Queensland businesses are being urged to seek advice and check records of current and former employees after a major Federal Court decision on the wages of apprentices in Queensland. 

What changes are coming?

A recent Federal Court case about apprentice pay could result in many employers having to back pay apprentices.

On Monday the 27th of November, the Federal Court in Brisbane dismissed claims from All Trades Queensland, Master Builders Queensland, and the Housing Industry Association that apprentices in the State should continue to be covered by a range of state-based agreements rather than the federal modern award. This is contrary to the advice given by the Fair Work Ombudsman to Queensland businesses.

This decision could apply to apprentices who were/are covered by a State-based award who work in the following industries:

  • Cookery
  • Auto
  • Manufacturing
  • Electrical
  • Hairdressing
  • Carpentry
  • Other industries

Click here to read the entire Federal Court decision.

This decision means employers may now be considered to have underpaid first and second year apprentices and will have to pay back the difference regarding entitlements owed between 2014 and today.

Advice to date is that businesses should do their due diligence and assess the potential backpay that could apply to past and current employees in your business and be ready for claims.

The decision is a harsh reminder that workplace law is not static and business owners must be continuously vigilant in understanding changes to their obligations on entitlements, award rates and records.

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