Pastoral Award 2020 (updated June 2023)
- Hours of work
- Requests for flexible working arrangements
- Consultation about changes to regular rosters
- UPDATED JUNE 2023: Classifications and pay rates
- Public holidays
- UPDATED DECEMBER 2021: Annual leave
- Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave
- Family and domestic violence leave
- Meal breaks and rest breaks
- Notice of termination
- UPDATED JULY 2023: Annualised salaries
- Individual flexibility agreements
- Transitional arrangements
As of 1 January 2010, the only federal award which applies to the dairy industry is federal Pastoral Award 2020 and its predecessor in 2010.
If your business is in Western Australia and you are a Sole Trader or Partnership, the federal industrial laws do not apply to you, nor does the Pastoral Award 2020. You are called a ‘non-national employer system’.
All non-national system dairy farmers in Western Australia are award free.
There must be a copy of the award at the workplace
The Pastoral Award 2020 requires employers to keep a copy of the award on a noticeboard at or near the workplace or electronically, whichever is more easily accessible by employees.
Under the Pastoral Award 2020 ordinary hours are 152 hours worked over a four-week period. Ordinary hours for casuals are the same as for full-time employees. Ordinary hours for part time employees are the hours agreed to when the employment commenced.
There are minimum hours of work for all part-time and casual employees.
For part-time employees the award specifies that the employer must roster the employee for a minimum of 3 hours and 2 hours for full time secondary school students who are 18 years of age or under on any shift. For casual employees the award specifies that on each occasion the casual employee attends for work they are entitled to a minimum payment of 3 hours work or 2 hours for full time secondary school students who are 18 years of age or under – read this briefing note for more information.
Ordinary hours and leave
Once the 152 hours have been worked, overtime is remunerated at the rate of time and a half for all hours worked with double time being paid for any work done on Sundays. Feeding and watering stock on Sundays is paid at the rate of time and one half. Milking is not regarded as ‘feeding and watering stock’.
Overtime for casual employees is calculated the same way as for permanent employees. That is, overtime is not payable until 152 hours have been worked in a 4-week period regardless of the day the work is performed.
Part-time employees must be paid overtime rates for all work performed in excess of the agreed part-time hours.
Download: Overtime & Ordinary hours fact sheet which includes 2 example rosters and see how overtime can apply over a 4 week period.
See the tip below – Public Holiday: Calculation of penalty rates for casual employees.
Time Off Instead of Overtime (previously time off in lieu – TOIL- or ‘banked hours’). The Award provisions about TOIL changed substantially as of the first pay period on or after
27 November 2017.
As of the first pay period on or after 27 November 2017, the following applies:
- A formal written ‘Agreement’ must be entered into if employers wish to take advantage of provisions in the award relating to time off
instead of being paid for overtime worked (TOIL) – download Schedule E template (from Pastoral Award 2020)
- The ‘Agreement’ must be kept as an employee record.
- All ‘Agreements’ to provide time off instead of payment for overtime must specify as follows:–
- That the employer and the employee agree that the employee may take time off instead of being paid for overtime;
- That all time off must be taken within 6 months of the overtime being worked at times agreed to by the employer and the employee;
- That if time off is not taken within 6 months of the overtime being worked, the employer must pay the employee, in the next pay period for the accrued hours at the rate that applied at the time the overtime
was worked unless the employer has agreed to pay out the accrued overtime earlier;
- That the ‘Agreement’ can be terminated by either the employer or the employee at any time by notice in writing;
- That overtime worked after the ‘Agreement’ is terminated will be paid at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked.
- The period of time that the employee is entitled to take off work is equal to the number of hours worked or ‘hour for hour’ – (not overtime rates);
- Accrued overtime paid out on termination of employment must be paid at the overtime rates which applied at the time the overtime was worked – not hour for hour.
- Employers MUST keep records of:
- the number of overtime hours worked;
- when those hours were worked, and
- an updated record of the employee’s overtime balance (banked hours);
- Employers must not exert undue influence or pressure on an employee to make or not to make an agreement to take time off instead of overtime.
NOTE 1: This decision and the variation to the award underline the importance of keeping accurate records of hours worked. In particular, it will be important to record which hours attract the double time penalty for Sunday work which only applies once 152 hours have been worked in a 4-week period.
The Pastoral Award 2020 provides a pro forma “Agreement” in Schedule E at the end of the award – download Schedule E template (from Pastoral Award 2020)
Whilst it is not essential that the pro forma ‘Agreement’ be used, (the Award provides that an exchange of emails or other electronic means can be used instead) it is strongly recommended that employers make an electronic version of the Schedule E and use it to ensure compliance.
Read more about requests for flexible working arrangements
Clause 27 of the Pastoral Award 2020 requires employers to consult with employees when they propose to change regular rosters or ordinary hours of work.
The requirement to consult does not apply to employees who have irregular sporadic or unpredictable hours of work.
The consultation must provide the affected employee(s) with a genuine opportunity to attempt to persuade the employer to adopt a different course of action.
The employer must provide the affected employee(s) and if relevant, any union representative, with information about the proposed change, for example, details about the proposed change and when the proposed change is to begin.
The employer must ask the affected employee(s) for their views about the proposed change and the impact of the change on them including any impact on family responsibilities.
The employer must then consider the views expressed by the employee(s) before a decision is made to implement the changes.
The federal Pastoral Award 2020 creates five separate classifications for dairy farm employees with different rates of pay for each classification. The classifications reflect the experience and skills of employees or the tasks they perform.
The classifications are:
- dairy operator grade 1A (farm and livestock hand level 1 – FLH1)
- dairy operator grade 1B (farm and livestock hand level 3 – FLH3)
- dairy operator grade 2 (farm and livestock hand level 5 – FLH5)
- senior dairy operator grade 1 (farm and livestock hand level 7 – FLH7)
- senior dairy operator grade 2 (farm and livestock hand level 8 – FLH8)
UPDATED June 2023: Determining employee classifications and pay rates
The Fair Work Commission has announced a 5.75% increase to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) following its 2023 Annual Wage Review which applies from the first pay period that starts on or after 1 July 2023.
For pay rates for trainees, see Miscellaneous Award – Schedule E – rates apply from 1 July 2023.
Public holidays are provided for in the National Employment Standards (NES)
In addition to the NES, the Pastoral Award 2020 provides for farm and livestock hands to receive double time if they work on a public holiday.
If a public holiday falls when an employee is on annual leave, the employee is taken not to be on paid annual leave on that day. Instead the NES about public holidays will apply and the employee will be entitled to be paid for the public holiday at the employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours of work
Calculation of penalty rates for casual employees
- Penalty rates for casual employees are calculated on the ordinary time rate, not the loaded casual rate.
- This means that the calculation for casual employees working public holidays is as follows: (2 x ordinary time rate) + (25% x ordinary time rate)
Substitution of other days
The Pastoral Award 2020 allows for employers and individual employees or employers and the majority of employees to agree to substitute an alternative day for the public holiday.
Pay the correct rate on public holidays
Only one penalty applies at the one time. If a public holiday falls when an employee is on overtime – you pay the public holiday rate (200%) on the base rate, not the overtime rate.
Annual leave is provided for in the National Employment Standards
The Pastoral Award 2020 provides for the employee to be paid the wages they would have received for ordinary hours had they not been on annual leave. The Pastoral Award 2020 also provides for annual leave payment to be made before the employee goes on leave.
Annual leave loading
In addition to the NES the Pastoral Award 2020 provides for payment of a 17.5% annual leave loading for all annual leave which is taken as leave or paid out upon termination of employment.
Excessive leave – Request by employees for leave – Pastoral Award employees
Terms about excessive leave in the Pastoral Award 2020 changed as of 29 July 2017.
Accrued annual leave is regarded as ‘excessive’ if more than eight weeks’ paid annual leave has accrued.
If employees have accrued excessive paid annual leave, the employer and the employee can discuss ways to reduce the amount of leave owing.
If after making a genuine attempt to reach agreement, the employer and the employee cannot reach agreement as to when this leave should be taken and;
- the excessive leave has been accrued for more than 6 months; and
- the employee has not already been directed by the employer to take the leave;
The employee can give a written notice to the employer requiring the employer to grant one or more periods of paid annual leave and the employer must grant the leave.
The notice must not provide for the employee to take a period of less than one week’s leave and the employee must retain a balance of at least six weeks’ paid annual leave.
The employee must give the employer at least eight weeks’ and not more than 12 months’ notice of the intention to take the leave.
In addition, the employee can only request a maximum of 4 weeks’ paid annual leave from the excessive leave balance in any 12 month period
Directing employees to take annual leave – Pastoral Award employees
Terms about excessive leave in the Pastoral Award 2020 changed as of 29 July 2017.
Accrued annual leave is regarded as ‘excessive’ if more than eight weeks’ annual leave has accrued
If employees have accrued excessive annual leave, the employer and the employee can discuss ways to reduce the amount of leave owing.
If the employer and the employee cannot reach agreement, the employer can direct the employee to take one or more periods of paid annual leave.
Before directing the employee to take paid annual leave, the employer and the employee must have genuinely tried to reach agreement about the taking of the leave.
Employers must give employees at least eight weeks’ and not more than 12 months’ notice of the requirement to take the leave.
The direction to take the paid annual leave must not require the employee to take a period of less than one week’s leave and the employee must retain at least six weeks’ paid annual leave.
The above procedures only relate to the taking of “excessive leave” (when an employee has accrued more than 8 weeks’ paid annual leave) and where employers and employees cannot reach an agreement about how the leave should be taken.
Remember that the National Employment Standards (NES) provide that employers cannot unreasonably refuse to agree to an employee taking paid annual leave. This applies even if the employee’s leave balance will be reduced below 6 weeks.
Annual leave in advance – Pastoral Award employees
As of 29 July 2016, agreements for Pastoral Award 2020 employees to take annual leave in advance of it accruing must be in writing.
The agreement must state the amount of leave to be taken in advance and the date of its commencement.
Both the employer and the employee must sign the agreement and If the employee is under 18 years of age a parent or guardian must also sign the agreement.
Use this template for an agreement to take annual leave in advance. This agreement must be kept with the employee’s employment records.
If the employment is terminated before the employee has accrued an entitlement to the amount of the leave taken in advance, the employer can deduct the amount owing from the employee’s termination pay.
Cashing out of annual leave – Pastoral Award employees
As of 29 July 2016, employers and employees covered by the Pastoral Award 2020 can agree in writing to cash out annual leave. Each agreement to cash out annual leave must be in writing and the payment must be for the full amount that the employee would have been paid if the employee had taken the leave. A separate agreement is required each time annual leave is cashed out.
Use this template for cashing out of annual leave for Pastoral Award Employees. This agreement must be kept with the employee’s employment records.
Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave are a part of the National Employment Standards
Family and Domestic Violence Leave is part of the National Employment Standards
Read: Employer guide to family and domestic violence (Fair Work Ombudsman)
Under the Fair Work laws meal breaks and rest breaks are an award requirement.
The Pastoral Award 2020 provides for:
- – An unpaid meal break of not less than 30 minutes and not more than one hour to be taken not later than 5 hours after commencement of work. All work performed on the instruction of the employer during a recognised meal break must be paid at double time rates with the payment continuing until the employee receives the meal break.
- – A paid rest break of at least 10 minutes each morning.
The employer and the individual employee can agree that the meal break be taken at another time. If employers and employees agree, a further unpaid rest break can be taken in the afternoon.
Award-free employees should also be provided with rest breaks as part of an appropriate occupational heath and safety system in the workplace. It is suggested that the award provisions outlined above should also be applied for non-award employees.
The National Employment Standards provide for notice of termination.
In addition to the NES, the Pastoral Award 2020 provides for employees to give the same amount of notice as employers. Notice by employers and employees must be in writing. Employers can deduct up to one week’s wages from employees aged 18 years or over for failure to give notice.
Read about employee notice (inc. paying out notice)
Job search entitlement
Where an employer has given an employee notice of termination, the employee is entitled to take one day off without loss of pay to look for other work. The employee can take the day off at a time when it is convenient to the employee after consultation with the employer.
Employers and employees may agree in writing for the employee to be paid an annualised wage or a salary instead of being paid an hourly rate.
This is similar to the IFA and may be useful for farmers provided they keep excellent time records.
The annualised wage can take into account any or all of the following:
- Minimum weekly wages
- Allowances and special allowances
- Hours of work and rostering
- Penalty rates
- Annual leave loading
- Payment for public holidays
The annualised salary must be no less than the amount the employee would have received under the award for the work performed over the year of the Agreement – or less if the employment is terminated before a year.
This is similar to the BOOT test for an IFA.
Annualised salary resources and information
Download: annualised salary flat rate calculator can be used to calculate the salary to ensure that the employee is not disadvantaged.
Download: annualised salaries fact sheet for further information about annualised salaries and how you might use them in your business.
Download: full time/permanent employment contract template for employees on annualised salaries which also contains details about the legal requirements for annualised salaries.
Every modern Award must include a ‘flexibility term’ which enables employers and employees to agree to vary the effect of some award terms and put in place conditions of work which are tailor-made to suit the needs of their business and their employees. This is called an Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA).
Because IFAs stand in the place of the award terms which they modify, employers cannot be liable in the future for payment of those award entitlements.
The Fair Work Act ensures these arrangements do not undermine minimum employee entitlements by requiring the employer to ensure the employee covered by the IFA is ‘better off overall’ on the IFA compared to the modern award. Read more about IFAs.