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Fair Work Commission (FWC) changes to Modern Awards

What does it mean for your business?

Modern Awards changes

On March 1st 2020, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) put into effect changes to a number of Modern Awards. The intent of these changes is to ensure employees paid under an annualised wage agreement are not worse off than they would be under the normally applicable conditions of the Modern Awards. The FWC has adopted prescriptive new requirements for employers. These requirements include enhanced record keeping and the need to perform a yearly reconciliation to ensure that the employee’s annualised wage has not resulted in any underpayment.

This page will outline what your obligations as an employer and how our new Annualised Wage solution can help you comply.


What is the impact to most Australian businesses?

The FWC has placed into effect changes to 22 of the Modern Awards which will impact any business that pays an employee an annualised wage who is covered by one of these Awards. Given the breadth of Awards it is likely that someone you currently employ on an annualised wage will be covered by one of these Awards. Link to full list here.

These new obligations mean that employers who are paying employees an annualised wage and are covered by a Modern Award will need to take the following actions: 

Start capturing employee’s start/end times and any unpaid breaks.

Interpret those hours based on the relevant award to work out what they would have been paid under the Award.

Compare the employee’s annual salary against what they’d earn under the Award.

If their annualised salary is less than what they would be entitled to under the Award, process a transaction to make good on any underpayment.

How will Sage assist you to achieve compliance?

Sage Annualised Wage Solution

Our Annualised Wage solution will soon enable you to:


Capture employee start/end times and any unpaid breaks through an employee portal.


Interpret what their hourly pay would be based on the Award conditions.


Compare their Award and salary figure to identify any underpayments.

Look back

Bulk import old time sheets in order to retrospectively check compliance.

Pre-built templates

Provides 22 pre-built templates for award interpretation covering the impacted Awards.

Supports your existing system

The solution is designed to work alongside your existing payroll system.

Which Awards are affected?

The Fair Work Commission has made changes to 22 Awards which are listed below;

• Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010

• Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award 2010

• Clerks - Private Sector Award 2010

• Contract Call Centres Award 2010

• Health Professionals Award 2010

• Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award 2010

• Horticulture Award

• Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010

• Legal Services Award 2010

• Local Government Industry Award 2010

• Marine Towage Award 2010

• Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010

• Mining Industry Award 2010

• Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2010

• Pastoral Award 2010

• Pharmacy Industry Award 2010

• Rail Industry Award 2010

• Restaurant Industry Award 2010

• Salt Industry Award 2010

• Telecommunications Services Award 2010

• Water Industry Award 2010

• Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2010

Additional Modern Awards resources

What you need to know about modern awards

Blog: What you need to know about the Modern Award.

We take a deeper look at the changes coming and what you need to do to prepare.
Fair Work commission ruling

Fair Work Commission ruling

See the full ruling from the Fair Work Commission on the changes to the Modern Award.