The ACA is the national peak body representing architectural employers and is the designated employer organisation for architects under Fair Work Australia. We are governed by the Registered Organisations Commission and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. In this capacity, we represent architectural employers in negotiating all changes to the Architects Award, and on related industrial matters.
We encourage all architectural employers to familiarise themselves with the award and their obligations under it and other workplace law. The detailed information in this section helps members to meet these obligations.
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ACA members can also access the ACA Industrial Relations Advisory Service, which provides a 15-minute consultation per practice each year with Fair Work Lawyers.
The Architects Award
All architectural businesses must understand their obligations under the Architects Award. The following is a short overview of the award, the ACA’s role in negotiating it, and the assistance we provide to members regarding the Award.
Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2023
The Fair Work Commission has just handed down the 2023 wage decision, increasing the national minimum wage and base rates of pay in modern awards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary of the decision. The ACA will update relevant Award pay rates as soon as possible.
From Tuesday 6 June 2023, more employees will be able to request flexible working arrangements, and employers will have new obligations regarding flexible work requests, including a more rigorous process of discussion, negotiation and written responses.
2023 Changes to Parental Leave
From 1 July 2023, the rules for government-funded parental leave are changing to provide greater flexibility for parents to share caring responsibilities.
Sexual Harassment Reforms – What They Mean For Employers
Recent anti-discrimination and Fair Work amendment legislation has introduced a number of important legislative changes specifically targeting sexual harassment in the workplace. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a recap of the changes and their implications for employers.
New Workplace Laws – Sexual Harassment
New federal legislation has strengthened workplace laws around sexual harassment. From 6 March, the prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace is enshrined in the Fair Work Act, and there is now a positive duty on employers to prevent workplace sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation. Here we highlight some relevant ACA resources.
New Workplace Laws – Pay Secrecy & Job Ads
New workplace laws now apply regarding pay secrecy clauses in employment agreements and what you can include in job advertisements. These laws are part of the Fair Work Amendment legislation that was passed by the Federal parliament in December 2022.
Fair Work Amendment Act – An Overview
The Federal government’s recent workplace relations reform legislation, first introduced six weeks ago, passed both houses of parliament and is due to come into law imminently. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of the legislation amendments and their implications for employers.
Employment Agreement Templates – User Guide
This User Guide is a companion to the new ACA Employment Agreement Templates, offering advice on how to best use these templates within practice. Topics include pay rates, allowances, amending Schedule A, amending the contract, adding a position description and re-issuing contracts to existing employees.
Updated Employment Agreement Templates
The ACA is delighted to release an updated version of the Employment Agreement templates to support members. This follows a plain language review of our template employment contracts with Fair Work Lawyers to ensure they are user friendly as well as legally compliant. Download today!
Paid Family & Domestic Violence Leave Entitlements
On 9 November, the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 received royal assent. This legislation introduces paid family and domestic violence leave to all employees as an entitlement under the National Employment Standards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides the following update for ACA members.
Fair Work Amendment Bill
On 27 October, the Federal Government issued its long-awaited workplace relations reform. The document spans some 240-odd pages of dense legislation and if passed will represent some of the most significant employment reforms in well over a decade. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an initial review of the legislation.
The Removal of Mandatory COVID-19 Isolation
Mandatory COVID isolation periods will be removed nationally on 14 October, with a more direct burden on employers to address COVID risk within the workplace under WHS laws. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers teases out the issue in his latest IR Update for ACA members.
One-off Public Holiday
The Prime Minister has announced a national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, to be held on Thursday, 22 September 2022. This is intended to be a one-off public holiday rather than a recurring one. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers takes us through what this means for businesses.
2022 Architects Award Pay Rates
The 2022 Federal Industrial Awards pay rates for awards relevant to architectural practice are applicable from 1 July 2022. Download the new rates today!
Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2022
The Fair Work Commission has just handed down the 2022 wage decision, increasing the national minimum wage and base rates of pay in modern awards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary of the decision. The ACA will update relevant Award pay rates as soon as possible.
Fair Work Decision on Family & Domestic Violence Leave
The Fair Work Commission has handed down a major decision supporting 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave for modern award workers. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers unpacks the detail of the decision.
Legal overview of WA’s WHS changes
Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of the new WHS laws brought into effect in WA in March 2022. Practices need to be aware that there are potentially significant changes to the way that safety in design is dealt with under the new WHS legislation.
Independent Contractors Key High Court Decisions
On 9 February 2022, the High Court handed down two long-awaited decisions regarding the engagement of independent contractors as compared to employees, an issue that has long been filled with complexity and fraught with risk. Tom Earls unpacks the detail of the decisions and outlines the key takeaways for ACA members.
COVID-19 & the Workplace – IR Update
As the Omicron strain continues to wreak havoc across the country, Emma Avey from Fair Work Lawyers provides timely advice on workplace issues, including WHS consultation with employees, Rapid Antigen Testing, and managing leave entitlements.
Vaccination Data & Privacy Considerations
Practices need to take care when collecting and storing employee vaccination data. Tom Earls answers some timely questions for ACA members about vaccination certificates, privacy and risk.
Vaccinations – Commonly Asked Questions
As NSW comes out of lockdown, with Victoria soon to follow, questions continue to be raised about vaccinations and workplace rules. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers tackles some curly questions about vaccination status and the workplace for ACA members.
Vaccinations – September Update
Our legal advisor, Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers, has provided a further timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccination for employers, with a focus on assessing risks and implementing control measures, third-party mandates, workplace discrimination laws, employee refusal and vaccine incentives.
Industrial Relations – FAQs
At the ACA we are here to help you understand your industrial relations obligations. This FAQ article, prepared by Fair Work Lawyers, is designed to answer your commonly asked questions.
Vaccinations & the Workplace
Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccinations and the workplace.
Casual Employment – An Explainer
Tom Earls provides detailed analysis of employer obligations relating to casual engagements, and the key steps to take during the transitional window, which has the critical end date of 27 September 2021.
Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2021
The Fair Work Commission handed down the 2021 wage decision on 16 June, with a 2.5% increase to the national minimum wage and base rates of pay in modern awards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an update.
Working from Home – A New Frontier
Employment law does not always gel with new flexible work arrangements, but it must be considered before implementing a work-from-home system. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers unpacks relevant employer obligations for ACA members.
Casual Employment Information Statement
The new Casual Employment Information Statement is now available for download. All employers are obligated to give a copy of this statement to any new casual employee employed on or after 27 March 2021.
New IR Legislation – Update
A stripped back version of the Federal Government’s Industrial Relations bill was passed in parliament on 22 March, with amendments focusing on one issue only – casual employment. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary for ACA members.
Mandatory Vaccines – What Employers Need to Know
The COVID crisis continues to pose many challenges for employers, often involving areas of the laws that were largely unexplored until the pandemic. The next such challenge relates to employers mandating vaccines. Tom Earls explores the issues for ACA members.
Summary of New IR Legislation
The Federal government announced its long awaited workplace relations reform package on 9 December, setting the scene for industrial relations to be at the forefront of the political agenda coming into 2021. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary of the proposed legislation for ACA members.
2020 Industrial Relations Overview
As the year draws to a close, we provide a 2020 summary of the changes made to the Architects Award and other awards relevant to architectural practice.
Clerks Award Flexibility Extended
The temporary Schedule I in the Clerks Award, which allows for additional flexibility to assist employers and employees during the pandemic, has been extended to 30 June 2021.
Industrial Relations Update
This 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.
High Court Decision about Personal Leave
Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers summarises the findings of an important high court decision about personal leave accrual for ACA members.
Clerks Award - An Explainer
The various classifications of the Clerks Award can cause confusion. Tom Earls of Fair Work Lawyers clears up some common areas of conflict.
Unpaid Pandemic Leave & Annual Leave at Half Pay
The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay for many awards to 30 June 2022.
Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2020
The Fair Work Commission has increased the national minimum wage and base rates of pay in modern awards by 1.75%. There will be a staged rollout of increases, with those relevant to the Architects Award to come into effect on 1 November 2020. Fair Work Lawyers Tom Earls provides an explainer.
COVID-19 & Industrial Manslaughter
By 1 July 2020, Victoria will introduce industrial manslaughter laws for the first time. At the same time, Australia continues its efforts to contain COVID-19, including significant restrictions on work and workplaces. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers explores the issues for ACA members.
Federal Court's Ruling on Casual Employment
On 20 May 2020, the full bench of the Federal Court redefined what constitutes a casual worker. Michael Corrigan digs into the detail.
Architects Award Changes 2020
The new Architects Award 2020 document came into effect on 4 May 2020. There are notable changes to six clauses. The ACA encourages all members to ensure they understand these changes and their obligations as employers in relation to them.
How to Retain Staff During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The response to COVID-19 is unprecedented and evolving daily. As government decisions directly and indirectly impact on businesses, employers are looking at ways to continue operating in the face of enormous challenges. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers briefly describes the options available to architecture practices.
Clerks Award Flexibility
The Clerks Award has been temporarily amended to enable more flexibility during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus: Stand Down Considerations
Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide an update on key considerations for employers when circumstances force them to stand down parts of their workforce.
Coronavirus: Implications for Employers
With COVID-19 threatening to have significant impacts on businesses and workplaces around Australia in the coming weeks and months, Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide insights into the complex and often competing legal concepts relating to employment.
Annualised Salaries - changes to the Clerks Award
Changes to the Clerks Award insert new rules about annual salaries, with changes coming into effect from the first full pay period on or after 1 March 2020.
Community Service Leave
Practice owners and managers should be aware that all employees, including casuals, are entitled to community service leave to take on emergency service management activities, such as volunteering for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) or State Emergency Service (SES).
Fair Work Information Statement
A new Fair Work Information Statement was released on 29 March 2021. This must be given to all new employees, as part of an employer’s responsibilities under the National Employment Standards.
2019 Industrial Relations Overview
The ACA continues to represent architectural employers on industrial relations matters, to keep members informed about changes that impact them, and to support architects to be fair and ethical employers. As 2019 comes to a close we review the changes that have occurred this year.
2018 Updates to Architects Award
As the year draws to a close, we take a brief look at the changes made to the Architects Award this year.
Flexibility - New Award Clauses
New clauses in Modern Awards aim to further support flexible work. The ACA outlines what this might mean, how employers can prepare for these changes, and where to find good material to support flexible workplaces.
Right to Request Flexible Work
The Modern Awards include a new clause outlining the right to request flexible work.
Termination of Employment Clause
A new award determination requires employers to pay employees within seven days of their termination of employment.
Long Service Leave Changes
The Victorian Government has expanded the rights of employees regarding long service leave, effective from 1 November.
Converting Casual Employees to Permanent
The Fair Work Commission has handed down a new determination that will impact ACA members with regular casual employees.
Legal Advice: Unpaid Internships
What are your obligations in terms of unpaid internships? Nick Ruskin from K&L Gates looks at the fine print.
ACA Provides Valuable Input to New Architects Award
The ACA continues to advocate for its members as the Architects Award is reviewed by the Fair Work Commission.
New Model Domestic Violence Leave Clause in Awards
The ACA welcomes the decision of the Fair Work Commission that a model domestic violence leave clause should be inserted into modern Awards.
Architects Award: FAQ
The Architects Award sets the minimum standards and wages for the employment of architects, architectural graduates and architecture students. FAQs to help you meet your obligations.
Employee or Contractor?
Do you understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor, and what it means for your practice?
Individual Flexibility Arrangements
Individual flexibility arrangements provide the opportunity to vary modern awards or enterprise agreements to provide flexibility in a fair and appropriate manner.
What is Reasonable Management Action?
An employee usually won’t succeed in an unfair dismissal or bullying claim if the conduct of their employer is considered ‘reasonable management action’. But what does that term mean? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants investigates.
Can casual workers really just ask to become permanent?
A recent Fair Work decision about the right of casual workers to request permanency has raised many questions. Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants provides the answers.
Draughting Employees - Which Award?
Which Award are draughtspeople classified under? Michael Corrigan explains.
Time off in Lieu - New Rules
A surprise decision by the Fair Work Commission now requires employers to calculate time off in lieu (TOIL) at a rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked for employees being paid at the Award rates.
Students and Graduates of Architecture
Provisions for students and graduates of architecture in the Architects Award and applicable pay rates.
A brief update on the vehicle allowance in the Architects Award.
Reducing the Risk of General Protections Claims
The Fair Work Act 2009 contains a range of general protections available to employees against conduct that is discriminatory, unfair or unlawful. Peta Tumpey and Rae Mozejko, of TressCox Lawyers, set out what the general protections are and what employers can do to avoid claims being made in this jurisdiction.
Meeting Your Obligations in Relation to Redundancy
Peta Tumpey and Katie Simon outline the steps you need to go through as an employer to ensure you meet your obligations in relation to redundancy.
Fair Work Employer Checklist
Do you understand all your obligations under the national workplace relations system?
Internships - Legal Advice
An employer’s legal obligations, rights and responsibilities in relation to students, work experience participants and volunteers.
Your Business and the New Anti-Bullying Legislation
Michael Corrigan explains the changes to workplace laws on bullying and what you need to know.
Changing Employees' Hours of Work
Managing reducing hours of work to ensure minimum stress and maximum benefit for all.
New anti-bullying legislation focusses on how employers respond to allegations of bullying.
When does redundancy occur and what are your obligations as an employer?