Timetable set for Real Estate Industry Award review

Timetable set for Real Estate Industry Award review

Over the last 18 months, a lot has been written and discussed in relation to the statutory four-year review of our Real Estate Industry Award. At long last, the review is scheduled to reach a conclusion in November 2016.

As previously explained, there are several applications from the real estate unions that seek to introduce major changes to the set of employment conditions under the Real Estate Industry Award. The key matters that the Fair Work Commission will now be asked to determine are:

  1. Whether the minimum rates of pay for all classifications under the Award should be increased on "work value" grounds. If the application by the South Australian union succeeds, the minimum base rate of pay for a real estate salesperson will increase by around $65 per week.
  2. Whether the debit-credit commission system should be allowed to continue in its current unrestricted form. The South Australian union is attempting to significantly restrict its operation and limit the items that can be debited under the arrangement.
  3. Whether the commission-only arrangement should be underpinned with a safety net in the event the salesperson does not earn by way of commission on sales at least the amount that would have been received had the employee been employed as a salaried salesperson. The Australian Property Services Association's application will effectively spell the end of commission-only employment, except in extraordinary circumstances.

These matters will now be reviewed by the Fair Work Commission over four days of hearing from 21-24 November 2016. The timetable set by the Commission includes the filing of evidence and witness statement by 27 July 2016 from any party seeking a substantive change to the Award. A party opposing the proposed change(s) must file its evidence and witness statements by 28 September 2016.

How REEF responds to the above applications for change will very much depend on the evidence that the unions produce.

A united front from employer groups

REEF and Victorian employers have decided to jointly brief a well-respected Barrister to present the best possible defense to the unions' claims. It may be that the industry employer organisations in Queensland and South Australia will also join this brief. The costs associated with legal representation in this case will be significant, but as this review presents the most significant industrial threat to the industry since the 1960s, the best possible representation is considered crucial if a successful outcome is to be achieved on behalf of our members.

As this matter moves towards a conclusion, we will keep members informed of developments and, in particular, any evidentiary support that we may need from you to support our opposition to the unions' claims.

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About REEF

The Real Estate Employers' Federation is the real estate industry’s leading not-for-profit employer and workplace relations advisory association. It has more than 1600 members and subscribers across Australia.

Each year, REEF receives more than 20,000 calls from real estate employers needing help and guidance on matters affecting the employment relationship.

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