Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) and awards are two essential employment agreements that play a critical role in outlining the employment terms and conditions in Australia. An AWA is a written agreement between an employer and its employees that sets out the terms and conditions of employment, including pay rates, working hours, leave entitlements, and other employment conditions. On the other hand, an award is an industrial instrument that outlines minimum pay rates, employment conditions, and other entitlements for specific industries or occupations.
An AWA can affect an existing award in several ways, depending on the terms of the agreement and the industry or occupation involved. Here are some of the common ways that an AWA can impact an existing award:
1. Replacing the Award: An AWA can replace an existing award if it provides better terms and conditions than the award. In this case, the AWA will become the terms and conditions of employment, and the award will cease to apply. However, the AWA must meet the minimum legal requirements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to be valid.
2. Modifying the Award: An AWA can modify the terms and conditions of an award to suit the needs of the employer and the employees. However, the modifications must not result in lower pay rates, reduced leave entitlements, or other conditions that are less favorable than the award.
3. Co-existing with the Award: An AWA can co-exist with an award when it provides additional benefits or conditions that are not covered by the award. For example, an AWA may provide higher pay rates, flexible working arrangements, or special leave entitlements that are not available under the award.
It`s worth noting that AWAs have largely been phased out in Australia, and replaced by individual flexibility arrangements (IFAs) under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). However, some existing AWAs may still be in force, and some employers may choose to offer IFAs instead of awards or enterprise agreements.
In conclusion, an AWA can impact an existing award in several ways, including replacing, modifying, or co-existing with the award. However, any modifications or replacements must meet the minimum legal requirements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and not result in less favorable conditions than the award. Employers and employees should seek professional advice before entering into an AWA or any other employment agreement to ensure they understand their rights and obligations.