The Ultimate Wine Industry Award Summary (MA000090) [2023 Updated]

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Everything you need to know about the Wine Industry Award (without the complicated jargon!)

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Navigating the Wine Industry Award can be an arduous task, given its intricate nature and the diverse range of roles it covers. 

It's also no secret that this Modern Award, like many others, is often laden with legal terminology, making it a challenging document to comprehend.

We've seen time and again how misinterpretation or simply a lack of understanding of these awards can lead to compliance issues. For instance, in 2022, a well-known winery faced heavy penalties for underpaying their staff, not realising they had misunderstood certain clauses in the Wine Industry Award.

With the spotlight on payroll compliance from the Fair Work Commission Australia and the increasing media attention on wage theft, understanding and meeting your obligations is crucial.

This summary, along with our eBook and payroll checklist, aims to provide you with a clear and simple understanding of everything you need to know about the Wine Industry Award.

Disclaimer:

Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or tax advice. You should, where necessary, seek a second professional opinion for any legal or tax issues raised in your business affairs.

The industry's activities under this award encompass a broad range, from the cultivation of wine grapes to the processing and dispatching of wine and other products. Specifically, these activities include:

  • The preparation of land for the planting and pruning of wine grape vines.
  • The care, growth, treatment, picking, and harvest of wine grapes associated with a wine grape vineyard.
  • The transformation of wine grapes into wine, juice, or spirits.
  • The bottling, packaging, storage, or despatch of wine, brandy, other portable spirits, liqueurs, vinegar, or grape juice associated with a winery or wine distillery This encompasses cellar door sales, laboratory activities, and the making or repairing of barrels.
  • The packaging, storage, and dispatching of wine or grape spirit from a warehouse facility or storage location connected with a winery or wine distillery

Examples of roles typically covered under this award include: 

  • Cellar door salespersons
  • Packers and bottlers
  • Boiler attendants 
  • Forklift drivers
  • Laboratory attendants. 

The Wine Industry Award also applies to labour-hire businesses and their employees operating within the wine industry.

It’s worth noting that certain roles and businesses are not covered by the Wine Industry Award, including: 

  • Employees working in wine retail stores not associated with a winery
  • Staff employed at a restaurant located at a winery
  • Bus or van drivers
  • Tour guides employed by wine tour businesses

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  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Casual

Full-time Employees

Full-time employees are those who are contracted to work an average of 38 hours per week.

 

Part-time Employees

Part-time employees are those who:

  • Work up to 38 hours per week
  • Receive the same pay and employment conditions as a full-time employee, but on a pro-rata basis  -  in other words, according to the number of hours they work

When a part-time employee is hired, both the employer and the employee should agree in writing on the work schedule. Any changes to this agreed-upon work pattern should also be documented in writing.

Unless they are pieceworkers, part-time employees must be paid the minimum hourly rate for the work performed, as per the Wine Industry Award's minimum rates clause.

 

Casual Employees

Casual employees should be paid per hour worked. This pay includes:

  • The minimum hourly rate for their position
  • Casual loading, an additional 25% of the minimum hourly rate. Casual loading is a higher pay rate typically given to casual workers to compensate for benefits that full-time and part-time employees receive, such as sick leave and annual leave.

 

Minimum Engagement

In general, a casual employee must be paid for a minimum of 4 hours of work each time they are required to work, even if the actual work performed takes less time.

If you hire a casual employee for pruning or harvesting work and unexpected weather conditions prevent the completion of 4 hours' work, the casual employee must be paid for a minimum of 2 hours' work.

 

Casual Conversion

Casual conversion refers to the process by which a casual employee becomes a full-time or part-time employee, subject to certain conditions. 

According to the National Employment Standards (NES), employers must make a written offer for casual conversion within 21 days after the employee’s 12-month anniversary if:

  • The employee has been employed by the employer for 12 months.
  • The employee has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months.
  • The employee could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes.

The offer should be for the employee to convert to:

  • Full-time employment, if the employee's hours worked for at least the last 6 months have been equivalent to full-time hours, or 
  • Part-time employment if the employee's hours worked for at least the last 6 months have been less than full-time hours.

Example

Consider Bella, a casual employee who works at a cellar door every Wednesday and Saturday. Over a six-month period, Bella has to miss two shifts due to a family emergency and takes a week off for a short vacation. 

Despite these absences, Bella's working hours remain a "regular pattern of hours" because they are consistent and predictable. 

This pattern could potentially make Bella eligible for a casual conversion, transitioning from a casual to a permanent position.

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  • For both day workers and shift workers, the maximum ordinary hours are up to 38 per week.
  • These hours should be worked continuously, except for meal breaks.
  • On any given day, the ordinary working hours must not exceed 10 hours unless there's an agreement to extend this to up to 12 hours.

 

Day Workers' Schedule

The standard work hours are between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. 

However, there are exceptions for specific roles:

  • Cellar Door Employees: Work hours extend to include the weekend, running from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Vineyard Employees: During the vintage period, work hours are from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.

Vintage Period

The vintage period is a six-month period between November and June, which is typically the harvest time for wine grapes.

Employers are required to record the beginning and end of each vintage period.

 

Arranging Ordinary Working Hours

The structure of the 38-hour week is determined by agreement between the employer and the majority of employees. 

Possible arrangements include:

  • 19 days of 8 hours in each 4-week period, with either a fixed or rostered day off.
  • 9 days of 8 hours and one day of 4 hours in each fortnight, with either a fixed half-day off or a rostered half-day off at the beginning or end of the working week.

Daylight Saving Time

If an employee works a shift that spans the time when daylight saving begins or ends, they will be paid according to the adjusted time.

 

Make-Up Time

An employee can choose to take time off during ordinary hours and work those hours at a later time, with the employer's consent.

Each time an employee uses this provision, it must be recorded in the time and wage records.

Example

Consider Bella’s example again. 

She might agree with her employer to work a few extra hours on a Wednesday during the vintage period. If Bella needed to take a few hours off on a particular day, she could opt for "make-up time" and make up for it later in the week.

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The following table summarises these break provisions for easy reference:

Break Type

Worker Category

Break Duration

Conditions

Compensation If Break Is Missed

Meal Break

Day Workers

30-60 minutes

Unpaid

Given every 5 hours of work

150% of the rate of pay until break is given

Meal Break

Shiftworkers

30 minutes

Paid

Given every 4.5 hours of work or up to 6 hours by agreement

150% of the rate of pay until break is given

Overtime  Meal          Break

All Employees

30 minutes

Paid

Given after more than 2 hours of overtime, and after each 4 hours of overtime thereafter

-

Rest Break

All Employees

10 minutes

Paid

Given once on each day or shift

-

 

Note: If an employee doesn't receive a meal break per the guidelines in this table, they must be compensated at a rate of 150% of their normal pay, starting from when the meal break was due until they are given their meal break.

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For more information on the industry's pay conditions, please refer to the Pay Guide for the Wine Industry Award

Please also refer to the minimum rates for different classifications.

If you aren't sure about the classification structure, we break it down in our Wine Industry eBook.

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Search our database for all relevant allowances to your modern award.

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As of July 2022, however, employers are required to pay a super guarantee on behalf of eligible employees, regardless of how much they are paid.

The current rate of 10.5% of an employee’s ordinary earnings must be contributed. However, this increases annually. So, from July 1, 2023, the super guarantee will increase to 11%. And it will continue to increase by 0.5% each year until it reaches 12% on July 1, 2025. 

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Full-Time Employees

Full-time employees are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked beyond their standard daily or shift hours.

 

Part-Time and Casual Employees

Part-time and casual employees receive overtime pay under the following conditions:

  • Work performed outside their standard working hours
  • Work exceeding 38 ordinary hours in a week
  • Work exceeding their agreed-upon ordinary hours

With casual employees, you need to keep in mind that their overtime rates are calculated based on the minimum hourly rate specified in the agreement. If overtime is worked on a Sunday or public holiday, a 25% casual loading is also applicable. However, casual loading is not applied to overtime work on regular days.

 

Overtime Rates


Days

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees

Casual Employees

Monday to Saturday

150% of the minimum hourly rate for the first 2 hours on any day or shift, and 200% of the minimum hourly rate after 2 hours until the completion of the overtime work.

Same as full-time or part-time, but casual loading must also be considered.

Sunday

200% of the minimum hourly rate until the completion of the overtime.

225% of the minimum hourly rate until the completion of the overtime (including casual loading).

Public Holiday

250% of the minimum hourly rate for a minimum of 4 hours' work until the completion of the overtime.

275% of the minimum hourly rate for a minimum of 4 hours' work until the completion of the overtime (including casual loading).


Please note that hours of work performed immediately before or after a part-day public holiday that form part of one continuous shift are counted as part of the minimum payment or engagement period.


Rest Period After Working Overtime

An employee who hasn't had a 10-hour break between shifts:

  • Must be released until they've had a 10-hour break. 
  • If asked to resume work before the 10-hour break, they get 200% pay (or 225% for a casual worker on a Sunday or public holiday) until released for the 10-hour break.

Call Back

If called back to work after leaving the premises, an employee must be paid for at least 4 hours at the overtime rate. 

There are, however, some exceptions, including if it's customary to return for specific tasks or if overtime starts immediately before or after ordinary work time.

 

Time Off Instead of Payment for Overtime

An employee and employer may agree in writing that the employee will take time off instead of being paid for certain overtime hours. However, the following conditions will apply: 

  • This must be a separate agreement for each pay period.
  • The agreement must state the number of overtime hours, that the employee can take time off instead of pay, and that the employee can request to be paid for these hours at the overtime rate at any time.
  • The time off taken is equal to the number of overtime hours worked and must be taken within 6 months.
  • If the employee doesn't take the time off within 6 months, the employer must pay them for the overtime in the next pay period.
  • If an employee hasn't taken their time off for overtime by the time their employment ends, the employer must pay them for the overtime at the rate applicable when the overtime was worked.

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The purpose of penalty rates is to compensate employees for working during these less desirable periods.

The following penalty rates are applicable to employees who fall under the Wine Industry Award: 

Type of Worker

Type of Shift

Days

Penalty Rate

Day Worker

Ordinary Hours

Saturdays

125% of minimum hourly rate

Day Worker

Ordinary Hours

Sundays

200% of minimum hourly rate

Day Worker

Ordinary Hours

Public Holiday  (min 4 hours' work)

250% of minimum hourly rate

Shiftworker

Afternoon Shift

(ends after 6 pm and before midnight)

All

115% of minimum hourly rate

Shiftworker

Night Shift (

ends after midnight and before 8 am)

All

115% of minimum hourly rate

Shiftworker

Permanent Night Shift

All

130% of minimum hourly rate

Shiftworker

Any Shift

Saturdays

150% of minimum hourly rate

Shiftworker

Any Shift

Sundays

200% of minimum hourly rate

Shiftworker

Any Shift

Public Holidays

250% of minimum hourly rate

 

Note: Hours of work performed immediately before or after a part-day public holiday that form part of one continuous shift are counted as part of the minimum payment or engagement period.

Example

Let’s say a night shift worker is scheduled to work from 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday night to 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning, and Monday is a public holiday. 

According to the note, the hours worked from 10:00 PM to 12:00 midnight (Sunday, before the public holiday officially starts) and the hours worked from 12:00 midnight to 6:00 AM (on the public holiday, Monday) would all be considered part of the same continuous shift.

This means that the entire shift from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. would be counted as part of the minimum payment or engagement period for the public holiday. 

As a result, the employee would be entitled to the public holiday penalty rate for the entire shift, not just for the hours worked after midnight when the public holiday officially started.


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Payment for Annual Leave Loading


Under the Wine Industry Award, you must apply a 17.5% leave loading on top of the annual leave when an employee takes paid time off.

Employees must be paid the higher of:


  • A 17.5% annual leave loading of their ordinary pay rate, or
  • The weekend and shift penalties they would have received if they weren’t on leave.

Example: 

If a full-time employee applies for leave from Thursday this week to Wednesday next week, during which they would typically work 8 hours of shiftwork on a Saturday, the employer should calculate:

  • The payment for 38 hours with a 17.5% leave loading, and
  • The typical payment the employee would receive working across that period with Saturday penalty rates.

The higher of the two calculations is what the employee should be paid for that period of time, not for individual days.

This policy ensures that employees don't receive less pay when taking paid annual leave.

 

Alternative Leave Arrangements

  • Leave in advance: Employers and employees can agree in writing for the employee to take a period of paid annual leave before accruing it.
  • Cashing out annual leave: Employers and employees can agree in writing to cash out a specific amount of the employee’s accrued paid annual leave.
  • Excessive leave accruals: Employers and employees can agree in writing on how to reduce or eliminate excessive leave accrual. Excessive leave accrual is defined as accruing more than 8 weeks of paid annual leave, or 10 weeks for a shift worker.

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If manually managing all these requirements seems too much, you might consider automating the process, like many of our clients have done, by transitioning to KeyPay cloud payroll

Our team can assist you in shifting from a manual to a cloud system seamlessly.

Here’s how KeyPay cloud payroll works:

    • Time and Attendance
      Employees clock their time using NoahFace time and attendance software that syncs all data with KeyPay's cloud payroll software.
    • Live Timesheet Approval
      No more manually entries or paper timesheet approvals. Supervisors and managers approve time and attendance on the go directly on KeyPay.
    • Automated Modern Awards Compliance
      KeyPay’s pre-built modern Awards make it easy for payroll managers to pay staff correctly, each and every pay run.
    • Automated Payslips
      Create and customise Fair Work compliant payslips that can be easily accessed in the KeyPay cloud.
    • Payroll Complete In Under an Hour with KeyPay
      Never get it wrong. No back pay calculations. No inefficient manual interpretation. No data re-entry. Stress-free paydays that take less than an hour to complete!

If you’re interested in moving from a manual payroll system to KeyPay, get in touch with us today for a free demo.

 

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