Marine Towage Award 2010
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
  • Mining Industry Award 2010
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2010
  • Pastoral Award 2010
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010
  • Rail Industry Award 2010
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010
  • Salt Industry Award 2010
  • Telecommunications Services Award 2010
  • Water Industry Award 2010
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2010

Almost all employers employ clerical and administrative employees. Therefore, given that the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 is one of the awards affected, many employers may need to seek legal advice to ensure award compliance.