Commonwealth Consolidated Acts

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FAIR WORK ACT 2009 - SECT 282

Guide to this Part

This Part provides for the FWC (constituted by an Expert Panel) to set and vary minimum wages for national system employees. For employees covered by modern awards, minimum wages are specified in the modern award. For award/agreement free employees, minimum wages are specified in the national minimum wage order.

Division 2 provides for the minimum wages objective. This requires the FWC to establish and maintain a safety net of fair minimum wages, taking into account certain social and economic factors.

Division 3 provides for the FWC (constituted by an Expert Panel) to conduct annual wage reviews. In an annual wage review, the FWC may set or vary minimum wages in modern awards, and must make a national minimum wage order. Minimum wages in modern awards can also be set, or varied (in limited circumstances), under Part 2-3 (which deals with modern awards).

Division 4 provides for national minimum wage orders and requires employers to comply with them. The orders set the national minimum wage, as well as special national minimum wages for junior employees, employees to whom training arrangements apply and employees with a disability. The orders also set the casual loading for award/agreement free employees.

National minimum wages and special national minimum wages apply to award/agreement free employees. However, they are also relevant to other employees as follows:

(a)   in setting or varying modern award minimum wages, the FWC must take the national minimum wage into account (see subsection 135(2) (in Part 2-3) and subsection 285(3) (in this Part));

(b)   for an employee who is not covered by a modern award and to whom an enterprise agreement applies, the employee's base rate of pay under the agreement must not be less than the relevant national minimum wage or special national minimum wage (see subsection 206(3) (in Part 2-4)).

For an employee who is covered by a modern award and to whom an enterprise agreement applies, the employee's base rate of pay under the agreement must not be less than the base rate of pay that would have been payable to the employee if the award applied (see subsection 206(1) (in Part 2-4)).



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