ASGA webinar highlights complexities of Awards in sign industry - Image Magazine

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ASGA webinar highlights complexities of Awards in sign industry

ASGA webinar highlights complexities of Awards in sign industry

ASGA’s recent webinar, Employment Law Part I, provided insight into the complex nature of Awards that apply to the sign industry and gave valuable advice on what to do to avoid the financial implications of not complying, including considering an Enterprise Agreement. Registered attendees had the opportunity to ask questions. The following is a brief summary of what was covered.

Which Award?

There are a number of Awards that can apply in the sign making industry: Joinery, Manufacturing, Building, Clerks, Sales and Printing. For operational staff, there is a real problem in the sign industry because unlike any other industry, a multiplicity of Awards can apply to the same person with the same qualifications working in the same business depending upon particular circumstances, even going to the point of what materials they are using more regularly to produce a product.

Warwick Ryan of Hicksons Lawyers (Hicksons) expressed his concern during the webinar that due to the number of Awards that apply, many businesses in the sign making industry don’t get it right.

"Almost everyone is probably making a mistake at the present moment," Warwick said.

Referring to the Employment Guide and using the Employment Contracts prepared specifically for ASGA members is a start for members avoiding the financial implications of not selecting the correct Awards.

But even if you get it right at the time of employing a staff member, legislation changes and the roles of employees may change over time - you constantly need to be keeping on top of all of your employee’s individual agreements. Some businesses choose to put salarised agreements in place to try to overcome this burden but under certain Awards there is still the need to keep a record of an employee’s start and finishing times and any unpaid breaks, and the need to calculate the amount of remuneration that would have been payable to the employee under the terms of the applicable Award on an annual basis and to pay any difference owing. 

Enterprise Agreements (EA)

Hicksons encourages ASGA members to take out EAs because of the complexity of the Awards that apply in the sign industry. An EA goes beyond a simple common law agreement – it is an agreement between the employer and all the staff.

An EA:

- avoids the confusion of which award applies and what individual classification/pay rate/minimum engagement and annual leave loading condition applies;

- results in employees obtaining better working conditions than under their current respective awards;

- only includes terms and conditions relevant to the individual ASGA employer;

- includes broad and simple job classifications that reflect how the ASGA employer works and identifies job responsibilities and expectations;

- sets out clear and consistent rates of pay; and

- provides an opportunity to negotiate and set annual pay increases.

Hicksons have prepared a sign industry EA template which covers off on the full scope of the positions within the sign industry – it is tailor made. 

The average cost to adopt an EA through Hicksons is $4,000. This includes Hicksons managing the process (excluding employee consultation) and at the conclusion, the provision of employee employment agreements for permanent full and part time and casual employees (if the P&C requires additional assistance, experiences resistance which requires Hicksons involvement, and specific workplace advice, then costs can be closer to $5,000).

If ASGA members wish to only access the Hicksons EA template and FWC forms and have Hicksons complete the Notice of Employee Representational Rights and provide a one page overview of the EA process, the price is $880.

ASGA members can go to to access the webinar recording and PowerPoint presentation Awards; Enterprise Agreements Webinar PowerPoint presentation prepared by Saasha Greeney and Warwick Ryan of Hicksons Lawyers; and also find out more about Employment Guides.

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