List of Allowable Matters
The Workplace Relations Act and related legislation require the Commission to simplify all federal awards. This process involves ensuring that awards contain only the 20 allowable matters specified in the Act and that they meet certain other legislative criteria.

s.89A of the Workplace Relations Act 1996

Industrial dispute normally limited to allowable award matters

(1) For the following purposes, an industrial dispute is taken to include only matters covered bysubsections (2) and (3):

(a) dealing with an industrial dispute by arbitration;
(b) preventing or settling an industrial dispute by making an award or order;
(c) maintaining the settlement of an industrial dispute by varying an award or order.

Allowable award matters

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the matters are as follows:

(a) classifications of employees and skill-based career paths;
(b) ordinary time hours of work and the times within which they are performed, rest breaks, notice periods and variations to working hours;
(c) rates of pay generally (such as hourly rates and annual salaries), rates of pay for juniors, trainees or apprentices, and rates of pay for employees under the supported wage system;
(d) incentive-based payments (other than tallies in the meat industry), piece rates and bonuses;
(e) annual leave and leave loadings;
(f) long service leave;
(g) personal/carerís leave, including sick leave, family leave, bereavement leave, compassionate leave, cultural leave and other like forms of leave;
(h) parental leave, including maternity and adoption leave;
(i) public holidays;
(j) allowances;
(k) loadings for working overtime or for casual or shift work;
(l) penalty rates;
(m) redundancy pay;
(n) notice of termination;
(o) stand-down provisions;
(p) dispute settling procedures;
(q) jury service;
(r) type of employment, such as full-time employment, casual employment, regular part-time employment and shift work;
(s) superannuation;
(t) pay and conditions for outworkers, but only to the extent necessary to ensure that their overall pay and conditions of employment are fair and reasonable in comparison with the pay and conditions of employment specified in a relevant award or awards for employees who perform the same kind of work at an employerís business or commercial premises.

(3) The Commissionís power to make an award dealing with matters covered by subsection (2) is limited to making a minimum rates award.

Limitations on Commissionís powers

(4) The Commissionís power to make or vary an award in relation to matters covered by paragraph (2)(r) does not include:

(a) the power to limit the number or proportion of employees that an employer may employ in a particular type of employment; or
(b) the power to set maximum or minimum hours of work for regular part-time employees.

(5) Paragraph (4)(b) does not prevent the Commission from including in an award:

(a) provisions setting a minimum number of consecutive hours that an employer may require a regular part-time employee to work; or
(b) provisions facilitating a regular pattern in the hours worked by regular part-time employees.

(6) The Commission may include in an award provisions that are incidental to the matters in subsection (2) and necessary for the effective operation of the award.

Exceptional matters may be included in industrial dispute

(7) Subsection (1) does not exclude a matter (the exceptional matter) from an industrial dispute if the Commission is satisfied of all the following:

(a) a party to the dispute has made a genuine attempt to reach agreement on the exceptional matter;
(b) there is no reasonable prospect of agreement being reached on the exceptional matter by conciliation, or further conciliation, by the Commission;
(c) it is appropriate to settle the exceptional matter by arbitration;
(d) the issues involved in the exceptional matter are exceptional issues;
(e) a harsh or unjust outcome would apply if the industrial dispute were not to include the exceptional matter.

Anti-discrimination clause

(8) Nothing in this section prevents the Commission from including a model anti-discrimination clause in an award.

Note: A model anti-discrimination clause was established by the Commission in the Full Bench decision dated 9 October 1995 (print M5600).


(9) In this section, outworker means an employee who, for the purposes of the business of the employer, performs work at private residential premises or at other premises that are not business or commercial premises of the employer.

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