Every four years the Fair Work Commission undertakes a process called “Modernisation of Awards”.
The purpose is to ensure the awards are up to date and contain clauses relevant to the current industry. This may include:
- The removal of outdated clauses, and/or
- The inclusion of new clauses, and/or
- The rewording of existing clauses.
In 2014 the Fair Work Commission commenced the award modernisation on more than one hundred awards including the Meat Industry Award 2010, which has been updated to the Meat Industry Award 2020.
A significant change during this modernisation process is that all the reviewed awards now have uniform formatting. Another includes the rewording and location of clause 29 – Payment of Wages.
The 2010 award stated:
29.2 Upon termination of employment, any wages due to the employee will be paid on the day of such termination or, at the employees’ option, forwarded to them on the next working day.
The 2020 Award now locates Payment of Wages within clause 17, and has been reworded as follows:
17.2 Payment on termination of employment
(a) The employer must pay an employee no later than 7 days after the day on which the employee’s employment terminates:
(i) the employee’s wages under this award for any complete or incomplete pay period up to the end of the day of termination, and
(ii) all other amounts that are due to the employee under this award and the NES.
This rewording allows an employer up to seven days to pay an employee their final pay upon termination, which takes considerable pressure off the employer.