[2021] FWCFB 5466

The attached document replaces the document previously issued with the above code on 2 September 2021.

Medium neutral citation at footnote 1 corrected.

Associate to Vice President Hatcher.

23 September 2021.

[2021] FWCFB 5466


Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021
cl.48, Schedule 1 of the Fair Work Act 2009

Casual terms award review 2021

Various industries



Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 – casual amendments – review of modern awards – Stage 2, Group 3 awards – provisional views confirmed.

[1] On 27 March 2021 the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) was amended by Schedule 1 to the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (Cth) (Amending Act). The amendments included introducing a definition of ‘casual employee’ in s.15A of the Act and casual conversion arrangements in Division 4A of Part 2-2 of the Act.

[2] The Amending Act inserted additional application, savings and transitional provisions into Schedule 1 of the Act. The newly inserted cl.48 of Schedule 1 to the Act requires the Fair Work Commission (Commission) to conduct a review (Casual Terms Review or Review) and vary modern awards where necessary to remove inconsistencies, difficulties or uncertainties caused by the amendments to the Act.

[3] The Casual Terms Review is being conducted in 2 stages. As part of Stage 1, a five-member Full Bench issued a decision 1 (July 2021 decision) that considered the nature and scope of the Review and reviewed ‘relevant terms’ (as defined in cl.48) in an initial group of six modern awards.

[4] This Full Bench has been constituted to review the remaining modern awards which have been divided into 4 groups as part of Stage 2 of the Review. The groups are set out at Attachment A to our statement 2 of 3 August 2021.

[5] In a statement issued on 18 August 2021 3 (August 2021 statement), taking into account the reasoning and conclusions in the July 2021 decision, we expressed provisional views in respect of each of the Group 3 awards in Stage 2 of the Review. Interested parties were directed to provide any responses in relation to our provisional views by 25 August 2021.

[6] Interested parties were further asked to provide submissions in relation to the casual conversion issue in the Labour Market Assistance Industry Award 2020 (Labour Market Award) identified at [48] the August 2021 statement about which we have not expressed provisional views.

[7] The Commission received 7 submissions from parties in response to the August 2021 statement. The Full Bench’s provisional views were contested in relation to the following two awards:

  Sugar Industry Award 2020 (Sugar Award); and

  Higher Education—Academic Staff—Award 2020 (Academic Staff Award)

[8] The Australian Workers’ Union contested the provisional view in relation to casual conversion in clause 10.6 of the Sugar Award. 4

[9] The Group of Eight Universities (Go8) submitted that the Full Bench’s provisional view on casual conversion in the Academic Staff Award may not meet the requirements under the modern awards objective under s.134(1) of the Act.  5

[10] We sought the views of parties interested in the Labour Market Award in relation to sessional employees and whether this type of employment may give rise to inconsistency with the Act. As of this date we have not received any submissions. While the Commission received submissions contesting the provisional views of the Full Bench in relation to casual conversion in the Sugar Award and the Academic Staff Award, the remainder of our provisional views were not contested. We confirm the uncontested provisional views expressed in relation to the Sugar Award, the Academic Staff Award and the Labour Market Award.

[11] A directions hearing was listed for Monday 30 August 2021 to consider the contested award clauses in the Sugar Award and the Academic Staff Award as well as the issues identified in the Labour Market Award. Submissions in response to the contested provisions have been sought.

[12] Additionally, we confirm the provisional views expressed relating to the remaining 28 Group 3 awards, which were not contested and contain no outstanding issues. This includes the Seagoing Industry Award 2020 which does not contain any relevant terms and will not require any variation. These awards are listed at Attachment A to this decision.

[13] In each case where a variation to the award is required, we are satisfied that the variation is necessary to achieve the modern awards objective in s.134(1) of the Act.

Additional amendments

Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020

[14] It has been identified that clause 2 in the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020 contains an outdated reference to the Divisions comprising the NES. This issue was not identified in the August 2021 statement. As outlined in the July 2021 decision, such provisions are not ‘relevant terms’ but can be updated by the Commission exercising its general award variation powers under Part 2-3 of the Act. Under s.160, the Commission can on its own initiative vary modern awards to remove ambiguity or correct error. As such we propose to vary the definition of National Employment Standards at clause 2 to insert an additional subclause after paragraph (b) in the extract of s.61 of the Act that appears in clause 2 under the definition of ‘National Employment Standards’ as follows:

“(ba) offers and requests for casual conversion (Division 4A);”

Sugar Industry Award 2020

[15] It has been identified that clause 19.8(b) the Sugar Award contains a variation of the term ‘regular and systematic employee’ and refers to ‘regular and systematic employment’. This issue was not identified in the August 2021 statement. As such we propose to vary this clause as follows:

“(b) Clause 19.8 applies where the employee, immediately prior to entering into a training contract as an adult apprentice has been an employee in the enterprise for a minimum of 6 months as a full-time employee employment or 12 months as a part-time or regular and systematic casual employee employment.”

Draft determinations

[16] Draft determinations varying the 27 remaining Group 3 awards 6 in accordance with our confirmed views and the additional matter concerning the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020 above will be issued with this decision. Interested parties are to provide any comment on the draft determinations by 5PM (AEST) THURSDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 2021.

al of the Fair Work Commission with the memeber's signature.


Printed by authority of the Commonwealth Government Printer



Award title

MA code

Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020


Business Equipment Award 2020


Clerks - Private Sector Award 2020


Coal Export Terminals Award 2020


Commercial Sales Award 2020


Contract Call Centres Award 2020


Dredging Industry Award 2020


Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2020


Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award 2020


Electrical Power Industry Award 2020


Fitness Industry Award 2020


Gardening and Landscaping Services Award 2020


Higher Education Industry—General Staff—Award 2020


Horticulture Award 2020


Legal Services Award 2020


Local Government Industry Award 2020


Marine Towage Award 2020


Market and Social Research Award 2020


Miscellaneous Award 2020


Nursery Award 2020


Port Authorities Award 2020


Ports, Harbours and Enclosed Water Vessels Award 2020


Real Estate Industry Award 2020


Seagoing Industry Award 2020


Silviculture Award 2020


Sporting Organisations Award 2020


Telecommunications Services Award 2020


Wine Industry Award 2020


 1   [2021] FWCFB 4144.

 2   [2021] FWCFB 4714.

 3   [2021] FWCFB 5123.

 4   The Australian Workers’ Union submission, 25 August 2021 at paras 6-12.

 5   Group of Eight Universities, submission, 25 August 2021 para 2.4.

 6   That is, the Group 3 awards except for the Sugar Award, the Academic Staff Award, the Labour Market Award and the Seagoing Industry Award 2020.