Industrial Relations

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

20 September 2021

Download the current awards here, and understand your obligations under the Architects Award and how the ACA can help.

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Vaccinations – Commonly Asked Questions

12 October 2021

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.

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Vaccinations – September Update

22 September 2021

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.

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Industrial Relations – FAQs

21 September 2021

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.

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Vaccinations & the Workplace

16 August 2021

Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccinations and the workplace.

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Casual Employment – An Explainer

6 July 2021

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.

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2021 Rates of Pay

1 July 2021

The 2021 Federal Industrial Awards pay rates for awards relevant to architectural practice are applicable from 1 July 2021. Download the new rates today!

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Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2021

17 June 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.

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Working from Home – A New Frontier

1 June 2021

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.

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Casual Employment Information Statement

30 March 2021

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.

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New IR Legislation – Update

29 March 2021

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.

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Mandatory Vaccines – What Employers Need to Know

5 February 2021

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.

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Summary of New IR Legislation

10 December 2020

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.

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2020 Industrial Relations Overview

8 December 2020

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.

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Clerks Award Flexibility Extended

29 March 2021

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.

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2020 Rates of Pay

19 October 2020

The 2020 Industrial Awards pay rates for awards relevant to employees in architectural practices are applicable from 1 November 2020.

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Industrial Relations Update

27 September 2020

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.

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High Court Decision about Personal Leave

14 August 2020

Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers summarises the findings of an important high court decision about personal leave accrual for ACA members.

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Clerks Award - An Explainer

31 July 2020

The various classifications of the Clerks Award can cause confusion. Tom Earls of Fair Work Lawyers clears up some common areas of conflict.

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Unpaid Pandemic Leave & Annual Leave at Half Pay

30 July 2021

The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay for many awards to 31 December 2021.

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Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2020

22 June 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.

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COVID-19 & Industrial Manslaughter

4 June 2020

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.

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Federal Court's Ruling on Casual Employment

21 May 2020

On 20 May 2020, the full bench of the Federal Court redefined what constitutes a casual worker. Michael Corrigan digs into the detail.

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Architects Award Changes 2020

4 May 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.

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2019 Award Rates

4 May 2020

Updated Federal Industrial Awards pay rates for awards relevant to employees working in architectural practices.

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How to Retain Staff During the Coronavirus Pandemic

31 March 2020

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.

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Clerks Award Flexibility

29 March 2020

The Clerks Award has been temporarily amended to enable more flexibility during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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Coronavirus: Stand Down Considerations

19 March 2020

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.

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Coronavirus: Implications for Employers

15 March 2020

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.

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Annualised Salaries - changes to the Clerks Award

25 February 2020

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.

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Community Service Leave

14 January 2020

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).

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Fair Work Information Statement

30 March 2021

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.

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2019 Industrial Relations Overview

4 December 2019

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.

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New Family and Domestic Violence Leave

14 December 2018

Fair Work has announced new leave entitlements, applicable from 1 August.

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2018 Updates to Architects Award

12 December 2018

As the year draws to a close, we take a brief look at the changes made to the Architects Award this year.

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Flexibility - New Award Clauses

28 November 2018

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.

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Right to Request Flexible Work

28 November 2018

The Modern Awards include a new clause outlining the right to request flexible work.

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Termination of Employment Clause

29 October 2018

A new award determination requires employers to pay employees within seven days of their termination of employment.

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Long Service Leave Changes

17 October 2018

The Victorian Government has expanded the rights of employees regarding long service leave, effective from 1 November.

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Converting Casual Employees to Permanent

24 September 2018

The Fair Work Commission has handed down a new determination that will impact ACA members with regular casual employees.

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Legal Advice: Unpaid Internships

13 August 2018

What are your obligations in terms of unpaid internships? Nick Ruskin from K&L Gates looks at the fine print.

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ACA Provides Valuable Input to New Architects Award

16 July 2018

The ACA continues to advocate for its members as the Architects Award is reviewed by the Fair Work Commission.

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New Model Domestic Violence Leave Clause in Awards

16 April 2018

The ACA welcomes the decision of the Fair Work Commission that a model domestic violence leave clause should be inserted into modern Awards.

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Architects Award: FAQ

19 March 2018

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.

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Employee or Contractor?

12 November 2017

Do you understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor, and what it means for your practice?

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Individual Flexible Arrangements

2 June 2021

Individual flexibility arrangements provide the opportunity to vary modern awards or enterprise agreements to provide flexibility in a fair and appropriate manner.

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What is Reasonable Management Action?

14 October 2017

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.

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Can casual workers really just ask to become permanent?

16 August 2017

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.

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Draughting Employees - Which Award?

10 August 2017

Which Award are draughtspeople classified under? Michael Corrigan explains.

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Time off in Lieu - New Rules

19 March 2017

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.

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Paid Parental Leave

16 February 2017

Do you have systems in place for Paid Parental Leave? We provide an overview of your obligations.

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Students and Graduates of Architecture

30 August 2016

Provisions for students and graduates of architecture in the Architects Award and applicable pay rates.

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Vehicle allowance

4 November 2015

A brief update on the vehicle allowance in the Architects Award.

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Reducing the Risk of General Protections Claims

20 July 2015

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.

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Meeting Your Obligations in Relation to Redundancy

12 May 2015

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.

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Fair Work Employer Checklist

2 February 2014

Do you understand all your obligations under the national workplace relations system?

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Internships - Legal Advice

12 January 2014

An employer’s legal obligations, rights and responsibilities in relation to students, work experience participants and volunteers.

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Your Business and the New Anti-Bullying Legislation

3 December 2013

Michael Corrigan explains the changes to workplace laws on bullying and what you need to know.

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Changing Employees' Hours of Work

11 October 2013

Managing reducing hours of work to ensure minimum stress and maximum benefit for all.

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Anti-bullying legislation

10 July 2013

New anti-bullying legislation focusses on how employers respond to allegations of bullying.

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10 September 2012

When does redundancy occur and what are your obligations as an employer?

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