Workplace Relations


On Friday the 19th of June 2020, the Fair Work Commission issued its decision for the Annual Wage Review 2019-20. The increase decided upon was 1.75%.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Commission altered and extended its timetable, to allow it to make its decision on the national wage increase. They took into consideration the labour and economic markets focusing on data such as growth, productivity, and unemployment, as well as looking at the objectives of modern awards. The Commission also allowed for external parties to also lodge submissions with their comments and views in relation to the wage review to be considered, prior to the final decision.       

After all the relevant information being received, viewed, and discussed, the Commission decided that there should be a wage increase for businesses, of 1.75%. Yet, on the 1st of July 2020, there will be only a select number of industries receiving this increase. Due to COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on industry in Australia, the commission decided it was only fair that industries were provided leniency due to the detrimental effect felt. As certain industries were effected more than others, wage increases will occur at 3 different times, for differing industries. The industries applicable modern awards, were allocated into 3 different groups. The dates of the wage increases for these groups are the following:

  • Group 1 Modern Awards - First full pay period on or after the 1st of July 2020.
  • Group 2 Modern Awards - First full pay period on or after the 1st of November 2020.
  • Group 3 Modern Awards - First full pay period on or after the 1st of February 2021.

For members of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), this means the 1.75 % annual wage increase will not affect your business on the 1st of July 2020, like usual. Members of the VFF are covered by modern awards allocated to either group 2 & 3 e.g. Pastoral Award 2010 and Horticulture Award 2010 will fall into group 2 (1st of November 2020).

The Workplace Relations Team at the VFF, will notify members prior to the effect date, of how they will be receiving their applicable wage sheets this year. Due to COVID-19, VFF staff are currently working remotely. Reliant on when return to work occurs, will determine if wage sheets are still sent via post or by other methods e.g. via members only section on website or via email.


From the 1st of March it was decided by the Fair Work Commission that reviewed Annualised Wage provisions would be inserted into particular modern awards, including the Pastoral Award 2010 & Horticulture Award 2010.

If employers choose to use the Annualised Wage provision as per your relevant award, there are certain requirements you must adhere to, with what is communicated to employees using this provision, such as:

  • Annualised salary calculation
  • Annual audit
  • Record keeping

Annualised Wage arrangements are only an option under the modern awards for employers. It is a provision to be utilized if it is the most suitable option for the employment situation. Employers can still proceed to use employment contracts with employees utilizing offsetting provisions.

As the changing climate continues, the importance of paying employee entitlements have been highlighted in the previous 3 months with big business admitting to underpaying staff. Some of these cases were of underpayments of employees on Annualised Wages arrangements. Employers should be aware of their responsibilities and to be compliant.

New Casual Conversion Clause 

Casual Employees will be give certain rights, if they meet certain criteria’s, to request to change to a full time or part time tenure, thus after surpassing a period of employment. Casual Conversion that is being introduced is new to most industries. These rights and responsibilities have not been around for very long. This takes effect from 1st of October 2018. Most if not all employers within Australia will be affected. VFF members should do the following:

  • From 1st October 2018 members should view their EBA or covering Modern Award, which sets out specific responsibilities they must follow and comply with.
  • Provide all future casual employees a copy of the conversion clause during the period of no more than 12 months from first shift.
  • Provide all current casual employees at 1st October 2018, a copy of the conversion clause by no later than 1st January 2019.


Our Industrial Relations service offers a range of packages that include access to the highly acclaimed VFF Employment Handbook. Our handbook offers subscribers a guide for members on wage and allowance provisions for the following industries:

Dairy, Grains, Mixed Farming, Livestock, Shearing, Horticulture, Wine, Pigs, Eggs, Poultry, Clerical Workers, Retail, Transport, Storage & Wholesale, Trainees and many more!