a legally enforceable order which sets out minimum terms and conditions of employment for a group of employees. Federal awards are made by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and State awards by relevant tribunals.
Under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, as amended under “WorkChoices” in March 2006, the federal award system has been expanded to cover all employers that are constitutional corporations. This will have the effect of shifting significant number of employers and employees from the State to the Federal industrial relations system. Under WorkChoices, federal awards were to be further rationalised and simplified and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission’s award making role reduced and its role in setting minimum pay will be done by the Australian Fair Pay Commission.
Under changes made to the Workplace Relations Act and which came into effect on 28 March 2008, awards and collective agreements are the standards against which an individual agreement is tested to determine whether the ‘no-disadvantage test’ is met.