The first 122 modern awards commenced on 1 January 2010, coinciding with the introduction of the new national workplace relations system.
The 11 minimum National Employment Standards (NES) and the modern awards (or the National Minimum Wage Order, for employees not covered by an award or agreement), make up the minimum safety net for national system employees.
While modern awards commenced on 1 January 2010, many contain transitional arrangements which phase-in changes in wages, loadings and penalty rates over a five-year period.
The first modern awards were created as part of an extensive review conducted by the Fair Work Commission's predecessor, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), following a formal Australian Government request.
They apply to national system employees in a particular industry or occupation. In general, the employees of constitutional corporations are covered by the national workplace relations system. In addition, those covered include:
Many modern awards contain transitional arrangements which specify when particular parts of a modern award come into effect. Some transitional arrangements appear in clauses in the main part of the award, some may also appear in a schedule.
Transitional arrangements may deal with:
The making of a modern award (and the operation of any transitional arrangements within a modern award) is not intended to result in a reduction in the take-home pay of employees covered by such award.
If you are an employee or outworker and believe your take-home pay has suffered as a result of the introduction of a modern award, you may be able to seek a 'take-home pay order' to remedy the situation. Such an order will preserve your existing take-home pay while you remain in the same job.