22 Feb How Does an Award Effect an Employee’s Rights at Termination?
An award is a legally enforceable document which details the minimum standards of employment. An award will usually apply to a specific industry or type of occupation. Minimum terms and conditions are recorded in an award and this information will usually form the basis of most employment contracts.
All modern awards require employers to consult employees in relation to any major workplace changes. A vast majority of working Australians are covered by an award. If your employment is covered by an award there will be certain rights afforded to you that will affect your termination.
Moreover, an employer is obligated under a modern award to consult an employee in situations where a workplace change has had a significant effect on their employment. A significant effect on an employee can include the termination of employment and alteration of work hours. If this has occurred to you then you will be entitled to a consultation process with your employer.
In addition, if an employer makes a decision to make you redundant, they must follow the consultation process outlined in the award. If the consultation process is not followed the redundancy will not be considered genuine and you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation under the Fair Work Act. It must be noted that in circumstances where the operational reasons for a dismissal would have unlikely changed as a result of any consultation, then it could still be considered a genuine redundancy.
Any consultation must be constructive and meaningful. A consultation is not a one sided presentation from the employer explaining a redundancy. There must be a genuine opportunity given to the employee which allows them an opportunity for input and to ultimately influence the employer with respect to a redundancy.
Furthermore, an award provides for a range of rights on termination, some of those being:
- Pay for long service leave.
- Pay for accrued leave and/or time in lieu.
- Pay in lieu of notice of termination.
- Any unpaid wages.
Most modern awards now require employees to make termination payments within 7 working days of their employment terminating.
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