Security industry award for security companies services and event and alarm systems fair work pay rates and equipment.
The award modernisation process replaced some 1560 State and federal awards covering 93 industries and occupations with 122 modern awards. The Security Services Industry Award 2010 (SSIA) is one of these awards and sets award pay rates and working conditions for Security Guards and monitoring personnel from 1 January 2010.
New and existing businesses have to comply with this award system, as well as the National Employment Standards (NES). The Security Services Industry Award does not cover security employees engaged primarily and substantially on Cash in Transit work nor will it cover Alarm, Access Control or CCTV systems installers. These groups will have their own national awards.
The Security Services Industry Award is based on the NES. The NES is the minimum conditions for all employment and the SSIA builds on the NES with conditions particular to the Security Industry.
Be aware there are two different types of agreements, the Employee Collective Agreement which were made during the Workchoice era before Jan 2010 and the Enterprise Bargaing Agreement made after Jan 2010. Employee Collective Agreements still exist and although many have expired they have not been terminated. This means they still remain in force.
These agreements have pay and conditions which were definately sub standard. They can only be terminated by parties to the agreement and since they favour the employer, the only party interested in terminating them is the employee group. Since these employee groups are not unionized, there is no imputus to terminate them.
Since the Security Services Industry Award 2010 came into existence, there has a high rate of Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA) being approved by the Fair Work Commission. In most cases these agreements have pay and conditions below that which is in the SSIA. To understand how an EBA is bargained for go to the Bargaining page.
The reason for EBAs being below the award standard is a complicated situation and shows how corrupted the system has become. Most security workplaces do not have any legitimate union representation. This means that when the employer is prepared to propose an EBA, there is no one who is skilled enough to bargain for the workforce.
The Fair Work Act 2009 states that there must be an employee representative who is elected by the employees, who bargains with management for better pay and conditions. The problem here is that very few security workers understand the bargaining process. The unscrupulous security companies, and there are many of them, appoint an employee representative without asking the employees to elect one.
This can be seen in approved EBAs that are published on the Fair Work Commission web site where employee representatives are usually supervisors. This pre-supposes that these employee representatives have the employer's interests at heart and will adhere to the employer's wishes.
The next process in this charade is to go through the bargaining process and reveal to the workforce, a proposed EBA which has been agreed between the employee representative and the employer. In truth, nothing has been bargained for and the pay and working conditions contained in the EBA are totally in the employer's favour.
The next process is the employees voting to accept the EBA. This is usually done with a secret vote and the result is confirmed by the employee representative and the employer. The results are not checked by a third party to confirm the legitimacy of the vote. The vote will invariably favour passing the EBA. The EBA now is ready for the Fair Work Commission to approve.
The employer and employee representative sign statutory declarations to say that the whole bargaining and approval process was legitimate and forward the EBA and declarations to the Fair Work Commission.
As a precaution against rorting the EBA bargaining and approval process, the FWC apply a test to the pay and conditions contained in the EBA. This test is called the 'Better Off Overall Test' which means that the FWC applies this test to ascertain whether all provisions of the EBA are better than those contained in the SSIA.
If pay and conditions in the EBA means the employee is not better off under the EBA, then the FWC enforces what is known as 'undertakings'. This means that the employer must undertake to alter the pay and conditions in the EBA to comply with the Better Off Overall Test. These undertakings must accompany the EBA and can be seen on the individual approved EBAs displayed on the FWC web site.
This whole system of approving EBAs should mean there are no sub standard EBAs. The trouble with this is that the FWC has become corrupted. The appointment of commissioners on the FWC is made by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. These appointees come from employer and employee affilation groups with the aim of a balanced and co-operative commission to rule justly on issues that come before it. Once appointed, a commissioner cannot be sacked.
The hierarchy of the FWC of the President and two Vice Presidents was designed so that the President had either employee or employer affiliation and the Vice Presidents had opposite affiliations. When the Labor Party was in power under Rudd and Gillard, the current President of the FWC, Geoffrey Giudice resigned. The Labor minister appointed Justice Ross who was employee affiliated.
He had two Vice Presidents, Graeme Watson who was ranked number two and Michael Lawler who was ranked number three. Watson and Lawler were appointed during the Howard era and are employer affiliated. Justice Ross complains to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations who at the time was Bill Shorten, that he lacks complete power in the FWC.
Bill Shorten appoints eight new members to the commission. Two of them, Joe Catanzariti, a partner at Clayton Utz law firm, and Adam Hatcher, a barrister, are appointed vice-presidents and slot in above Michael Lawler and Graeme Watson. Catanzariti and Hatcher are, in effect, Ross’s new deputies and have employee affiliations.
Lawler and Watson are now relegated to Deputy Presidents with no real power. The demotions of Watson and Lawler are an example of Ross’s us-versus-them approach that has eroded the collaborative atmosphere established by his predecessor, Geoffrey Giudice.
The FWC is now fractured with the employer affiliated commissioners doing all they can to discredit Ross and his cronies. The individual panels appoint a commissioner to sit on determinations for enterprise agreements from different industrial sectors. David Gregory, the former director of workplace policy at the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry therefore employer affiliated, is appointed a Commissioner under Shorten. Commissioner Gregory handles all Security Industry agreements and probably feels the integrity of the FWC has been undermined by Shorten.
We see a great apathy from Gregory to apply the Better Off Overall Test when it comes to security agreements and hence most of the agreements approved by him are sub standard. Gregory was given the role of presiding over Security Industry EBAs because security workers do not figure in high numbers as unionists. It is strange that employee affiliated commissioners are appointed to preside over EBAs in industries where there are high unionization and the union is 'looked after'.
It is for this reason, that most Security Industry EBAs are sub standard and the disappointing part is that most security workers work under an EBA. So if you are contemplating working in the Security Industry, try to determine whether your prospective employer has an EBA in force. You can search the FWC web site to see if one exists. If one exists, open the actual copy of the EBA on the web site and examine it.
If the employee representative is the union the United Voice or their previous incarnation Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union , then the pay and conditions are in the favour of the employee. Another union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has supposedly negotiated some agreements, but be warned this union is in collaboration with the employers and these agreements are sub standard. If there has not been any involvement by United Voice, then there is a high chance that these agreements are sub standard.
Look for the pay rates in these agreements. Most have a flat hourly rate for shift work and weekends which are designed to strip away shift and weekend penalties. Compare what the hourly rates should be for shift and weekends according to the SSIA by opening the Payslip Calculator. Enter the information in the top window to assess the different pay level and press the calculate button and each hourly rate for different hours of work are displayed.
The National Employment Standard (NES) is generally much the same as the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard introduced by Work Choices. However, there are a few key differences which are identified here:
Parental Leave ‐ a parent employee will now have the right to request up to an extra 12 months of unpaid parental leave. This can only be refused on 'reasonable business grounds' and must give written reasons within 21 days.
There is also a new obligation on the employer to consult with an employee on parental leave if the employer makes a decision that will significantly affect the employee's pre‐parental leave position.
Flexible Work for Parents ‐ this is a new entitlement. Employees (subject to qualifying criteria similar to those for parental leave) may request a change in working arrangements if a parent or carer of a child under school‐age. The request must be in writing and as for extending parental leave beyond 12 months, written reasons must be provided within 21 days if refused by the employer.
Community Service Leave ‐ although not necessarily a new condition, this was not previously part of the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard. Employees are entitled to time off for eligible community service activities, such as fire‐fighting, civil defence and rescue activities with recognized organizations. There is also a new entitlement to paid jury service of up to 10 days for non‐casual employees.
Redundancy Pay ‐ this is a significant new national standard for employers with more than 15 employees, particularly for non‐award employees such as most management workers. The redundancy standard under the NES is the existing Federal award redundancy standard.
Fair Work Information Statement ‐ similar in function to the Work Choice Information Statement. This statement needs to be given to all new employees and provides information about the NES, modern awards, agreement making, freedom of association and the role of various government bodies such as Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.