Industrial Relations Update

27 September 2020

The following IR update relates to recent changes to two modern awards regarding payment of wages on termination, and further clarification on an Architects Award clause relating to a pay scale for the new classification of Bachelor’s Degree with a Pathway to a Master of Architecture.

Payment of Wages on Termination

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has varied the payment of wages on termination clause in the Graphic Arts Award and the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award as part of its Modern Award Review.

Employers now need to pay an employee’s:

  • final wages by the end of the next business day after the employment ends
  • NES entitlements (such as annual leave) within 7 days of the employment ending.

Changes apply from the first full pay period starting on or after 9 September 2020.

There may be special rules about paying any accumulated long service leave. Check with your state or territory long service leave agency, listed on the FWC’s Long service leave page.

If you use either of these awards for non-architect employees within your practice, please take note of the changes.

For more information on updated awards related to architecture practices, including the Architects Award, as well as additional FWC measures brought in to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic, see our Updated Awards article on the ACA website.

Architects Award Changes 2020 – Pathway to Masters implications

On 4 May 2020, the new Architects Award 2020 came into effect, with notable changes to six clauses​.

One of these clauses was 13.5 – Students of Architecture. The inclusion of 13.5c was for a pay scale for the new classification of the Bachelor’s Degree with a Pathway to a Master of Architecture. This replaced the fourth, fifth and sixth year of experience in the student rates from the previous award. It provides a streamlined transition for students and Bachelor’s degree holders who are eligible to apply for a Master’s degree.

The intention of this change was to address the non-academic year out or ‘gap year’ between the Bachelor’s degree and the Master’s degree, which was not covered by the Architects Award 2010. The minimum pay rates of the Architects Award 2020 now provide continual coverage from the first year of being enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree that leads to a Master’s degree in architecture, to being a junior registered Architect.

Where there had been three pay rate starting points without specific reference to earlier duration of experience within the Architect’s Award 2010, there are now four starting points within the Architects Award 2020:

1. Commence a Bachelor’s degree (suitable as undergraduate foundation for a post-graduate architectural degree)
2. Hold a Bachelor’s degree with a pathway to a Master’s degree (added into Architects Award)
3. Graduate with a Master’s degree
4. Register as an Architect

Within each category there are graded minimum pay scales in recognition of duration of architectural employment experience.

As a result, there is an increase in pay from the earlier Architects Award 2010 for those employees holding a Bachelor’s degree with a pathway to a Master’s degree but with limited or no architectural employment experience. Should a student employee have three years of architectural employment at the time of commencing the pathway to a Master’s degree, there is no difference in pay rate.

This new pay scale is an endorsement of the new employment category within the Award, and recognition for employees having successfully obtained an undergraduate degree. It also aligns with a responsiveness to long-held advocacy from student groups for greater reward for their contribution to practice.