FWC amends termination pay clause in Graphic Arts Award

The Fair Work Commission has amended a clause in the Graphic Arts Award which impacts the payment timing of employee entitlements in the event of a staff member being terminated.

The Real Media Collective general manager of IR, governance and policy, Charles Watson, said the changes are effective from an employee’s first full pay period that starts on or after September 9.

Under the changes to clause 28.6 of the Award, employers must pay a terminated employee’s wages and other monies due under the Award by the end of the following business day, and amounts due under the National Employment Standard (NES) are to be paid no later than seven days after the day on which the employee terminates.

“The revised Award clause is a hybrid proposal made by the Commission as part of the Award modernising process,” Watson said.

“Effectively, the amendment harks back to the industry Award term of the 1990’s and earlier which required employers to pay an employee their entitlements within 24 hours of termination.

“The revised clause will benefit employers by permitting Award related payments and entitlements to be made by the end of the next day to a terminated employee, and providing up to seven days to pay NES related entitlements, which can be significant amounts.”

Watson said the amendments to the Graphic Arts Award have been ongoing for many years, adding the printing industry was not directly represented in the case when the matter began in mid-2016.

“Whilst this has been an ongoing matter for some years, the industry was not directly represented in the case, which is disappointing,” Watson said.

“TRMC was not offering IR support when this matter began in mid-2016, however we have been monitoring it closely this year as the matter came to a conclusion over these past months.

“We are pleased a decision has been reached, and the amendment isn’t overly onerous. However, it is important for our members and the broader industry to be aware of the amendments and how they should be interpreted and applied. Given the nuances of our industry Award, I would strongly recommend businesses seek a clear understanding of the amended term.”

The Real Media Collective issued an advisory note about the Award amendments to members last week but also felt that given the current operating conditions due to the pandemic, the information should be shared for all of industry to benefit from.

“During the COVID-19 year, the board and the Collective team, have opened our communications to the broader industry where critical,” The Real Media Collective CEO Kellie Northwood said.

“We provide Members exclusive release and additional support, however there are many issues impacting our industry and we felt it in good conscience to ensure our industry is well-armed throughout this time on all matters pertaining to the pandemic, as there are many Award and IR matters being reviewed and amended during this time.”

If you would like to read the TRMC’s advisory note on the changes to the award, please click here.


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