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Awards, Wages & Conditions

This section includes information on the following topics:


Modern Awards have a number of aims. One of the main aims was to rationalise the old confusing and complex (federal and state) award system so that employers in Australia do not have to juggle with multiple numbers of complex awards for calculating the pay and conditions of their employees. Conversely, employees should be better placed to know their proper pay and entitlements.

The second aim is that the terms of modern awards have been made less ambiguous so that there is less room for disagreement and dispute over the meaning of particular clauses. That is not to say that all ambiguity has gone, but it has been reduced substantially.

Modern awards are the industrial instruments that set out the minimum wage rates for employees. Together with the National Employment Standards (NES), they also cover the minimum employment standards. This way, modern awards and the NES form the safety net of wages and conditions of employment, which apply to all national system employers and employees.

National system employers and employees are:

  • Trading, financial and foreign corporations and their employees (constitutional corporations)
  • Employed in Victoria, the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory
  • Employees of the Commonwealth and Territory Governments including its authorities
  • Waterside, maritime and flight crew employed in connection with interstate and overseas trade
  • certain State Government employees, all other employees in all other States (other than Western Australia) (these are known as Division 2B employers)

Who is excluded from modern awards?

Modern awards do not apply to those employees earning a guaranteed annual salary/wage exceeding $136,700* per year nor do they apply to employees of an enterprise or business that has an enterprise agreement in place (Sections 47 (2) and 329 of the FW Act). * Amount from 1 July 2015. Amount is indexed annually.

The new Modern Awards commenced on 4 May 2020 and have a substantial impact on the operations of employers in the transport industry. Along with the NES, the Awards act as a safety net for employers and employees who are required to meet the minimum standards.

These Awards have broad application across the Private Sector Road Transport including but not limited to:

  • Container Movement (import/export)
  • Taxi Trucks/Courier
  • Furniture Removal
  • Tippers - Bulk Transport
  • Livestock
  • Over-dimensional
  • Refrigeration
  • General Freight

Modern awards with application in the private transport industry are:

  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2020
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020
  • Waste Management Award 2020
  • Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020
  • Manufacturing Associated Industries Occupations Award 2020


Are you an employer in the Road Transport industry?

Are you confused about your award obligations?

Do you know which award applies to your employees?

Do you understand your legal obligations?

The Queensland Trucking Association’s registered Union of Employers, the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) has developed and can provide you with explanatory handbooks covering operations in the 2 major modern awards for the road transport industry.

These handbooks include:

  • Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 (RTD) Handbook
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010 (LDO) Handbook

ARTIO’s production of these explanatory handbooks was made possible through the ‘Shared Industry Assistance Project’ grants provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman. The grants have enabled leading employer organisations like ARTIO to educate employers and allow a better understanding and familiarisation with the Modern Awards and have been designed to make the relevant Awards easier to understand and apply. This is a must have resource for all transport operators.

For a copy of the RTD and/ or the LDO Modern Award Handbook, please contact QTA's Employment Relations Manager.

Both the RTD & LDO Modern Award Handbooks are available to be viewed on the ARTIO website


The Fair Work Act 2009 replaced the Workplace Relations Act 1996. It is the law of the federal parliament that establishes the overriding provisions for modern awards and the National Employment Standards, plus all of the discrete modules that comprise the national workplace relations system.

The legislation also includes the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Arrangements) Act 2009, and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, but the latter statute is not generally relevant to the award handbook.


(sections 59 to 131 of Fair Work Act)

Most of the NES deals with the minimum conditions of various types of leave. The NES also covers some issues on termination of employment, plus the approach to be adopted for requiring overtime to be worked, and the approach to be applied if parents of school aged children request flexible working hours.

From 1st January 2010, all modern awards (and enterprise agreements) must be read in conjunction with the NES as they combine to provide the minimum conditions of employment for employees in a particular industry or occupation.

Note: While a modern award can supplement an NES provision, the modern award cannot undercut an NES provision.

The NES is not restated in the body of the modern award. This means that readers of the Award will have to refer to the relevant NES in a separate document.

The NES covers the following matters:

  • Maximum ordinary weekly hours and determining what are reasonable additional hours
  • Requests by employees for flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave and related entitlements
  • Annual leave entitlements
  • Personal leave, carer’s leave and compassionate leave entitlements and related matters
  • Community services leave and related matters
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Notice of termination of employment and redundancy pay

Note: Not all of the NES provisions apply to casual employees. Where applicable the relevant NES provisions are identified where they interact with the provisions from Award.

For further details about the NES, please download a copy of the National Employment Standards (NES)


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