Common Rule Awards in Victoria


From 1 January 2005 common rule awards will operate in Victoria. The introduction of these awards is expected to affect up to 350,000 low-paid employees. It will mean an increase in minimum employment conditions for these employees including access to conditions such as overtime and weekend pay rates, shift payments, annual leave loading and redundancy pay.

Legislation passed by the Victorian and Australian parliaments in 2003 paved the way for Victorian common rule awards and in 2004 the Australian Industrial Relations Commission conducted a test case to determine the principles for processing Victorian common rule award applications. By the end of 2004 about 160 Victorian awards had been declared common rule and about another 20 were still being considered. The earliest any of these awards can come into effect is 1 January 2005.

The Commission's web site contains a dedicated section on Common Rule Awards in Victoria. On this dedicated site you will find information relating to the test case which determined the general principles governing these awards. Under the section called Declarations you will find a list of awards that have so far been declared common rule in Victoria. The section called Applications contains a list of applications from organisations seeking the declaration of certain awards as common rule. These are applications are currently under consideration by the Commission.

Q

What is a common rule award?

A

An award is a document which sets out the minimum wages and conditions of a group of employees. A common rule award applies to all employees in a particular industry whether or not their employers are named in the document. There are some exceptions. A common rule award, for instance, does not apply to employees already covered by a certified agreement or an Australian Workplace Agreement.

Q

Which employees and employers are covered by the new awards?

A

The awards are being introduced to cover those Victorian employees currently covered by Schedule 1A of the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The Industrial Relations Taskforce commissioned by the Victorian Government in 2000 estimated that some 356,000 employees (about 21 per cent of the Victorian workforce) relied almost entirely on Schedule 1A for their conditions of employment.

Further information

Australian Government

Victorian Government

Employee Organisations

Employer Organisations