Is your interpretation of your modern award correct? – check the 2020 version of your modern award

Principal Consultant - Concept HR Services

4-yearly modern award review – is there a 2020 version of your award?

Since 2014, the Fair Work Commission has been reviewing and changing awards as part of the 4-yearly review of modern awards.
The main changes have been to the layout and language and, as a result, the awards should be simpler, easier to read and easier to understand.
The updating of the awards has taken place in various stages, with many awards having already changed.

Not sure if your award has changed?

  • If it has the year 2020 at the end of the award name instead of 2010 then the award has been updated as part of the 4-yearly review.
  • Another way to determine the latest change of the award is to look directly under the award heading and you may see wording something like this “This Fair Work Commission consolidated modern award incorporates all amendments up to and including 31 July 2020”.
  • Head to the Fair Work Commission website list of awards. The awards list has two columns, “Current Awards” and “Future Awards”. If there is a date under “Future Awards” this will indicate when the new version of the award will be in place.

What to do if your award changes?

  • Always ensure that your employees, who are covered by an award, can access an electronic or hard copy of the award at their workplace.
  • Ensure that you are complying with all the provisions of the award and make any updates to employee terms and conditions if necessary.

Is your interpretation still correct?

  • Awards have been notoriously difficult to interpret and understand. Your interpretation may be different to someone else’s.
  • It is worthwhile reading through the updated award carefully, especially in areas such as overtime, penalties, and allowances.
  • The simpler, easier to read language may give you a different perspective or understanding of the clauses and it is worthwhile checking that your current application of the award is correct.
  • Caution! Even if you pay your employees an above-award rate or salary you need to ensure that this salary or rate is sufficient to cover all award entitlements.

The following 12 awards are changing effective November 2020:

  • Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Fitness Industry Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Funeral Industry Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Horticulture Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Live Performance Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Pastoral Award 2010 (6/11/2020)
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Award 2010 (6/11/2020)
  • Racing Clubs Events Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Telecommunications Services Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Timber Industry Award 2010 (13/11/2020)
  • Wine Industry Award 2010 (13/11/2020)

If you need assistance with award compliance or any other HR or people management matters, please email me at

Tracy Ford

Principal Consultant - Concept HR Services

We work with small and medium sized businesses to provide personalised, and commercially viable, HR solutions to meet your specific business needs.
Our solutions, support and advice is tailored to your business and people needs rather than providing "off-the-shelf" products. We aim to build strong, long lasting customer relationships with local business owners and their teams.
Tracy has 25+ years HR generalist experience working in both the Corporate and SME sectors.

Concept HR Services