State Wage Case 2019 and Recreational Leave Loading

03 October 2019

On 27 September 2019 the Full Bench of SAET (South Australian Employment Tribunal) handed down its decision on the State Wage Case.

SAET decided to follow the decision of the federal Fair Work Commission in its 2018-2019 Annual Wage Review, and ordered an increase of 3% to the Minimum Standard for Remuneration (MSR) to apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019. This means that the MSR will be $740.80 per week.

Training Wages and Supported Wages which are not covered by the Enterprise Agreements and non-food related allowances which are not covered by the Enterprise Agreements in the state system are traditionally increased by the same percentage.

These will be increased after further submissions and will be advised to members in a future Information Update when they have been inserted in the relevant awards. Payments will be back dated then to the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019.

Recreational Leave Loading
An exception will be the increase to the Public Service (Recreational Leave Loading) Award.

In the 2018 State Wage Case, the State Government argued that this loading should only be increased by 2%, rather than by 3.5% as determined by the federal Fair Work Commission Award Wage Review.

The PSA and SA Unions argued that it should be increased by 3.5% which was the increase to the MSR and the other approved allowances. This has been the way the increase has been applied for decades.

The SAET agreed and increased the award amount to $912.97 on 11 April 2019. The State Government appealed to a Full Bench of SAET against the increase. On 1 May 2019 the Full Bench of SAET declared the relevant increase should stay at $912.97. The award was increased.

The Treasurer of South Australia, the Hon Rob Lucas MLC then filed a Notice of Appeal on 2 May 2019 seeking that the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia set aside the declaration made by the SAET Full Bench on 1 May 2019.

On 1 July 2019 the SAET decided that, subject to the appeal to the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia, for which leave has not yet been granted, no declaration would be made as to increases to this award.

This means that the "maximum' leave loading is currently that awarded on 1 July 2017, i.e. $882.10. If the Supreme Court does not allow the appeal, or it does not succeed, then the 3.5% 2018 increase to $912.87 will apply from 1 July 2018, and applying the 2019 3% increase would see the amount increased to $940.36 (PSA’s calculation) from 1 July 2019.

The Recreational Leave Loading Award states than an employee, during a period of recreational leave or for pro rata leave is to be paid either a loading of 17.5% of the salary up to a maximum of $882.10 (July 2017) for any one full entitlement of annual leave or the allowances and penalties payable had the employee not been on leave during the relevant period, whichever is the greater.

In practice this means that most shift workers get more than $882.10 (July 2017) as leave loading.

For non-shift workers, the "maximum" of $882.10 (July 2017) is reached at the top increment of ASO3.

So other workers, at or above ASO4, TGO 2/1, OPS4, AHP 1/3, PO 1/3 receive only $882.10 (July 2017) which is less than 17.5% of their salary.

The PSA will advise members of any developments and changes.