Author: Lehanne Bleumink, Gold Seal HR Services Manager.

The Fair Work Commission has varied several Awards as part of its Modern Award Review which is ongoing. While there have been new clauses added to most Modern Awards, such as family and domestic violence leave and casual conversion, there have also been a number of clauses varied as part of the ‘plain language re-drafting’ process.

As there have been a number of clauses varied as a result of the Fair Work review, it is important for employers to be aware of these changes.

The following changes have been made to the Banking Finance and Insurance Award 2010 (BFI Award) as part of the ‘plain language redrafting’. They apply from the first full pay period on, or after 1 November 2018:

  • Individual flexibility arrangements – clause 7 Award Flexibility has been deleted and new clauses and heading inserted.
  • Consultation about major workplace change – clause 8 Consultation has been deleted and new clauses and heading inserted.
  • Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work – new clause 8A added.
  • Dispute resolution – clause 9 deleted and new clauses inserted.
  • Termination of employment – clause 11 deleted and new clauses inserted.
  • Payment on termination of employment – new clause 20.3 added.

The new payment on termination of employment clauses requires an employer to pay an employee’s wages and all other entitlements, within 7 days of the end of their employment.

The new clauses regarding consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work apply if an employer proposes to change the regular roster, or ordinary hours of work of an employee. An employer must provide information about the proposed change and invite the employee to give their views about the impact of the proposed change on them. The employer must consider any views given.

Casual employment and part time employment have also been reviewed. It was this part of the review where the right to request casual conversion was added to Modern Awards. You can find detailed information in last month’s HR newsletter article titled “Casual Conversion – Fair Work Changes from 1 October 2018”. Under this same section of the Fair Work review of Modern Awards, a new clause has been added to the BFI Award – which is minimum engagement for casual employees. The new clause inserted at clause 10.3 is where a casual employee must be engaged and paid for at least 2 consecutive hours of work on each occasion they are required to attend work.

Following a Fair Work Commission decision, Modern Awards were varied effective 1 August 2018 to include another new clause which gives employees access to 5 days family and domestic violence leave. This clause was added at clause 28 in the BFI Award.  See the August HR Newsletter titled “Family and Domestic Violence Leave Entitlements – effective 1 August 2018

What should employers do now?
It is important to note that while some clauses have been varied and may not be new; there are a number of new clauses that have been added also. It is recommended that employers review the BFI Award to familiarise themselves with the changed and new clauses.
The Fair Work Modern Award review continues with further changes to clauses expected and possibly new clauses added. It is for this reason, it is important for employers to refer to the BFI Award conditions when wanting to make changes that will affect their employees.

All these changes to the BFI Award can be viewed by following this link: BFI Award 2010

Recent changes to the Victorian Long Service Leave Act
Effective 1 November 2018 changes to the Victorian long service leave Act commenced. However, for insurance companies operating in Victoria these changes do not apply in most instances.

Modern Awards cannot include terms dealing with long service leave, therefore will refer to the National Employment Standards (NES). Under the NES, the State and Territory laws do not apply when there are long service leave entitlements in a federal pre-Modern Award that previously covered an employer and their employees prior to 1 January 2010.

This means, if an employer was respondent to a pre-Modern Award that contained long service leave provisions prior to 1 January 2010, they should follow the provisions of that Award, not the state long service leave legislation. In the Insurance industry, the majority of employers were respondent to the Insurance Industry Award 1998 which does contain Long Service Leave provisions.

An insurance business in Victoria would have been respondent to the Insurance Industry Award 1998 as part of a common rule declaration for the insurance industry known as the ‘Insurance Industry Victorian Common Rule Declaration 2005’, which was declared on 1 January 2005. This is where businesses working in the insurance industry in Victoria became respondent to the Award if they weren’t already listed in the Award.

Bottom line, the Insurance Industry Award 1998, not the Victorian LSL Act will apply to insurance businesses located in Victoria. It is important to note, there are some exceptions to this, so if an employer is not already aware of which rules to follow it is recommended they contact Gold Seal for clarification.

For assistance on any of your HR/IR requirements – call Gold Seal on 03 9510 5100 or email