What is an Award?

This page is about

  • Industrial awards and what they cove
  • How industrial awards are made
  • How awards relate to Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs
  • How to have your say in your working conditions

What is an industrial awardWhat sorts of things do awards cover?What's the difference between an award and an EBA?Who makes awards?Which union represents me?How do I get a say in what's in my Award?More about AwardsCan I see my Award?

What is an industrial award?

In simple terms, awards set the minimum standards that an employer in your industry is allowed to pay for your kind of work.

More technically, it's a legal ruling which grants all employees in one industry or employer the same conditions of employment and wages.

Awards are designed to protect employees' wages and conditions.

What sorts of things do awards cover?

Awards cover things like pay, overtime rates and conditions, special leave arrangements, special allowances and hours of work.

They identify conditions over and above the minimum required by legislation.

What's the difference between an award and an Enterprise Agreement(sometimes called an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement(EBA)?

In general, all the conditions that are in an award and included in an EBA apply. Where there is an EBA , it overrides the award, and may provide additional or changed conditions.

An EBA is generally arrived at through negotiation between the employer and the union, and must be endorsed by Fair Work Australia.

Who makes awards?

Awards are handed down by an organisation called Fair Work Australia, which is the tribunal set up by government to perform this function.

Your union negotiates your award on your behalf. This negotiation is funded by the members of the union, even though it applies to all employees.

Which union represents me?

The union that covers telecommunications, postal services, and information technology workers, including call centres and people working in telecommunications retail and sub-contracting to telecommunications is the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

How do I get a say in what's in my Award?

If you want a chance to have a say on what the union negotiates for you with your employer, you need to become a member of the union.

Unions are democratic organisations. Union officials are elected by the members.

Union membership also gives you access to a huge range of savings and protection, including personal industrial advice on issues like grievances, harassment, unfair dismissal, occupational health and safety and workers compensation.

More about awards

An award is an enforceable document containing minimum terms and conditions of employment in addition to any legislated minimum terms.

In general, an award applies to employees in a particular industry or occupation and is used as the benchmark for assessing enterprise agreements before approval.

Fair Work Australia has responsibility for making and varying awards in the national workplace relations system.

Can I see my award?

Yes. Awards are public documents. You can get them from your union if you're a member and from Fair Work Australia.