Fair Work Commission updates termination clause in Children’s Services Award

by Jason Roberts

August 13

As part of it’s Modern Award Review the Fair Work Commission has decided to vary the ‘payment of wages on termination’ clause in the Children’s Services Award 2010 to account for a lack of clarity around the period of time within which termination payments should be paid to departing employees. 

 

The issue has been treated as a “common issue” by the Commission, which means that the omission is found in not just the Children’s Services Award 2010 but in the other 86 modern awards as well. 

 

By treating the omission as a “common issue” the Commission is able to rule that a change is required even though the more substantive review of the Children’s Services Award itself has not yet been completed. 

 

Employers must pay wages and entitlements within 7 days of employment ending

 

The updated rules are to be found in clause 19.3 of the Children’s Services Award and states:

(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 National Employment Standards.

 

(b) The requirement to pay wages and other amounts under paragraph (a) is subject to further order of the Commission and the employer making deductions authorised by this award or the Act.

 

This compares to the old award which stated:

 

19.3 Where an employee lawfully leaves their employment they will be paid all moneys due at the time of leaving by cash, cheque or electronic funds transfer.

 

The changes came into effect on 9 August 2019 and will mean all employers in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector will need to abide by the new rules going forward. 

 

Children’s Services and Educational Teachers Award Review enters deliberation stage

 

Outside of this “common issue” decision the Fair Work Commission the 4 yearly review process for the Children’s Services and Educational Services (Teachers) awards continues.  

The review, which is now in its final stages, has seen key stakeholders such as United Voice, the Australian Childcare Alliance, the Australian Federation of Employers and Industry and the Independent Education Union of Australia participate in hearings at the commission at which they have, as witnesses, expressed their views on what changes to the Awards they feel are appropriate given the experience of their members. 

 

Post the hearings, completed in late May, a background document was circulated by the Commission in which 53 questions that came to light after the hearings were detailed with a request for submitting parties to respond by 5 July 2019.

 

A second set of background documents was circulated on 5 July 2018 with a further 22 questions for completion. 

 

A final hearing was scheduled for 9 August 2019 at which the Commission aggregated all submissions. Post hearing, the Commission is currently in recess for a period of deliberation before concluding on what changes to the Award are to be made. 

 

The announcement on those changes, specific to the Children’s Services Award, is expected towards the end of 2019. 

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