Coverage changes to the Miscellaneous Award could mean some lower-skilled employees are no longer award-free from July 1, 2020.
These workers will now be eligible for benefits like minimum award wages, overtime rates, weekend penalty rates and allowances.
The Miscellaneous Award was generally intended to act as a catch-all and provide coverage for low skilled and low paid workers not covered by another modern award.
On February 12, the Fair Work Commission Full Bench determined its scope of coverage was unclear.
The ambiguity meant some employees who should be covered by an award were left out.
The Commission’s decision to make the amendment allowed a significant increase in the award’s scope.
However, the award only extends to work which requires “advanced trade qualified” as the highest level of training, and to “sub-professionals”.
CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advisor Chris Nunn says that the qualifications of the employee must be relevant to their role for it to be considered as important in determining whether their work falls within the scope of the Miscellaneous Award.
“So, for example, someone could be university degree qualified in a field that’s completely unrelated to what they’re working in and for that purpose, given the right circumstances, they might still have coverage under this award if there was not a more suitable award coverage elsewhere,” he says.
Employees performing senior or degree-qualification level roles are still likely to be determined award-free if not covered by another modern award.
The award scope excludes managerial employees and professional employees such as accountants and finance, marketing, legal, human resources, public relations and information technology specialists.
Members can contact the Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 for advice on whether these changes include their staff.