Prime Mover Magazine

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Warren Clark

Modern transport awards due to be restructured by end 2019

May 2019

If your business employs staff in the trucking industry, modern awards are important for you to understand.

It is unlawful to employ someone on conditions less than set out in the applicable modern award and the National Employment Standards.

Any changes to the modern awards that increase employment costs such as wages and allowances can have a strong effect on your business’ bottom line.

For this reason, NatRoad has been an active participant in modern award litigation since the review of all modern awards started in 2014.

That modern award review will continue throughout most of 2019. 

It has been a slow, painful process that has taken up the resources of everyone who has participated.

Representing the interests of road transport employers across Australia has been at the centre of all NatRoad work on modern awards.

NatRoad was one of the many that thought the process was too resource intensive, too cumbersome and should stop after the first review. 

There are other provisions in the legislation which mean awards can be changed so a formal review process that is constant was not needed. Government listened.

On 12 December 2018, the section of the Fair Work Act covering the four yearly review was repealed with effect from 1 January 2018.

This means that there will not be any more four yearly reviews of modern awards, but the Fair Work Commission will complete the current four-year review (that has taken five years), likely in November this year.

Throughout the current review of modern awards, unions have been pushing changes that would enhance employee rights and entitlements which NatRoad has opposed.

Whilst many of these changes have good intentions, they often come at great cost to business operations.

One of the examples of where this has occurred is in getting a clawback from an employee when they resign without giving adequate notice.

We fought to preserve this employer right and employers retain the right to get back a maximum of a week’s wages from employees where they don’t give sufficient notice on resignation.

After the current award review is completed the transport modern awards will change mostly to include a number of small matters and to have some of the provisions re-cast in simpler language and set out in a clearer format.

A major change for the long-distance transport award is the introduction of part-time provisions.

Despite all of the litigation around award provisions, they still don’t make good bedtime reading.

NatRoad will be holding education sessions to let people know in detail about the changes that have occurred and the practical effects of those changes.

NatRoad will continue to fight costly Award changes that could impact your operation.

We’ll also represent your interests by pushing to keep the awards straight-forward and opposing changes that are overly prescriptive and complex.

If there are award provisions that just don’t work for you NatRoad can also assist with putting in place individual flexibility arrangements or an enterprise agreement that better suits your company’s operations.

Warren Clark
CEO, NatRoad

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