Clerks – Private Sector Award
Knowledge Base

 

Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020

In this article, we detail some of the key provisions in the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020 (or the “Clerks Award” as it’s otherwise known), including what sorts of businesses or the type of roles it covers, the different levels of employee classifications under the Award and guidance on employee entitlements.

This summary takes account of all changes to the Award up to and including those made on 1 July 2021.

If you require any assistance in understanding your rights or obligations under the Award, please contact us.

 

Coverage of the Clerks – Private Sector Award

The Clerks Award is designed to cover employees throughout Australia who are wholly or principally engaged in “clerical work”.

“Clerical work” is defined to include “recording, typing, calculating, invoicing, billing, charging, checking, receiving and answering calls, cash handling, operating a telephone switchboard, attending a reception desk and administrative duties of a clerical nature”.

In practical terms it covers employees doing administrative-type roles across many industries.

However, the Clerks Award does not cover employees whose employers are already covered by another modern award that contains a clerical classification. The awards listed below contain clerical definitions which mean that clerical employees working in these industries may be covered by the relevant industry award, rather than the Clerks Award.

It is important to check the precise terms of each award, for example, clerical employees in the general retail industry will only be covered by the General Retail Industry Award if they are engaged in clerical work at an actual retail establishment (rather than the head office). Under the SCHADS Award, only clerical employees working in the social and community services sector and family daycare scheme sector streams are covered by the SCHADS Award, those working in the crisis assistance and supported housing sector home care sectors are covered by the Clerks Award.

 

Modern Awards which have coverage for clerical employees::

(a) Aged Care Award 2010;
(b) Airline Operations—Ground Staff Award 2020;
(c) Airport Employees Award 2020;
(d) Alpine Resorts Award 2020;
(e) Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020;
(f) Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020;
(g) Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010;
(h) Business Equipment Award 2010;
(i) Contract Call Centres Award 2020;
(j) Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2020;
(k) Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award 2020;
(l) Fitness Industry Award 2010;
(m) General Retail Industry Award 2010;
(n) Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010;
(o) Higher Education Industry—General Staff—Award 2020;
(p) Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020;
(q) Legal Services Award 2020;
(r) Market and Social Research Award 2020;
(s) Rail Industry Award 2020;
(t) Restaurant Industry Award 2020;
(u) Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010;
(v) Sporting Organisations Award 2020;
(w) Telecommunications Services Award 2010.

 

 

Types of Employment and Classifications

Employees are classified as either:

  • Full-time;
  • Part-time; or
  • Casual.

 

Full-time employees;

Full-time employees are generally required to work an average of 38 hours per week. Any work performed in excess of an average of 38 hours per week attracts overtime rates.

A full-time employee may work less than 38 hours per week, if they work in a workplace where full-time employees generally work a lesser number of hours per week.

 

Part-time employees;

Part-time employees are required to work an average of less than 38 hours per week, on a reasonably predictable basis.

When an employer engages a part-time employee, they must provide in writing at the commencement of their employment the following:

  • The number of hours they must work each day;
  • The number of days of the week they must work; and
  • The times at which the employee must start and finish work each day they are rostered.

 

The employer must roster a part-time employee on any shift for at least 3 consecutive hours.

If changes are made to the part-time employee’s shift (hours of work or start and finish times), it must be agreed upon in writing by both the employer and employee.

However, if the employer wishes to change the days that the part-time employee works each week, the employer can do this by providing them with 7 days’ notice.

The hours worked in excess of the number of agreed ordinary hours of the part-time employee must be paid at the relevant overtime rate under the Clerks Award.

 

Casual employees;

Casual employees generally work irregular hours and are rostered on an as-needs basis.

 

 

Casual Loading

Casual employees are entitled to a 25% loading on top of the minimum hourly rate as set out in the Clerks Award. The 25% casual loading is paid instead of entitlements that permanent employees receive such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, notice of termination and redundancy benefits as set out under the National Employment Standards.

Please note that casual employees are entitled to long service leave under State / Territory legislation.

 

Minimum Engagement

The minimum engagement under the Clerks Award for a casual employee is three consecutive hours. Even if the casual employee is rostered for a shift under three hours, they must be paid for three hours under the Clerks Award.

 

Casual Conversion

After 12 months of employment, casual employees have a right to request that their employment be “converted” to full-time or part-time employment. This is dependent upon the number of hours worked a week, and how regular the employee’s shifts were over the past 12 months.

Within the first 12 months of the employee’s employment, the employer must provide the employee with a copy of the applicable clause regarding conversion under the Clerks Award. We recommend doing this at the beginning of their employment.

Please note these obligations are separate to, and exist alongside, casual conversion obligations that have recently been introduced in the Fair Work Act 2009.

Need to know more about the new legislation surrounding Casual Conversion? Download Employment Innovations’ Casual Conversion Guide – new obligations for employers.

 

Download the Employment Innovations' Clerks - Private Sector Award Summary

Ordinary Hours of Work (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers)

The ordinary hours of work for:

  • Full-time employees are an average of 38 hours a week; and
  • Part-time employees are less than an average of 38 hours a week.

 

The average number of hours that an employee can work at a maximum is:

  • 38 hours per week over a period of up to 4 weeks; or
  • 38 hours per week agreed over a roster period agreed between both the employer and employee.

 

The span of ordinary hours that can be worked by an employee are between:

  • Monday and Friday: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm; and
  • Saturday: 7:00 am to 12:30 pm.

 

The maximum amount of ordinary hours that can be worked on any day is 10 hours (excluding unpaid breaks).

Any hours worked outside of the ordinary hours stated above are to be paid at overtime rates.

The spread of the above ordinary hours can be altered by up to an hour at either end by agreement between:

  • The employer and majority of the employees affected; or
  • The employer and the individual employee.

 

There are provisions in the Clerks Award that deal with where the employer is also covered by another modern award which contains different ordinary hours provisions.

 

Rostering Arrangements (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers)

An employer may roster their employee so that they work longer hours on one or more days over a roster cycle as part of their ordinary hours. The employees are then entitled to take a rostered day off at a later time.

The employer must give the employee 4 week’s notice regarding the day the employee is to take as a rostered day off.

There are also rules in the Clerks Award that allows employees to “bank” rostered days off.

 

Breaks (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers)

Paid Rest Breaks;

If an employee works more than 3 ordinary hours but not more than 8 ordinary hours, they are entitled to a paid 10-minute break.

If an employee works more than 8 ordinary hours, they are entitled to two paid, 10-minute breaks.

If an employee works more than 4 ordinary hours of overtime on a Saturday morning, they will be entitled to one 10-minute paid break.

 

Unpaid Meal Breaks;

An employee who works more than 5 hours at a time is entitled to one 30 to 60-minute unpaid meal break. The employee must take this break within the first 5 hours of commencing work, and within 5 hours after resuming work after an earlier meal break.

 

Working Through Breaks;

If an employee is required to work through their entitled meal break, the employer must pay the employee 200% of the minimum hourly rate from when the break should have been taken, until a meal break is allowed.

 

Allowances

Minimum Wages;

Minimum weekly and hourly rates of pay are stated in clause 16 of the Clerks Award and are applied according to an employee’s classification. The classifications are set out in Schedule A of the Clerks Award (see further below). Employers must notify employees of their relevant classification in writing, including any change to their classification.

For employees at Level 1 and Level 2, there are different rates, depending on years of administrative or clerical experience. This includes experience with a different employer.

Junior employees (those aged 20 years or younger) are entitled to reduced rates of pay.

For a calculator or minimum annual salaries under the Clerks Award – please download our free Annual Salary Calculator tool.

 

Pay Periods;

Employees must be paid on a weekly or fortnightly basis. However, monthly payment cycles can be in place if both the employer and individual employee or the majority of employees agree. If the payment is agreed to be paid monthly, it must be based on 2 weeks in advance and 2 weeks in arrears.

 

Payment of Wages Under an Averaging System;

Employees who work ordinary weekly hours under an averaging system may be paid according to the average number of ordinary hours worked.

 

Payment on Termination of Employment;

Employees must be paid within 7 days after the termination of their employment unless they are being paid in lieu of notice, in which case payment should be immediate.

 

Annualised Wage Arrangements;

The Award contains recently updated “annualised wage arrangements” provisions which allow an employer to pay a full-time employee an annual salary which is averaged over a 12 month period (so that an employee can be “underpaid” in one pay period, but “overpaid” in another pay period). The employee must, overall, be paid an amount that is at least equivalent to the minimum entitlements under the Award, or if there is a shortfall this must be made good within 14 days of the end of the 12 month period.

If an annual salary is paid in reliance on these provisions the employer must comply with a number of requirements including:

  • Notifying the employees how their salary has been calculated and what provisions of the award it is paid in satisfaction of;
  • Notifying employees of the “outer limit” of the number of overtime and penalty rate hours an employee may be required to work in a pay period, and if they work in excess of these then they will be paid at overtime/penalty rates at the relevant time (i.e. a “top-up” payment throughout the year);
  • Keeping a time-sheet of the start and finish times of each shift an employee works (and the start and finish times of any unpaid breaks) which must be approved by the employee each pay period;
  • Performing a reconciliation of the amount paid to the employee in their salary compared to what they were entitled under the Award (annually or on termination of employment), and making good any shortfall within 14 days.

 

Although it is possible to pay an annual salary without relying on these provisions (i.e. via a clause in an employment contract), in this case, the employer must ensure the employee is paid sufficiently in each pay period, taking into account all entitlements that arise under the award. It is not possible just to ensure the employee is paid sufficiently over a year as a whole. In addition, employers should note that for all employees who are entitled to overtime or penalty rate payments under an award, there is an obligation under the Fair Work Regulations 2009 to keep a record of the number of such hours worked, even if the obligation to make those payments is met via paying a salary through a contract.

Where an employee earns over the “high-income threshold” (currently $158,500 per annum as of 1 July 2021) it may be possible to avoid such obligations by entering into a “guarantee of annual earnings”, the effect of which will be that the award no longer applies to the employee. Alternatively, it may be possible to enter into an Individual Flexibility Arrangement (IFA) with an employee to alter certain obligations under the Award, so long as the employee is “better off overall”. We recommend that professional advice is sought in respect of such matters.

 

Download the Employment Innovations' Clerks - Private Sector Award Summary

Overtime Rates

Overtime (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers);

All work performed outside the ordinary hours set out above must be paid overtime rates as stated below.

This means overtime is paid in the following circumstances:

  • hours worked in excess of the ordinary weekly hours (generally an average of 38 hours per week);
  • hours in excess of 10 ordinary hours on any one day, excluding unpaid meal breaks;
  • hours outside the spread of ordinary hours (7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Friday; 7:00 am to 12:30 pm on a Saturday);
  • for part-time employees, hours in excess of the number of ordinary hours that the employee has agreed to work.

 

Hours of overtime
worked per day

Overtime rate for
full-time & part-time employees
Overtime rate for
casual employees

 

% of minimum hourly rate % of minimum hourly rate
Monday to Saturday – first 2 hours

150%

175%
Monday to Saturday – after 2 hours

200%

225%
Sunday – all day

200%

225%
Public holiday – all day

250%

275%

 

An employer must pay an employee a minimum of 3 hours at overtime rates for work performed on a Saturday where an employee has worked 38 hours or more over Monday to Friday.

An employee required to work overtime hours on a Sunday is entitled to not less than 4 hours’ pay (inclusive of ordinary hours worked).

Please note: employees are also entitled to be paid a meal allowance where they work more than 1.5 hours overtime after the employee’s ordinary time of ending work and were not given at least 24 hours notice of the requirement to work overtime (see the section below on “Allowances”).

 

Return to Duty;

If an employee is required to return to duty after the usual finishing time for work on a particular day, overtime rates will apply for the employee.

In these circumstances, the employer must pay an employee a minimum payment of 3 hours. This does not apply where the work is continuous (subject to a meal break of not more than one hour) with the start or finish of ordinary working time.

 

Rest Periods After Working Overtime (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers);

Employees other than casuals must be provided at least 10 consecutive hours off duty between the hours worked on successive days.

Where the employee does not receive a 10-hour rest period due to working overtime:

  • the employer must release the employee from duty after finishing the overtime until the employee has had 10 consecutive hours off duty; and
  • the employee must not suffer any loss of pay for ordinary hours they did not work due to being released from work.

 

If the employer directs the employee to work without having 10 consecutive hours off duty, then:

  • the employee is entitled to 200% of their ordinary rate until they are released from duty;
  • the employee must be released from duty until the employee has had 10 consecutive hours off duty; and
  • the employee must not suffer any loss of pay for any ordinary hours that they did not work due to being released from duty.

 

Time Off Instead of Payment for Overtime (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers);

An employee and employer can agree in writing for the employee to being provided with paid time off as opposed to being paid for a particular amount of overtime worked. This arrangement must be in a separate agreement and must include the following:

  • the number of overtime hours which it applies to, and when they were worked;
  • that both the employer and employee agree that the employee is taking time off instead of being paid for the overtime;
  • if the employee requests that they wish to be paid the overtime hours covered in the agreement, instead of taking it off, the employer must pay the employee the overtime rate applicable; and
  • any payment mentioned must be made in the next pay period following the request.

 

The period of time off that an employee is entitled to take is the same as the number of overtime hours worked. For example, an employee who worked 2 overtime hours is entitled to 2 hours off.

The time off must be taken:

  • within the period of 6 months after the overtime is worked; and
  • at a time/s within the 6 months agreed upon by both the employee and employer.

 

Penalty Rates (Employees Other Than Shiftworkers)

Where an employee works their ordinary hours on weekends or public holidays, they are entitled to additional “penalty rates” as follows:

 

Day

Full-Time & Part-Time Employees Casual Employees Special Rules 
 

% of the minimum hourly rate

% of the minimum hourly rate
(inclusive of casual loading)
 
Saturday

125%

150%  
Sunday

200%

225% An employee required to work ordinary hours on a Sunday is entitled to not less than 4 hours of pay.
Public Holidays
(or a day substituted
for a Public Holiday)

250%

275%

If the employee works on a public holiday and the substituted day, the employee is entitled to be paid for one of the days at the penalty rate (employee’s choice of day).

An employee required to work ordinary hours on a public holiday is entitled to not less than 4 hours of pay.

 

 

Allowances

The Award sets out a number of allowances employees are entitled to:

 

First Aid Allowance;

The employer must pay the employee a first aid allowance if they:

  • Have a current first aid qualification and training (such as a certificate from St John Ambulance Australia or a similar body) that the employer considers appropriate; and
  • Are appointed by the employer to perform first aid duties.

 

If an employee fits the above criteria, they must be paid an allowance of $13.49 per week (as of 1 July 2021).

 

Higher Duties Allowance;

The employer must pay an employee required to perform any of the duties of a higher classification for more than one day, at the rate of the higher classification.

 

Clothing and Footwear Allowance;

The employer must reimburse the employee if the employee is required to:

  • Work in conditions damaging to clothing, for the cost of purchasing any uniforms and protective clothing not supplied or paid for by the employer;
  • Work in conditions that are wet and damaging to footwear, for the cost of purchasing appropriate protective footwear not supplied or paid for by the employer; and
  • Wear a uniform, for the cost of purchasing the uniform, where it is not supplied by the employer.

 

If the employee is required to launder the uniform that they are required to wear, the employer must pay the employee an allowance of:

  • $3.55 each week for a full-time employee (as of 1 July 2021); or
  • $0.71 for each shift for a part-time or casual employee (as of 1 July 2021).

 

Meal Allowance;

Meal allowances must be paid to the employee if:

  • the employee is required to work overtime for more than 1.5 hours after the employee’s ordinary time of ending work; and
  • the employee is not given at least 24 hours notice of the requirement to work overtime.

 

If the above criteria apply to the employee, the employer must:

  • pay the employee a meal allowance of $16.53 (as of 1 July 2021); or
  • supply the employee with a meal.

 

Please note that if the number of overtime hours worked exceeds 4 hours, the employee must pay a further meal allowance of $13.23 (as of 1 July 2021).

 

Vehicle Allowance;

If the employer requires the employee to use their own vehicle to perform their duties, the employee must be paid an allowance of:

  • $0.80/km for a motor car (as of 1 July 2021); and
  • $0.27/km for a motorcycle (as of 1 July 2021).

 

There is a cap of 400km per week on the allowance payable to the employee.

 

Living Away From Home Allowance;

For an employee to be entitled to a living away from home allowance, they must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The employee is required by the employer to temporarily work away from their usual place of employment;
  • The location at which the employee is required to work makes it necessary for the employee to stay overnight and away from their usual place of residence; and
  • The employee is not provided with fares, meals and accommodation by the employer.

 

If the employee satisfies the above criteria, the employer must pay the following to the employee:

  • An allowance to cover all fares to and from the location at which the employer requires the employee to work; and
  • An allowance to cover all reasonable expenses incurred for meals and accommodation.

 

Please note that the employer must pay an employee ordinary rates of pay for time spent travelling between the employee’s usual place of employment and the temporary location, to a maximum of 8 hours in 24 hours.

 

Transport Reimbursement for Shiftwork;

The employer must reimburse the employee working shiftwork the cost they reasonably incur in taking a commercial passenger vehicle from the employee’s usual place of residence to the place of employment or, from the place of employment to the employee’s usual place of residence, whichever is applicable, if they satisfy the following:

  • The employee starts or finishes work at a time other than their normal time;
  • Reasonable means of transport are not available to the employee; and
  • The employer does not provide, or arrange for, a suitable means of transport to or from the employee’s usual place of residence at no cost to the employee.

 

Shift work

The Clerks Award provides for special rules for “shiftwork.” The rules allow an employee to work their ordinary hours in the patterns set out below, subject to the employee being paid a shift loading.

  • Afternoon shift – meaning any shift finishing after 7:00 pm and at/or before midnight;
  • Night shift – meaning any shift finishing after midnight, and at/or before 7:00 am; and
  • Permanent night shift – meaning a night shift that does not rotate with another shift or shifts or day work and which continues for a period of 4 consecutive weeks or longer.

 

The spread of ordinary hours on the above shifts may be altered up to one hour at either end (but not both) by:

  • Agreement between the employer and the majority of employees concerned; or
  • By individual agreement.

 

Penalty Rates for Shiftwork*;

 

Shift

Full-time & part-time
shiftworker penalty rate
% of the minimum hourly rate
Casual shiftworker penalty rate
% of the minimum hourly rate 
Afternoon or night

115%

140%

Permanent night

130%

155%

Saturday, Sunday
or Public Holiday

150%

175%

 

The payment of shiftwork penalties is subject to the following exceptions:

(a) an employee who starts an ordinary shift between 11:00 pm and midnight on a Sunday or public holiday that extends into the next day that is not a public holiday is not entitled to the Sunday or public holiday penalty rate for the time worked on that Sunday or public holiday;
(b) an employee who starts an ordinary shift between 11:00 pm and midnight on the day before a Sunday or public holiday that extends into that Sunday or public holiday is entitled to the Sunday or public holiday penalty rate for the time worked on that day.

 

Ordinary hours of work and rostering for shiftwork ;

The maximum number of ordinary hours that shiftworkers can work in a week are:

  • An average of 38 hours over a 4-week period; or
  • An average of 38 hours over a roster period, not exceeding 12 months, as agreed between both parties.

 

The maximum number of ordinary hours that can be worked on any day is 10, including paid breaks.

Hours worked in excess of this are paid as overtime.

The following rostering arrangements apply to an employee who works ordinary hours on shiftwork:

  • a maximum of 6 shifts can be worked over the period of a week; and
  • a Sunday may be included.

 

Changes to the times at which the employee will start and finish a shift may be made:

  • by the employer giving the employee at least 7 days’ notice of the change; or
  • at any time by the employer and employee by mutual agreement.

 

The employer and an employee may agree that the employee may take a period of ordinary hours as time off and make up that time off by working at another time during which the employee may work ordinary hours. This means the employee may substitute a period of ordinary hours during one shift as time off, as long as the employee is able to work the agreed amount of time during another shift where the total ordinary hours worked for that shift does not exceed 10.

 

Breaks for shiftwork ;

A shiftworker is entitled to a 20-minute paid meal break per shift which is to be:

  • Taken within 5 hours of starting the shift; and
  • Counted as time worked.

 

Paid rest breaks;

An employee required to work more than 3 ordinary hours, but less than 8 ordinary hours is entitled to a 10-minute paid break.

An employee required to work 8 ordinary hours or more is entitled to two paid 10 minute rest breaks.

An employee working more than 4 hours overtime on Saturday morning must be allowed a paid 10-minute rest break.

 

Overtime for shiftwork;

The employer must pay an employee on shiftwork overtime rates at the relevant percentages outlined below.

 

For all time worked

Overtime rate for full-time
and part-time employees
% of the minimum hourly rate
Overtime rate for
casual employees

% of the minimum hourly rate 
In excess of the ordinary weekly hours fixed    
First 3 hours

150%

175%

After 3 hours

200%

225%

In excess of ordinary daily hours on an ordinary shift    
First 2 hours

150%

175%

After 2 hours

200%

225%

Saturday, Sunday or
Public Holiday, that is not
an ordinary working day

200%

225%

 

Please note that penalty rates for shiftwork are not cumulative on overtime rates, i.e. an employee does not get both a shiftwork penalty and an overtime penalty at the same time.

An employer must pay an employee a minimum of 4 hours of the Saturday/Sunday/Public Holiday overtime rate where an employee meets the following conditions:

  • the employee would not have been ordinarily rostered to work the Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday; and
  • the work is not continuous with the start or finish of the employee’s ordinary shift.

 

Time off instead of payment for overtime for shiftwork ;

The employer and employee may agree in writing to the employee taking time off instead of being paid for a particular amount of overtime. The period of time off that an employee is entitled to take is the same as the number of overtime hours worked, and the time off can only be taken within a period of 6 months after the overtime is worked.

 

Rest period after working overtime for shiftwork;

The entitlement to rest periods after working overtime only applies to full-time and part-time employees.

Rest periods apply when overtime is worked in any of the following circumstances:

  • For the purposes of changing shift rosters;
  • Where an employee working a shift does not report for duty and another employer replaces that employee for the shift; or
  • Where a shift is worked by arrangement between the employees themselves.

 

When overtime is necessary in the above circumstances, employees must, wherever reasonably practical, have at least 8 consecutive hours off duty between hours worked on successive days.

If the employer directs the employee to resume work without having had 8 consecutive hours worked, all of the following will apply:

  • The employee must be paid 200% of the applicable minimum hourly rate until they are released from duty;
  • The employer must release the employee from duty until the employee has had 8 consecutive hours off duty; and
  • The employee must not suffer any loss of pay for any ordinary hours not worked as a result of being released from duty.

 

Leave & Public Holidays

The Clerks Award states that annual leave is as provided for in the National Employment Standards, which means permanent employees are entitled to four weeks of annual leave (pro-rata for part-time employees).

Shiftworkers who are regularly rostered to work on Sundays and public holidays in a business in which shifts are continuously rostered 24 hours a day for 7 days a week are entitled to five weeks of annual leave.

 

Annual Leave Loading;

Employees are entitled to be paid an annual leave loading whenever they take annual leave of the greater of:

  • 17.5% of their base rate of pay; or
  • The weekend penalty/shiftwork rates they would have earned during the period of annual leave.

 

Annual leave in Advance;

The Clerks Award provides for employees and employers to agree for annual leave to be taken in advance of its accruing and any annual leave owing to be deducted from an employee’s termination pay. This agreement must be agreed in writing, detailing the amount of leave to be taken, the date the leave will be taken and signatures of both parties.

 

Close-down;

Employees may be required to take annual leave as part of a close-down of their operations (e.g. Christmas break), by providing at least 4 weeks’ notice.

 

Excessive Leave Accruals;

The Clerks Award states that an employee can be required to take annual leave where they have “excessive leave” accrued. The award defines this to mean more than 8 weeks paid annual leave (or 10 weeks paid annual leave for a shiftworker). If an employee has excessive leave accrual, the employer and employee must confer with each other to genuinely reach an agreement on how to reduce or eliminate the excessive leave accrual.

If after genuinely trying to reach an agreement, the employee refuses to take paid annual leave, the employer can direct the employee in writing to take period/s of annual leave. However, strict rules apply under the Clerks Award including:

  • the employee cannot be required to take leave if their leave balance would be less than 6 annual leave weeks;
  • the employer cannot require employees to take a period of annual leave of less than one week; and
  • the employer must not require the employee to take a period of paid annual leave beginning less than 8 weeks, or more than 12 months after the direction is given.

 

Cashing out of Annual leave;

Employees are permitted to cash out annual leave if:

  • There is a separate written agreement between the employee and employer;
  • The agreement does not result in the employee’s remaining accrued entitlement to paid annual leave being less than 4 weeks; and
  • The maximum amount of accrued annual leave being cashed out in any period of 12 months is 2 weeks.

 

Personal/Carer’s Leave;

The Clerks Award states that the entitlement to personal/carer’s leave is outlined in the National Employment Standards which is:

  • 10 days paid leave for full-time employees; and
  • Pro-rata for part-time employees.

 

Other Leave;

The Clerks Award states that the following types of leave are available, as outlined in the National Employment Standards:

  • Compassionate leave;
  • Parental leave and related entitlements;
  • Community service leave; and
  • Unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

 

Public Holidays;

The Clerks Award states that public holiday entitlements are available as outlined in the National Employment Standards. This means that an employee is entitled to be absent from work on a day that is a public holiday and can only be required to work where the requirement is reasonable.

Permanent employees are entitled to be paid for absence on a public holiday if the public holiday falls on a day that they would ordinarily have worked.

An employer and employee may agree to substitute another day for a day that would otherwise be a public holiday under the National Employment Standards.

 

Consultation and Dispute Resolution

Consultation about major workplace change;

The Clerks Award provides that employers must follow strict guidelines when consulting employees regarding:

  • Major workplace changes;
  • Changes to rosters or hours of work; and
  • Dispute resolution.

 

Download the Employment Innovations' Clerks - Private Sector Award Summary

Termination of Employment

An employer must give an employee notice of termination of at least the minimum period stated below, according to the period of continuous service of the employee.

 

Employee’s period of continuous service with the
employer at the end of the day, the notice is given 
Period of Notice 
Not more than 1 year  1 week
More than 1 year but not more than 3 years 2 weeks 
More than 3 years but not more than 5 years   3 weeks 
More than 5 years  4 weeks

 

An additional weeks’ notice is to be provided to an employee if they have had at least two years’ continuous service and is at least 45 years of age.

The notice of termination required to be given by an employee is the same as the above table, except that the employee does not have to give an additional notice based on their age.

 

Employees who do not provide sufficient notice;

If an employee who is at least 18 years of age or older does not give the period of notice required under the Clerks Award, then the employer may deduct from their wages due to the employee under the award, an amount that is no more than one weeks’ wages for the employee.

 

Job search entitlement ;

Where an employer has given notice of termination to an employee, the employee must be allowed time off without loss of pay of up to one day for the purpose of seeking other employment.

 

Redundancy;

The Clerks Award states that redundancy payments are required as outlined in the National Employment Standards, this means where the business has 15 or more employees, permanent employees will be entitled to the following redundancy payment if made redundant. Employers with less than 15 employees are not required to make redundancy payments:

 

Period of Continuous Service  Redundancy Pay 
At least 1 year but less than 2 years 4 weeks 
At least 2 years but less than 3 years 6 weeks 
At least 3 years but less than 4 years 7 weeks 
At least 4 years but less than 5 years  8 weeks 
At least 5 years but less than 6 years  10 weeks 
At least 6 years but less than 7 years  11 weeks 
At least 7 years but less than 8 years  13 weeks 
At least 8 years but less than 9 years  14 weeks 
At least 9 years but less than 10 years 16 weeks 
At least 10 years  12 weeks

 

The Clerks Award also contains provisions regarding:

  • Transferring to lower paid duties when being made redundant;
  • Giving employees the right to end their employment period early if being made redundant; and
  • Having paid time off when looking for new employment.

 

Classification definitions

There are five employee classification levels within the Clerks Award, listed in Schedule A. These classifications dictate the minimum wage paid to the employee. Employers must notify employees of their relevant classification in writing, including any change to their classification.

Level 1;

A level 1 employee has limited experience and requires work to be performed under close direction. They usually perform routine clerical and office functions that require an understanding of already established practices or procedures in place. Employees are responsible for their own work and this may be subject to checking at all stages. This work is performed within the established rules and procedures.

Indicative typical duties and skills at this level may include:

  • Reception or switchboard duties including:
    • Directing telephone callers to appropriate staff;
  • Issuing and receiving standard forms;
  • Relaying internal information;
  • Greeting visitors;
  • Maintaining basic records;
  • Filing, collating and copying documents;
  • Handling or distributing mail including messenger service;
  • Dealing with accounts, invoices, orders and store requisitions through recording, matching, checking and batching; or
  • Operating a keyboard and related business equipment in order to achieve competency in Level 2.

 

Call centre customer contact trainee

A call centre customer contact trainee is employed to perform customer contact functions with direct supervision.

 

Level 2;

A level 2 employee has sufficient experience or training to carry out tasks under general direction. They are accountable for their own work within established guidelines, however, may require detailed instructions. These employees can exercise limited judgement and initiative within the range of their skills and knowledge. Their work may be subject to final checking and, if required, progress checking. They may be required to check work or provide guidance to lower-level employees or provide assistance to less experienced employees at the same level.

Indicative typical duties and skills at this level may include:

  • Reception and switchboard duties in Level 1, and in addition, responding to enquiries as appropriate, consistent with their knowledge of the organisation’s operations and services or where presentation, or the use of interpersonal skills, is a key aspect of the position;
  • Operation of business equipment including computerised radio or telephone equipment, computers, printing devices, dictaphone equipment and typewriters;
  • Word processing, such as the use of a word processing software package to create, format, edit, correct, print and save text documents such as standard correspondence and business documents;
  • Stenographer or person employed to take shorthand and to transcribe by means of appropriate keyboard equipment;
  • Copy typing and audio typing;
  • Maintenance of records or journals (or both) including initial processing and recording relating to the following:
    • reconciliation of accounts to balance;
    • incoming or outgoing cheques;
    • invoices;
    • debit or credit items;
    • payroll data;
    • petty cash imprest system; and
    • letters.
  • Computer applications, including using a software package that may include one or more of the following functions:
    • creating new files and records;
    • spreadsheet or worksheet;
    • graphics;
    • accounting or payroll file;
    • following standard procedures and using existing models or fields of information;
    • arrange routine travel bookings and itineraries or make appointments; and
    • provide general advice and information on the organisation’s products and services such as at the front counter or by telephone.

 

Call centre customer contact officer grade 1

  • A call centre customer contact officer must be classified at this level if they hold a Certificate II in Telecommunications (Customer Contact) or equivalent.
  • A call centre customer contact officer grade 1 is employed to:
    • use known routines and procedures;
    • have some accountability for the quality of outcomes;
    • receive calls;
    • use common call centre technology;
    • enter and retrieve data;
    • work in a team;
    • manage their own work under guidance;
    • provide at least one specialised service such as sales and advice for products and services, complaints or fault enquiries and data collection surveys.

 

Level 3;

A level 3 employee can perform specialised or non-routine tasks or features of the work. They require only general guidance or direction, and there is scope for the exercise of limited initiative, direction and judgement in carrying out their assigned duties. These employees can provide guidance or assistance to employees of a lower level and should be competent to train employees at lower levels through personal instruction and demonstrations.

Indicative typical duties and skills at this level may include:

  • Preparing cash payment summaries, banking reports and bank statements, calculating and maintaining wage and salary records, following credit referral procedures, applying purchasing and inventory control requirements and posting journals to the ledger;
  • Providing specialised advice and information on the organisation’s products and services;
  • Responding to clients, the public or suppliers’ problems within own functional area utilising a high degree of interpersonal skills;
  • Arranging travel bookings and itineraries, making appointments, screening telephone calls, responding to invitations, organising internal meetings, establishing and maintaining reference lists or personal contact systems; and
  • Applying specialist terminology and processes in professional offices;
  • Applying computer software in order to*:
    • create new files and records;
    • maintain computer-based records management systems;
    • identify and extract information from internal and external sources; or
    • use advanced word processing or keyboard functions.

 

* Note: These typical duties and skills may be either at Level 3 or Level 4 depending on the characteristics of that particular level.

 

Call centre customer contact officer grade 2

  • An employee must be classified at this level if they hold a Certificate III (Customer Contact) or equivalent and are employed to perform the duties and skills.
  • A call centre customer contact officer grade 2 is employed to:
    • perform a broader range of skilled operations than grade 1;
    • exercise some discretion and judgment in the selection of equipment, services or contingency measures;
    • work within known time constraints;
    • provide multiple specialised services to customers (including complex sales, service advice for a range of products or services, and difficult complaint and fault inquiries);
    • deploy service staff using multiple technologies;
    • exercise a limited amount of leadership over less experienced employees.

 

Call centre principal customer contact specialist

  • Employees at this level are employed to:
    • perform a broad range of skilled applications;
    • provide leadership as a coach, mentor or senior staff member, and provide guidance in the application and planning of skills;
    • work with a high degree of autonomy with the authority to make decisions in relation to specific customer contact matters; and
    • take responsibility for the outcomes of customer contact and resolve complex situations.

 

Level 4;

A level 4 employee will possess a level of organisation or industry-specific knowledge sufficient for them to give advice or information to the organisation and clients in relation to specific areas of their responsibility. They will only require limited guidance and may report to more senior staff. A key feature of this level (but not required) is the supervision of lower-level employees and the responsibility of allocating duties, coordinating workflow, checking progress, and resolving problems. These employees can exercise initiative, discretion and judgement. They are able to train employees at lower levels.

Indicative typical duties and skills at this level may include:

  • Secretarial and executive support services including:
    • maintaining executive diary;
    • attending executive and organisational meetings and taking minutes;
    • establishing and maintaining current working and personal filing systems for executive; and
    • answering executive correspondence from oral or handwritten instructions.
  • Ability to prepare financial or tax schedules, calculate costings, wage or salary requirements, complete personnel or payroll data for authorisation, reconcile accounts to balance;
  • Advising or providing information on one or more of the following:
    • employment conditions;
    • workers compensation procedures and regulations;
    • superannuation entitlements, procedures and regulations.
  • Applying one or more computer software packages to*:
    • create new files and records;
    • maintain computer-based management systems;
    • identify and extract information from internal and external sources; or
    • use advanced word processing/keyboard functions.

 

* Note: These typical duties and skills may be either at Level 3 or Level 4 depending on the characteristics of that particular level).

 

Call centre customer contact team leader

  • An employee must be classified at this level if they hold a Certificate IV (Customer Contact) or equivalent and are employed to perform the duties and skills.
  • A call centre customer contact team leader is employed to:
    • perform a broad range of skilled applications;
    • evaluate and analyse current practices;
    • develop new criteria and procedures for performing current practices;
    • provide leadership in team leader role and provide guidance to others in the application and planning of skills;
    • work with a high degree of autonomy and exercise authority to make decisions in relation to specific customer contact matters.

 

Level 5;

Level 5 employees are subject to broad guidance or direction and may report to senior staff as required. Employees at this level will have typically worked or studied in a relevant field and have achieved a standard of specialist knowledge to enable them to advise on a range of activities and features as required. These employees are responsible for their own work and may delegate responsibility to lower-level employees. They will be required to train and supervise lower-level employees, assist the delivery of training courses, exercise initiative, discretion and judgment in the performance of their duties, and although not essential, possess relevant post-secondary qualifications.

Indicative duties and skills required:

  • Application of knowledge of organisation’s objectives, performance, projected areas of growth, product trends and general industry conditions;
  • Application of computer software packages including the integration of complex word processing and desktop publishing, text and data documents;
  • Providing reports for management in any or all of the following areas:
    • accounts and finances;
    • staffing;
    • legislative requirements;
    • other company activities; and
  • Administering individual executive salary packages, travel expenses, allowances and company transport, administering salary and payroll requirements of the organisation.

 

Call centre principal customer contact leader

  • An employee must be classified at this level if they have a Diploma – Front Line Management qualification or equivalent.
  • A call centre principal customer contact leader is employed to:
    • apply a significant range of fundamental principles and complex techniques across a wide and unpredictable variety of contexts in either varied or highly specialised functions;
    • coordinate the work of a number of teams within a call centre environment; and
    • have a number of specialists or supervisors reporting to them.

 

Call centre technical associate

  • A call centre technical associate is employed to:
    • apply a significant range of fundamental principles and complex techniques across a wide and unpredictable variety of contexts in relation to either varied or highly specialised functions;
    • contribute to the development of a broad plan, budget or strategy;
    • work with a high degree of autonomy and be accountable and responsible for themselves and others in achieving outcomes (some supervision may be required);
    • be involved in the design, installation and management of telecommunications computer equipment and system development;
    • assess installation requirements;
    • design systems;
    • plan and perform installations; and
    • install and manage data communications equipment and find faults.

 

Download the Employment Innovations' Clerks - Private Sector Award Summary

How Employment Innovations can help

If you require assistance with dealing with disciplinary issues concerning staff, Employment Innovations can help. Our HR Advisors will be able to guide you through each step of the disciplinary process and we have template documents (e.g. direction to attend a disciplinary meeting, written warning, letter of termination, etc) available as part of our subscription packages.

 

 

About Employment Innovations

Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided in these knowledge base articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.

 

This knowledge base article will change over time, as Modern Award legislation relating to this Industry or Occupation is passed by the Fair Work Commission. Originally published on 31 August 2021 and last updated on 15 September 2021.

 

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