What is award interpretation?

Award interpretation is essentially the process of determining the minimal legal pay rates and conditions for your employees, as outlined by Fair Work Australia. The current modern awards system came into effect on January 1st 2010.  Modern awards operate on an industry and occupation level in order to provide a safety net for employment conditions. Modern awards provide entitlements including pay rate, hours of work, breaks, penalty rates, rosters and overtime. Australia has a very complicated awards system, with 122 different awards covering varying industries. For example, if you work in retail, you are covered under the General Retail Industry Award. If you write for a newspaper, you’re covered under the Journalists Published Media Award. If you aren’t sure of your award, Fair Work Australia operates an ‘award-finder’ tool so that you can check your award entitlements.

The only time an employee isn’t covered under an award is when the business they work for is operating under a registered agreement. A registered agreement is a document outlining employment conditions that must be signed by both employer and employer. These agreements must be registered with, and approved by, Fair Work Australia.

Basics of award interpretation across all industries include:

Base wage: the legal minimum remuneration that employees receive for their work within ordinary hours.
Penalties and overtime: the higher rates of pay awarded to employees for working outside ordinary hours. This includes weekends, public holidays, or late nights.
Allowances: compensation to employees for costs incurred due to their job. This often includes a meal allowance, uniform allowance, accommodation allowance and more.

Mistakes in award interpretation are all too common in Australia due to their intricate structure. Fines of up to $51,000 apply for award non-compliance, as well as huge backpay. Roubler provides complete award interpretation for all modern awards, complete with a fully integrated payroll system. Let Roubler handle your award interpretation, so you can avoid large fines and focus on your core business goals.