One of the questions we ask employees when they first contact us is: Does a modern award or enterprise agreement cover your employment?
The most common answer we get is: I don’t know…
And to be honest, we don’t blame you! Modern awards and enterprise agreements (EAs) can seem confusing, inaccessible and intimidating. But we promise you they’re not.
It is very important to be aware of any entitlements you have under an award or EA in order to enforce them. Knowledge is power.
This article will give you a few tips and tricks on how to determine if you are covered, and what to do once you know.
Step 1 – Review your employment documents
Have a look at your contract of employment. Often these will identify if a modern award or EA applies and what your classification is. While this is a useful step, we recommend satisfying yourself that the coverage and classification is correct (using the following steps).
If you do not have a copy of your contract of employment, you should request one. It is important to always have an up to date copy of your employment records. You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s template for requesting documents, found here. You can also speak with your employer to confirm your coverage.
Step 2 – Search for an EA
All EAs are registered with the Fair Work Commission and can be accessed here. You can search using the Commission’s website and your employer’s name and ABN.
If you find an EA you believe you are covered by, ensure to read the coverage and classification requirements to ensure you actually are covered. They may only include employees at certain locations or performing certain roles.
Step 3 – Determine your Award/Classification
If an EA covers your employment, this supersedes any modern award that covers your employment.
If an EA does not cover your employment, you should proceed to searching for a modern award. The Fair Work Ombudsman has a very useful tool to assist with this – you can find it here.
If you need to search manually, you can find a list of modern awards here. You can access the award that is most relevant to your profession and read through answering the following questions:
- Does the Award cover your employment? Coverage provisions are found in the first few clauses of the award. This will outline the industry and area that the award applies in.
- Does anything in the definitions of the Award preclude you? A defined term may oust your coverage.
- If your employment is covered, is your role included in the classifications? The classifications are usually included in a Schedule to the Award. They outline the different levels of employees under the Award, as determined on the basis of skills and responsibilities. Some roles may be too senior to be included in the classifications.
Step 4 – Know your entitlements
Once you have determined your modern award or EA – READ IT! You will learn lots about your rights and entitlements that you may not know you had. Take particular note around entitlements such as overtime or penalty rates, annual leave loading, redundancy consultation requirements and dispute resolution.
If your employment is not covered by an award or EA, you can still brush up on your entitlements under the National Employment Standards and the Fair Work Information Statement.
If you are still having difficulty determining whether you are covered, please reach out to us and book in a free 15 minute scope & quote call to see how we can best assist.