Modern awards, together with the National Employment Standards (NES), provide a minimum safety net of terms and conditions for national system employees. There are 122 industry and occupation modern awards operating across Australia.
As at 15 November 2016, there are 33 modern awards covering specific enterprises or state public sector bodies that are part of the national workplace relations system.
In 2014 the Fair Work Commission commenced the first 4 yearly review of modern awards (the Review) in accordance with s.156 of the Fair Work Act 2009. The Review commenced with an initial stage to determine the scope of the Review. The initial stage has been followed by an award stage and a common issues stage.
During the award stage, the Commission is considering issues specific to individual awards.
Common issues are generally proposals for significant variation or change across the award system, such as applications which seek to change a common or core provision in most, if not all, modern awards. The common issues to be considered during the Review include:
The Commission has also undertaken a plain language pilot which involved creating a plain language draft of the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010.
In line with the commitment to make modern awards more accessible, in particular to small business and individuals, the Commission will produce further plain language drafts and will also apply plain language drafting principles to new award provisions developed as part of the Review.