Department of Justice

Tasmanian Industrial Commission
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Principles - 2004





These Principles, to be observed in the jurisdiction of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission, are intended to provide criteria and guidance to the parties in relation to claims for changes to wages and conditions of employment.


Increases available under previous State Wage Case decisions relating to structural efficiency adjustments, minimum rates adjustments and safety net adjustments will, on application, continue to be accessible. Such applications will be determined using the relevant principles contained in those decisions, notwithstanding that all earlier statements of principle are otherwise set aside.

The spacing of increases to awards determined by previous State Wage Case decisions may be determined by agreement between the parties to any particular award or failing agreement by decision of the Commission.


The Commission will continue to play an active role in encouraging and facilitating workplace bargaining. In that regard, in the exercise of its statutory responsibilities pursuant to Section 36 of the Industrial Relations Act 1984, the Commission will act to ensure that the proposed award or agreement does not result in a reduction in ordinary time earnings, or departure from parental leave standards or hours of work or annual leave with pay, and the agreement or award, taken as a whole, will not disadvantage the employees concerned unless the Commission is satisfied that circumstances justify otherwise.

For the above purpose, "disadvantage the employees concerned" means by reference to the safety net of wages and conditions of employment as detailed in Principle 4-The Award Safety Net.


Existing wages and conditions in the relevant award or awards of the Commission shall constitute the safety net underpinning workplace bargaining.

The award safety net may, on application be reviewed and adjusted from time to time to ensure its relevance. Generally the detailed nature and timing of any adjustments will be determined in the context of specific applications and in the light of prevailing economic, social and industrial circumstances.


5.1 All wage rates in awards, including junior, apprentice and trainee rates (on a proportionate basis) may be varied from time to time to include arbitrated safety net adjustments in accordance with determinations of this Commission.

5.2 The amount of any arbitrated safety net adjustment is to be reduced to the extent of any over award payment currently being paid by an employer.

5.3 The safety net adjustment will only be available where the rates in the award have not been increased, other than by safety net adjustments, or as a result of the Minimum Rates Adjustment or Work Value Changes Principles, since November 1991.


6.1 Arbitrated safety net adjustments shall be shown as a separate amount against each classification in the award.

6.2 Where the minimum rates adjustment process has been completed in an award the Commission may on application determine to combine the base rate and the supplementary payment into an award rate. The arbitrated safety net adjustment shall continue to be expressed as a separate amount to protect the integrity of the relativities established in the structural efficiency process.

6.3 Where the minimum rates adjustment process has not been completed, the safety net adjustment may be taken into account in determining the size and phasing in of a minimum rates adjustment.

6.4 By consent of all parties to an award, where the minimum rates adjustment process has been completed, the weekly award rates may be expressed as hourly rates as well as weekly rates. In the absence of consent, a claim that award rates be so expressed may be determined by the Commission.


In accordance with the July 2004 State Wage Case Decision (T11548 of 2004) awards will, subject to the conditions specified in the July 2002 State Wage Case Decision (T10230 of 2002), be varied to provide for a minimum wage for full-time adult employees of $467.40 per week and, for junior, part-time and casual employees, proportionate amounts subject to the following:

(a) The operative date will be no earlier than the date of the variation to the award.

    (b) The minimum wage is to be provided for in a separate clause.

    (c) The separate clause referred to in (b) shall be as follows:

      "--. MINIMUM WAGE

      (a) Minimum Wage

      No employee shall be paid less than the minimum wage.

      (b) Amount of Adult Minimum Wage

        (i) The minimum wage for full-time adult employees not covered by Clause/subclause ...(specify) Supported Wage System is $467.40 per week.

        (ii) Adults employed under a supported wage system clause shall continue to be entitled to receive the wage rate determined under that clause. Provided that such employees shall not be paid less than the amount determined by applying the percentage in the supported wage system clause applicable to the employee concerned to the amount of the minimum wage specified in subclause (b)(i)

        (iii) Adults employed as part-time or casual employees shall continue to be entitled to receive the wage rate determined under the casual and part-time clauses of the award. Provided that such employees shall not be paid less than pro rata the minimum wage specified in subclause (b)(i) according to the number of hours worked.

      (c) How the Minimum Wage Applies to Juniors

        (i) The wage rates provided for juniors by this award continue to apply unless the amount determined under subclause (c)(ii) is greater.

        (ii) The minimum wage for an employee to whom a junior rate of pay applies is determined by applying the percentage in the junior wage rates clause applicable to the employee concerned to the relevant amount in subclause (b)(i)

      (d) Application of Minimum Wage to Certain Employees

        Due to existing applicable award wage rates being greater than the relevant proportionate minimum wage, this clause will not apply to employees falling within the scope of the National Training Wage (Tasmanian Private sector) Award and Trainees undertaking an apprenticeship.

      (e) Application of Minimum Wage to Award Rates Calculation

        The minimum wage:

        (i) applies to all work in ordinary hours;

        (ii) applies to the calculation of overtime and all other penalty rates, superannuation, payments during sick leave, long service leave and annual leave, and for all other purposes of this award; and

        (iii) is inclusive of the arbitrated safety net adjustment provided by the July 2004 State Wage Case Decision (T.11548 of 2004) and all previous safety net and state wage case adjustments."


8.1 Existing Allowances

8.1.1 Existing allowances which constitute a reimbursement of expenses may be adjusted from time to time where appropriate to reflect the relevant change in the level of such expenses.

8.1.2 In circumstances where the Commission has determined that it is appropriate to adjust existing allowances relating to work or conditions which have not changed and service increments for a monetary safety net increase, such allowances and service increments shall be increased by a percentage derived as follows: divide the monetary safety net increase by the weekly wage rate for Wage Group Level 10 -Metal and Engineering Industry Award immediately prior to the application of the safety net increase to the award and multiply by 100.

8.1.3 Existing allowances of the type referred to in 8.1.2 for which an increase is claimed because of changes in the work or conditions will be determined in accordance with the relevant provisions of the work value changes principle.

8.2 New Allowances

8.2.1 New allowances to compensate for the reimbursement of expenses incurred may be awarded where appropriate having regard to such expenses.

8.2.2 No other allowances may be created unless justified by changes in work, new work or conditions and only if justified under the relevant principle. The relevant principle may be either the work value changes or first awards and extensions to existing awards principles.

8.2.3 New service increments may only be awarded to compensate for changes in the work and/or conditions and will be determined in accordance with the relevant parts of the work value changes provisions of these Principles.


9.1 Changes in work value may arise from changes in the nature of the work, skill and responsibility required or the conditions under which work is performed. Changes in work by themselves may not lead to a change in wage rates. The strict test for an alteration in wage rates is that the change in the nature of the work should constitute such a significant net addition to work requirements as to warrant the creation of a new classification or upgrading to a higher classification.

These are the only circumstances in which rates may be altered on the ground of work value and the altered rates may be applied only to employees whose work has changed in accordance with this principle.

9.2 Where new or changed work justifying a higher rate is performed only from time to time by persons covered by a particular classification or where it is performed only by some of the persons covered by the classification, such new or changed work should be compensated by a special allowance which is payable only when the new or changed work is performed by a particular employee and not by increasing the rate for the classification as a whole.

9.3 The time from which work value changes in an award should be measured is, unless extraordinary circumstances can be demonstrated, the date of operation of the second structural efficiency adjustment allowable under the 30 October 1989 State Wage Case decision, or the date of any increase awarded in accordance with this principle since that date.

9.4 Care should be exercised to ensure that changes which were or should have been taken into account in any previous work value adjustments or in a structural efficiency exercise are not included in any work evaluation under this principle.

9.5 Where a significant net alteration to work value has been established in accordance with the principle, an assessment will have to be made as to how that alteration should be measured in money terms. Such assessment should normally be based on the previous work requirements, the wage previously fixed for the work and the nature and extent of the change in work. However the Commission will also take account of the relativities and the integrity of the internal award classification structures and the external classifications to which that structure is related.

9.6 The expression "the conditions under which work is performed" relates to the environment in which the work is done.

9.7 The Commission should guard against contrived classifications and overclassification of jobs.

9.8 the conditions under which the work is performed, taken into account in assessing an increase under any other principle, shall not be taken into account in any claim under this principle.


10.1 In this Principle 'pay equity' means equal remuneration for men and women doing work of equal value.

10.2 Applications may be made for making or varying an award in order to implement pay equity. Such applications will be dealt with according to this principle.

10.3 Pay equity applications will require an assessment of the value of work performed in the industry or occupation the subject of the application, irrespective of the gender of the relevant worker. The requirement is to ascertain the value of the work rather than whether there have been changes in the value of the work. The Commission may take into account the nature of the work, the skill, responsibility and qualifications required by the work and the conditions under which the work is performed (which has the same meaning as it does for Principle 9 - Work Value Changes).

10.4 A prior assessment by the Commission (or its predecessors) of the value of the work the subject of the application, and/or the prior setting of rates for such work, does not mean that it shall be presumed that the rates of pay applying to the work are unaffected by the gender of the relevant employees. The history of the establishment of rates in the award the subject of the application will be a consideration. The Commission shall broadly assess whether the past valuation of the work has been affected by the gender of the workers.

10.5 The operation of this principle is not restricted by the operation of other wage fixing principles. However, in approaching its task, the Commission will have regard to the public interest requirements of Section 36 of the Act.


The following criteria shall apply to the making of a first award and/or an extension to an existing award:

11.1 In making a first award the long established principles shall apply. That is, prima facie, the main consideration shall be the existing rates and conditions. Other considerations will be that the award meets the needs of the particular industry or enterprise and ensures that employees' interests are also taken into account.

11.2 In the extension of an existing award to new work or to award-free work the rates applicable to such work will be assessed by reference to the value of the work already covered by the award.


In approving any application to reduce standard hours to 38 per week, the Commission should satisfy itself that the cost impact is minimised. A reduction in standard hours below 38, or an increase in standard hours up to 38, will be approved only in circumstances where the parties demonstrate their consent.


13.1 The Commission requires that each award is to be reviewed to ensure:

(i) consistent award formatting;

(ii) removal of discriminatory provisions;

(iii) removal of obsolete or amendment of inaccurate award provisions;

(iv) updating Clause 6-Parties and Persons Bound (Award Interest);

(v) the award is written in plain English;

(vi) inclusion of appropriate facilitative provisions;

(vii) the inclusion of an appropriate enterprise flexibility clause.

13.2 The Commission will convene conferences of parties to each award to receive reports on the award review process and to assist in the development of timetables including where relevant a timetable to finalise the review by conciliation and/or arbitration.


Any registered organisation with an interest in an award may apply on behalf of an employer or group of employers to temporarily reduce or postpone or phase in the application of any increase in labour costs under the Principles on the grounds of very serious or extreme economic adversity. The merit of such application will be determined in the light of the particular circumstances of each case and any material relating thereto shall be rigorously tested. The impact on employment at the enterprise level of the increase in labour costs is a significant factor to be taken into account in assessing the merit of any application.