A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission has resulted in changes to the Professional Employees Award 2020 to introduce significant changes to its overtime and penalty rate provisions.


The Professional Employees Award

The Professional Employees Award sets out the rules for the work standards of the professional employees. It covers employers mainly engaged in the information technology, medical research, quality auditing or telecommunications services industries and their employees who fit within the classifications of the award.

If you are an employer, it is important to be aware of the recent changes to the award as it is your obligation to be up to date and ensure that your employees are receiving their correct entitlements and that their contracts are consistent with the updated laws.


The Changes

The changes apply to employees covered by the Professional Employees Award with effect from the first full pay period that starts on or after 16 September 2023, and provide (in summary) for:

  • payment for all hours worked in excess of 38 hours per week at the appropriate Professional Employees Award minimum hourly rate for the employee’s classification;
  • the ability of the employer and employee to agree to the employee taking time off in lieu of payment for a particular amount of overtime worked;
  • payment of penalty rates for ordinary hours or overtime worked before 6am or after 10pm Monday to Saturday, on Sunday, and on public holidays as follows:
    • between Monday to Saturday, a penalty rate of 125% applies for hours worked overtime (before 6:00am and after 10:00pm);
    • Sundays and public holidays accrue a 150% penalty rate (all hours of the day);
    • casual employees are also entitled to a 25% loading on top of their usual pay.
  • requirements for employers to keep records of all hours worked by an employee in excess of 38 hours per week, before 6am or after 10pm Monday to Saturday, on Sunday, or on public holidays.


The amended Professional Employees Award also provides for an exemption from the above requirements where an employee has a contractual entitlement to an annual salary that exceeds the minimum Professional Employees Award annual wage for the employee’s classification by 25% or more.

Should you require advice or assistance to ensure that your employment agreements are up to date and compliant, reach out to our team of HR Advisors at HRServices@thepolyglotgroup.com.


Celine Senior HR Advisor

About the Author:

With over 20 years' experience in Human Resources, working across both government & private sectors, Celine is an expert at her craft. As a Senior HR Advisor, Celine has extensive experience working across different industries, advising clients on a wide range of HR topics.
Read more about Celine Rethore.