Modern awards

What is a modern award?

Modern awards are made and amended from time to time by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to set out minimum conditions of employment for a specific industry or job. A modern award defines things like minimum wages, overtime, employment standards, penalty rates and allowances.

Who does a modern award cover?

Modern awards contain information about who they cover or apply to.

To find the modern award covering your public or local government sector job in Queensland, please visit the QIRC Awards Online service for all awards.

For employees covered by a certified agreement, the agreement will override the modern award to the extent of any inconsistency, and agreements generally contain conditions and entitlements that are more specific to particular workplaces than modern awards. Modern awards do not apply when a bargaining award is in place. Please visit the QIRC Certified Agreements page for Queensland public sector and local government certified agreements.

How does a modern award set my employment conditions?

Modern awards supplement the minimum conditions of employment set out in the Queensland Employment Standards (QES), and which apply to all workers in the Queensland industrial relations jurisdiction.

The Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act) requires that all modern awards:

  • be easy to understand
  • remain contemporary and relevant
  • provide for equal remuneration of men and women for work of equal or comparable value
  • must not contain discriminatory provisions
  • take into account employees’ family responsibilities
  • wherever possible, contain ‘facilitative provisions’ including allowing for agreement to be reached at the workplace or enterprise level, between employers and employees (including individual employees) about matters including work and family responsibilities
  • enable the employment of regular part-time employees
  • contain dispute resolution procedures.

Further information

For specific information contact your employer’s Human Resources or Industrial Relations area or your union.

Queensland Industrial Relations Framework

A comprehensive review of Queensland’s industrial relations laws resulted in the government adopting all 68 of the review’s recommendations which will promote a fair and balanced industrial relations framework. A significant majority of the recommendations will be given effect though the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (the Act). The Act received assent on 9 December 2016 following its successful passage through the Queensland Parliament on 30 November 2016. Most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 March 2017.

The Act provides a framework for the conduct of industrial relations within the State’s industrial relations jurisdiction that is fair and balanced and supports the delivery of high-quality services, economic prosperity and social justice for Queenslanders. The defining features of the State industrial relations system are:

  1. a set of minimum employment conditions and standards
  2. collective bargaining as a cornerstone for setting wages and conditions including good faith bargaining and other consultation
  3. requirements to promote consultation between employers and employees
  4. a set of individual rights to fair treatment
  5. effective, transparent and accountable governance and reporting obligations for all registered industrial organisations and employer associations
  6. the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) as a strong and effective independent umpire.

The Act covers employers and employees to whom the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not apply. Generally this means employers and employees of the Queensland government and local governments are covered by the Queensland Act.

Last updated: 6 November 2017