The Legal Services Award (MA000116) covers employers working in the legal services industry and their employees who fit within the award’s classifications.
While you can review the Legal Services Award on the Fair Work website, the document is often filled with complicated legal jargon, making it challenging to understand whether or not your legal services business is meeting all the compliance requirements.
With a recent focus on payroll compliance from Fair Work Commission Australia and media coverage of businesses guilty of wage theft, it’s more important now than ever that companies understand what’s expected of their obligations when it comes to being compliant with pay rates and employment conditions.
To help guide you in the right direction, we’ve created an easy-to-understand eBook that summarises all the essentials in the Legal Services Award. Our eBook also includes a payroll processing checklist for your legal services business so that you can ensure you cover all your bases and remain compliant in terms of the Legal Services Award.
We’ve also put together this article to cover some of the conditions you may not have known existed in the Legal Services Award that you should know to ensure you fully understand how to be 100% compliant.
Daylight Savings Affects Shiftworkers Hours of Work
This means the time on the clock at the beginning of work and the time on the clock at the end of work.
When daylight saving time ends (in other words the clock rolls back 1 hour), employees working an overnight shift work 1-hour more but aren't paid for that extra hour.
Whereas, when daylight saving time starts (in other words the clock rolls forward 1 hour), employees working an overnight shift, work 1-hour less but are paid for that extra hour.
Sarah is a shiftworker at a local legal practice firm and regularly works from 9.00 pm on Saturday until 5.00 am on Sunday.
When daylight savings started and the time was adjusted from 2.00 am to 3.00 am, Sarah only worked 7 hours, but she was paid for 8.
However, when the daylight savings time was adjusted from 3.00 am 2.00 am, and Sarah worked from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am, she was paid for 8 hours of work, although she worked 9.
Annualised Salary Changes
On 1 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission introduced new annualised salary provisions into various Modern Awards.
The new annualised salary changes introduce various processes that employers must follow to ensure that their annualised salary arrangement doesn’t disadvantage their employees, for example:
- employers must ensure that a salary staff's annual wage can't be less than what they would've been paid over the year if they were paid all the award entitlements for their job.
If you have salary staff covered by the Legal Services Award, check out our Ultimate Guide on Annualised Salary Changes.
There are 3 Different “Living Away From Home” Allowances
- fares allowance: covers all fares to and from the temporary place of work;
- travelling time allowance: in addition to the fares allowance, the employee must also receive payment (at their ordinary rate) for the time spent travelling between their usual workplace and the temporary location; and
- board and lodging allowance: where the employee has to sleep away from their usual home, the employer must cover all the reasonable expenses incurred for board and lodging.
After Overtime, Employees Must Be Given 10 Hours Off
If the employee’s next rostered working day is less than 10 hours after they finish working the overtime, then the employer must either:
- delay the start time of their next rostered working day to allow a 10 hours break; or
- pay the employee at 200% of the minimum hourly rate until the employee has a break of at least 10 hours.
As a result of working on a complex legal case, Any landed up staying at the office until 11:30 pm finalising his prep work for the trial the next day.
He worked a total of 7.5 hours overtime and because he had to be in court by 8.00 am, he didn’t have the required 10 hours off.
As a result, his employer was required to pay him his overtime rates and 200% of his minimum hourly rate until he can have his next 10-hour break.
The court was adjourned at 4.00 pm so Andy could take a much needed break until 8.00 am start time the following day.
This means that he was paid 200% of his minimum hourly rate from 8.00 am - 4.00 pm.
Calling Your Employee Back To Work Pays More
Day-workers and non-continuous shiftworkers
% of the minimum hourly rate
% of the minimum hourly rate
150% for the first 3 hours
200% after 3 hours
Where an employee regularly has to prepare to be called back; in other words, this happens often, they will be paid for a minimum of 3 hours’ work at the correct rate above.
If the job they were recalled to perform is completed before the 3 or 4 hours, they won’t be required to work the full time.
Employees Must Get Paid For Standing By
Should an employee be required to be on stand-by and be prepared to go back to work after their ordinary hours of work are completed, they must be paid, at their ordinary rate, for the time they are required to stand by.
Travis has left the office of his legal practice firm at his ordinary finishing time (6.00 pm). However, part of his team was staying late to work on a big upcoming case.
Although he was allowed to leave whilst his team stayed and worked on the case, he was required to be on stand-by in case they had hit a roadblock and needed help.
Travis was on stand by until 11.00 pm after which the team went home.
Therefore, his employer was required to pay Travis, at his ordinary rate, for 5 hours of standing by.Back to top
Law Graduates Are Entitled To Paid Study Leave
A law graduate is entitled to paid study leave for a maximum of 20 days in any 12-month period to attend a course of instruction, and prepare for and attend examinations related to the practical legal training required for their admission to practise as an Australian lawyer.
Paid study leave may be taken for a period or periods agreed between the employer and employee.
The employer can’t unreasonably refuse to agree to the employee’s request to take paid study leave.
Beyond reading the Legal Services Award eBook and this article, given the complexity of the award, we have found that adopting cloud payroll software to automate your compliance and help with labour cost control is a handy tool.
We also offer an automated time and attendance solution called NoahFace, which captures the start and end of shift times using an Ipad or the NoahFace Go phone app. The data is synchronised with your payroll system, making payroll a breeze.
If you’re still feeling unsure about your compliance with the Legal Services Award, feel free to get in touch with us at Pay Cat to learn more about adopting cloud payroll software and no-touch clocking for the Legal Services Award (MA000116) or any other modern award.