New Legal Services Award covering your employees commences 1 January 2010


The new national Legal Services Award covering support staff and graduate lawyers/trainees was released on Friday 4 December. This new award commences on 1 January 2010. This award covers legal and administrative staff (including those employed by barristers) working in all states and territories except Western Australia.

Some key features of this award are:

  • coverage for law clerks and law graduates (not lawyers);

  • classifications (5 levels) for legal and clerical positions;

  • the ability to employ staff on annualised salaries in satisfaction of salary, overtime and penalty rates, most allowances and leave loading;

  • paid examination and study leave for law graduates (up to 4 days per subject);

  • NO ability to ‘cash out’ annual leave for those employees covered by the Award;

  • higher duties allowance if employee is called upon to work at a higher level for more than 1 day;

  • 7.00am – 6.30pm Monday to Friday is the spread of allowable hours; and

  • overtime rates calculated to the half hour, that is, employee entitled to be paid for 30� minutes if they work 1 minute overtime, and 60 minutes if they work 31 minutes of overtime

Whilst the transitional provisions mean that in most cases the new pay rates, loadings and penalties do not apply until the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2010, employers need to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Legal Services Award and ensure that they are meeting their obligations.

You can find the new award on the Australian Industrial Relations Commission web site The Australian Law Management Group (Law Council of Australia) will be providing further information on the application of the Legal Services Award in January.

For enquiries regarding this group, please contact Gerard O’Neill on (02) 6246-3788 or via email

**23 December 2009 **

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