National equal pay case and the Queensland Regulation
The rate of Commonwealth supplementation provided to eligible organisations that employ staff in Queensland will vary depending on whether they are subject to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission decision.
Organisations subject to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission decision will receive Commonwealth Government supplementation that reflects the higher rates awarded by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
Organisations that are not subject to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission decision and employ staff under the SACS Modern Award will receive supplementation as per the phase in arrangements that will be outlined in the Equal Remuneration Order.
How is the Australian Government assisting organisations covered by the Queensland Regulation?
The Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) (the Regulation) commenced on 1 March 2012.
The Australian Government has committed approximately $30 million to assist affected Queensland SACS sector employers meet their back pay obligation in the Regulation.
The Regulation was developed after an extensive consultation process with stakeholders and takes into account feedback from the sector, particularly concerns about the impact of the back pay obligation. The Australian Government’s back pay funding commitment responds to consultations and feedback from the sector. The Regulation was also structured to phase in the back pay obligation over three financial years in response to sector feedback.
Background on the Australian Government’s back pay funding commitment
Following the establishment of the national Fair Work system, the Government adopted the principle that Queensland SACS workers – who had won a major pay rise in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission decision – should not go backwards as a result of their move into the national system. The Government decided that pay rates for workers in the Queensland system, would be preserved when they moved across to the national system. Furthermore, because of the national SACS equal remuneration decision, all SACS workers in Australia will, over time, be subject to the higher Queensland rates of pay.
The Regulation, also, protects a second group of workers: workers who would have gone back to the State system (and higher pay rates) when their transitional federal award expired on 27 March 2011. The Regulation brings forward the higher pay rates for these Queensland workers and makes sure they are not disadvantaged because of changes to their industrial relations arrangements.