Coverage of the Miscellaneous Award widened to cover some award-free employees

By Chloe Wilton
Employment & Safety

Industry exemption changes to the Miscellaneous Award 2 min read

From 1 July 2020, the Miscellaneous Award will cover a wide range of low-skilled and trade-qualified employees who were previously award-free.1

How does it affect you

  • If any of your employees perform low-skilled or trade-qualified work and you treat them as award-free, those employees may now be covered by the Miscellaneous Award (Award).
  • Employees covered by the Award may be entitled to benefits, including overtime, penalty rates, annual leave loading and certain allowances.


Currently, the Award contains an 'industry exemption'. This means the Award does not cover employees:

  • in an industry covered by a modern award who are not within a classification in that modern award; or
  • in a class exempted by a modern award from its operation.

From 1 July 2020, the industry exemption will be removed. This means that if an employee was previously caught by the industry exemption, the Award will generally apply to them, provided they fall within one of the classifications in the Award. These classifications are very general and cover low-skilled and trade-qualified work of a non-managerial, non-professional nature.

For example, the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 does not contain a classification for security guards. This means that if a building and construction business employs a security guard to watch over a work site in non-working hours, the security guard is currently award-free because of the industry exemption. However, from 1 July 2020 it is likely that the security guard will be covered by the Award.


Employees who are covered by the Award may be entitled to the following entitlements under it:

  • minimum wages of between $740.80 and $941.10 per week;
  • penalty rates for hours worked outside 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday and on weekends and public holidays;
  • payment of overtime rates or time off in lieu of payment for overtime;
  • annual leave loading; and
  • allowances such as leading hand/in charge, first aid, meal and vehicle allowances.


  1. Fair Work Commission 4 yearly review of modern awards – Miscellaneous Award 2010 (AM2014/237), 25 March 2020.