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Industry Fears Modern Award Wage Rises

September 2, 2009
The latest variations to 'modern awards', due to be released by the Federal Government, are set to have a major impact on wage costs in the leisure industry, with wages set to rise by around 10%.
Scheduled to be announced on Friday (4th September) the modern awards are the result of the Federal Government's 2008 amendments to the Workplace Relations Act, which introduced the concept of 'award modernisation'.
Part of the process, being conducted by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), involves reducing the number of awards currently in existence. Existing agreements and awards will now fall under the Entertainment and Broadcasting (other than racing) Industry, with a proposed award to fall in the 'Amusement, Events and Recreation Award 2010'.
Significant changes are likely to see casual employees becoming entitled to a loading of 25% in addition to the basic hourly rate of pay, and penalties for hours worked on Saturdays (additional 25%), Sundays (additional 100%), Public Holidays (additional 150%) and in the evening on Monday- Friday (additional 25%). Hours in excess of the ordinary number of hours will also attract overtime penalties (time and a half for the first three hours and double time thereafter).
The Entertainment and Broadcasting (other than racing) Industry award has been under review since early this year. During this time, the AIRC has received numerous written and verbal submissions regarding both the scope and content of the award.
Concerned that there was limited awareness that employer input to the draft Amusement, Events and Recreation Award, the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) engaged the services of Livingstone's Australia to prepare a submission representing the industry.
Livingstoneâs subsequently represented AALARA at the AIRC hearings, while the Association has also urged its members to local Federal and State Parliamentarians in relation to the impact of the new award.
In a recent statement, AALARA emphasised that "this matter is a vital one for our industries with potentially devastating consequences for ... business(es) and ... jobs," going on to explain that the leisure industry relies on employing casual workers "outside the regular business hours that full-time staff are not prepared to work."
AALARA highlighted that the modern award "draft entitles casual employees to overtime and to penalty rates for Sunday and public holidays (with) these higher rates ... to have a significant impact on our businesses and the viability of weekend trading."
AALARA President Rob Bradley recently wrote "I know that all members are acutely concerned about the outcomes of the Award Modernisation process currently being conducted by the AIRC.
"As you know AALARA has been actively rallying support to convey the serious impact of weekend labour costs the proposed new award will have on all industry employers, particularly small business and most particularly our industry. We have also pointed out the loss of services to the community, the impact on employment opportunities for young casuals and the fact that this process flies in the face of encouraging a healthy, active Australia."
Modern awards will come into effect on 1st January next year.

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