Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 12 – Minimum conditions of employment

What are the minimum conditions of employment that you should expect to receive, either through ourselves or through other employment agencies or other organisations if you are offered permanent employment?

In this issue…
We will be looking at:
• Minimum Rates of Pay
• Calculating Contractors Rates of Pay
• Superannuation
• A Thought to Ponder.

Minimum Rates of Pay
The Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 sets out the minimum conditions regarding a number of key issues, including how much money can you expect to receive when you start work, or change jobs.

The minimum rates of pay are based on employees working a 38-hour week.  The adult rate of pay is currently $448.40 per week (from 5th June 2003).

Junior rates of pay per week are as follows:
Under 16 years   $179.40
16 years   $224.20
17 years   $269.10
18 years   $313.90
19 years   $358.80
20 years   $403.60

Both adult and junior rates of pay are subject to an annual review.

Casual and part-time employees are entitled to an hourly rate not less than the minimum rate of pay divided by 38.  However, casual

and contract employees are also entitled to an additional loading of 20% in lieu of paid leave entitlement (annual leave, sick leave, bereavement leave and public holidays).

Calculating Contractors Rates of Pay

As an employment agency we are bound by large numbers of legislation that determine what we can and cannot do when placing you into fixed-term contract positions of employment.  Whilst we are aware of the minimum rates of pay for employees, our calculations for rates of pay is not based on how little we need to pay you, nor your age (if under 20), but a combination of what the job entails, the experience of the person, the equivalent rate and grade of pay for government placements as well as any enterprise bargaining agreements that are in place.  We also look to the ALIA pay awards and the RMAA for guidance in determining the amount of money that you can earn for any particular position.

Just to give you an idea of what we have to take into consideration when calculating your rate of pay, we will have a look at the Clerk’s (Commercial, Social & Professional Services) Award 2003.  This is classified into 3 separate grades and each grade is then sub-divided into a number of experience levels, hence the range in the hourly pay rates for each grade.  Each grade is paid at 25% above the similar permanent position to compensate for the lack of annual leave, sick leave and public holiday entitlements.

Grade 1: $15.85 – $16.68 (Casual hourly rate)
Grade 2: $17.03 – $17.36 (Casual hourly rate)
Grade 3: $17.61 – $17.84 (Casual hourly rate)
All figures are correct as at 5 June 2003.

Duties: Grade 1:
• Operate telephone switch and general office related machinery (fax etc)
• Basic computer skills on menu drive options
• Internal and external mail and document distribution
• Prepare and collate documents and taking telephone messages
• Working with established filing/records systems to transcribe information, sort and file documents
• Maintain mail register and records
• Acquire and apply limited knowledge of office procedures
• Sort, process and record financial documents (invoices, cheques) on a daily basis.

Duties: Grade 2:
• Telephone PABX Switchboard
• Manipulate previously created databases/spreadsheets
• Calculate alpha-numeric data to generate routine reports
• Produce documents using standard formats at 25wpm and 98% accuracy.
• Produce routine documents using keyboard skills within designated time frames
• Working with established filing/records systems and create and maintain files within the organisation.
• Acquire and apply a working knowledge of office procedures and the organisations structure and personnel to respond to direct inquiries.
• Assist in the maintenance of financial records and journals
• Maintain record petty cash, bank deposits and withdrawals
• Check time and wage records

Duties: Grade 3:
• Operate radio-telephone, Dictaphone or similar complex equipment
• Use one or more software applications to operate or populate a database, spreadsheet or worksheet, create, edit, spell check, print and save documents
• Apply additional functions such as search and replace, variable fonts and document merging
• Accurately produce documents and correspondence using knowledge of standard formats
• Touch or audio type within established procedures
• Copy type at 40wpm and 98% accuracy
• Oversee record management systems including review and analysis
• Apply working knowledge of the organisations products, services and clients to respond to internal and external functions
• Maintain financial records and journals, payroll records and prepare accounts for payment
• Take shorthand at 80wpm and transcribe with 98% accuracy
• Arrange travel bookings and itineraries

Recent changes to legislation means that all employers must now make quarterly contributions to the superannuation funds of its employees and contractors, rather than the annual contribution they used to make.  At Information Enterprises we have always made quarterly contributions to your superannuation funds, meaning you have always gained the benefit from having the money in your account rather than ours.  Thankfully the government have finally caught up with us on this regard so everyone will now gain the benefit from this.  However, there are still some areas for concern regarding Superannuation.

As most of you will know – the Federal Government’s Superannuation Guarantee Levy Act requires all employers (including companies) must make a 9% superannuation contribution to an approved fund for most employees.  But they only have to do this if they have earned more than $450.00 in a single month. Source Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 5 June 2003 (last updated).

So what happens if you earn less than $450.00 per month? Well to be honest, most employers do not feel that they actually need to contribute the 9% superannuation to your fund if you do not earn the minimum amount. Legally they don’t have to do it, so they don’t.  This is a major concern for those of you who are studying full time and supplementing your income with some casual work, or if you have school age children who are embarking on their first paying jobs.  If you are unsure which superannuation fund your employer or employment agency is sending your contributions too, then you should ask to speak to someone in HR.  After all, you have the right to choose which fund your monies are paid into.

For those of you who have worked on fixed-term contract through IEA, regardless of the length of time, and the amount of money you earn during that period, you will be pleased to know that IEA still makes quarterly superannuation contributions to a fund of your choice.  Yes the amounts may be small, but they soon add up.

A Thought to Ponder
“The Only thing worse than not reading a book in the last ninety days is not reading a book in the last ninety days and thinking that it doesn’t matter.”
Jim Rohn