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What are modern awards

Most workers in Australia are covered by a modern award, which sets out the minimum terms and conditions of employment in a particular industry.

The sorts of terms and conditions set out in modern awards include pay, hours of work, breaks, rosters, allowances, penalty rates and overtime.

There are 122 modern awards in all, covering most industries in the country.

To find out which award you work under, you can go to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Find My Award site by clicking here.

If someone is on a higher income, they may not be covered by an award, even if an award applies to the industry they work in.

Contraventions of modern awards

The Fair Work Act 2009 says that a person must not contravene a term of a modern award.

If an employer doesn’t pay the correct wages, penalty rates or entitlements as set out in a modern award, they are contravening workplace laws, and face penalties of up to $12,600 per contravention for an individual, and $63,000 per contravention for companies.

In addition, an employer can be ordered to back pay what they owe to their employees, plus interest, and in some circumstances, compensation.

There are higher penalties for serious contraventions, which include repeat offenders, or those who knowingly don’t abide by the conditions set out in a modern award.

How we can help

If you believe your employer is contravening the terms and conditions set out in the award that you are covered under, there is help available.

Please call our specialist team at Industrial Relations Claims on 1300 853 837 or click here for a quick call back.

To connect with us, please follow Industrial Relations Claims on

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