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Bookkeeping Best Practice: Changes to Age Group Descriptions

Award Updates
The Fair Work Commission (FWO) recently revised the age group descriptions for junior employees
across 34 awards. These changes, effective from the initial pay period commencing on or after
31st December 2023, maintain existing junior rates in the awards.
Terms like “At 16 years and under” or “17 years and under” were replaced with clearer expressions
such as “Under 17 years” or “Under 18 years,” simplifying the categorisation process for both
employers and employees.
The adjustments above are detailed in the Changes to age group descriptions in 34 awards – Fair Work
Ombudsman provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The award changes have implications for Bookkeepers responsible for processing payroll. They need
to ensure that the updated age descriptions are accurately reflected in payroll systems and processes
to maintain compliance and ensure junior employees are paid correctly based on their age group.
It is advisable to consult the updated award directly from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s List of awards page.
Furthermore, the Fair Work Ombudsman has updated the Pay and Conditions Tool along with pay guides
to reflect the revised age descriptions. This ensures accessibility and alignment with the recent changes.
To view the Commission decision: Variation on the Commission’s own motion – Junior rates (AM2023/27)
Awards That Have Changed
Each of the 34 awards has undergone different changes. For a full list of awards that have changed
read the Commission’s determination on these awards to see what awards have been changed. See:
Changes to age group descriptions in 34 awards – Fair Work Ombudsman.
Please see below some examples from a few awards to demonstrate the types of changes.
⏹ Fast Food Industry Award
▶ The words “15 years of age and under” appearing in the table in clause 15.2 have been
replaced with the words “Under 16 years of age.”
⏹ Fitness Industry Award
▶ By deleting the words “16 years of age and under” appearing in the table in clause 15.2 have
been replaced with the words “Under 17 years of age”.
⏹ Gardening and Landscaping Services Award
▶ The words “17 years and under” in the table in clauses 15.2(a), B.4.1, and B.4.2 have been
replaced with “Under 18 years.”
⏹ General Retail Industry Award
▶ The words “15 years of age and under” appearing in the table in clauses 17.2, B.3.1, B.3.2,
B.3.3, and B.3.4 have been replaced with the words “Under 16 years of age.”

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