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ALERT: Extensive changes to various Awards to commence in April and May 2020

Awards are being extensively varied in 2020 as the Fair Work Commission finalises its 4-yearly review.

The varied awards are being issued in 3 groups.  The first group of updated awards came into effect on 4 February 2020.  See our alert here for more information on those awards.

The second group of varied awards are due to come into effect in April and May 2020.  The changes made include restructuring, technical and drafting changes as well as various specific changes to individual awards.  We have provided a list of the varied awards and the relevant commencement dates below.

What should employers do

Employers need to be on top of the new version of the award/s relevant to their workplace and employees.   Failure to comply with an award can lead to disharmony in the workplace, employee claims for underpayment or breaches of other award provisions, and hefty penalties for the business and any individual who is an accessory to the breach.

Employers can review the updated versions of the awards before they commence on the Fair Work Commission website (click on the link in the ‘Future awards’ column).


Tip: You can sign up to receive notifications of changes to Award/s on the Fair Work Commission website here


Whilst Aitken Legal will endeavour to provide updates on significant changes made to most awards, there are numerous changes being made to all awards in 2020 and it is not possible for all changes in every award to be highlighted.  It is vital that employers themselves take all necessary precautions to ensure that they keep on top of their relevant award/s.

More changes to come

The Fair Work Commission is still receiving submissions on the proposed changes to be made to the third and final group of varied awards.  We anticipate that these awards will be released and come into effect in mid-2020.  However, that will not be the end of the 4-yearly review or the absolute final versions of awards.  There are some outstanding issues still being determined separately and subsequent changes to awards could be made up until the 4-yearly review comes to an end, likely late in 2020.

After that, changes to awards should slow down considerably with changes then only being made on application by a party or at the Commission’s own initiative.

Contact us for assistance

If you have any queries or would like more detailed advice about the specific changes being made to your award/s and what it means for your business, please contact us.

The varied awards taking effect from 13 April 2020:

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Airport Employees Award
  • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award
  • Higher Education Industry – Academic Staff – Award
  • Hydrocarbons Field Geologists Award
  • Mannequins and Models Award
  • Maritime Offshore Oil and Gas Award
  • Mining Industry Award
  • Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Industrial) Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award
  • Stevedoring Industry Award

The varied awards taking effect from 4 May 2020:

  • Airline Operations—Ground Staff Award
  • Air Pilots Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Architects Award
  • Asphalt Industry Award
  • Cleaning Services Award
  • Commercial Sales Award
  • Concrete Products Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award
  • Fire Fighting Industry Award
  • Gas Industry Award
  • Higher Education Industry—General Staff—Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award
  • Meat Industry Award
  • Poultry Processing Award
  • Rail Industry Award
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award
  • Transport (Cash in Transit) Award
  • Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award
  • Waste Management Award

Disclaimer:  The information contained this article is general and intended as a guide only.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this update, Aitken Legal does not accept liability for any errors it may contain.  Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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