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Real Estate Industry Award review gets serious

One subject that seems to have been a continual focus of attention for the past 18 months is the review of the Real Estate Industry Award by the Fair Work Commission. This is a statutory review that must take place every four years.

As reported previously, there are a number of applications to change certain provisions in the Award. These applications will be heard before a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission. The Commission will, based on evidence presented at the hearing, then decide the industrial future of our industry. The most contentious issues that the Fair Work Commission will have to consider are:

  • increases to the minimum rates of pay for all Award classifications;
  • the abolition of the debit-credit commission system;
  • the underpinning of commission-only employment with a minimum salary safety net; and
  • the ability for commission-only employees to be engaged as casuals.

The above matters have been detailed in previous articles and have been the subject of discussion at our annual member presentations.

It seems that finally we are approaching the serious stage of the Award review process. The Full Bench that will ultimately determine the industrial future of our industry has now been established. The first conference before the head of the Full Bench was on 19 May 2016. This was a programming exercise to agree on dates for the presentation of evidence and hearing submissions on the issues in dispute.

Once we have a better understanding of the timetable for the Fair Work Commission’s management of our Award review process, we will determine what evidence REEF should bring in an attempt to rebut the claims by the unions as well as support its own claim for casual commission-only employment.

The remainder of 2016 is certainly shaping up as a challenging time as the outcome of the review will clearly be a watershed event for our industry.

We will keep you informed as this most important process intensifies throughout the year!