Awards, commonly referred to as ‘EA’, ‘EBA’, ‘Enterprise Agreements’, ‘Enterprise Bargaining Agreements’ or ‘Modern Awards’ are sets of pay & compliance rules; built, calculated, and maintained in Ento’s proprietary award interpretation engine.
Ento’s award interpretation engine has the flexibility and power to support thousands of unique and complex rule scenarios simultaneously, while fast enough to support real-time, on-the-fly optimisation and decision-making.
We’ve successfully automated Award and EBA interpretation for hundreds of businesses across a wide range of industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, facility-management, security, construction and many more.
What does Ento’s Award Interpreter engine do?
- Assigning rostered shifts and resulting timesheets to payroll elements/codes/categories as changes are made, in real-time
- Managing restrictions and compliance requirements on the way staff are rostered
- Accurately handling all leave types, requests, accruals and deductions
- Cost calculation and reporting including full history and auditability of every shift
- Cost & compliance ‘What if?’ Analysis for shift swaps and critical decision points
- Compiles and formats data for direct import into leading payroll systems
Award interpretation in Ento is based on ‘Award Profiles’; unique sets of rules and conditions that determine how the above is calculated for each staff group.
These may be based on the Fair Work Australia Award documents (e.g. General Retail Industry Award 2010) that outline minimum pay rates and conditions in major industries, but may also be based on other sets of rules such as EBAs, or simple rules for contractors or employees who are paid a fixed salary.
Each award profile set up for your account is bespoke and built to your requirements from scratch.
An example of a staff leave request with future leave accrual information being calculated in the background by the award interpretation engine:
What does Ento’s Award build & managed service include?
Underpayment of staff is a headline we’ve seen repeatedly over the last 18 months. Because of this, The Australian Fair Work Commission has been making amendments to existing Awards in a bid to clarify areas of ambiguity, and ensure vulnerable workers are adequately protected.
As the frequency of these changes has increased, and customers expect us to take the lead on these changes, we’ve taken the opportunity to review how we manage and maintain awards within Ento. Previously a change to your award would mean we would scope/ cost the project as a once-off piece of work. We’re now moving to supporting your awards as a managed service. This includes:
- Initial consultation, a documented scope/build plan, and configuration of your award within your Ento account
- Each award includes up to three award profile variations for Full time, Part time, and Casual employees
- Changes to earning rates as required (e.g. when CPI adjustments to relevant awards or EBAs take effect)
- Proactive monitoring and alerting of planned and upcoming changes to the Australian Modern awards by Fair Work that may affect your business
- Quarterly audit against payroll outputs on request
- Up to one major rebuild (useful in case of Fair Work changes, etc.) of your award every 12 months at no additional cost*
What are the costs?
Outside of needing to have the ‘Payroll & Leave’ module on within your account, there is small monthly subscription fee per award. For clarification there are no professional service fees up-front for a new award build.
Award pricing is based on the level of complexity involved, and the build and maintenance time required.
- No charge for salaried awards without penalty rates
- Base price for each Award: $100 per month
- Support for automated Time off in Lieu (TOIL) accruals: +$100 per month
- Support for role-based pay rates: +$250 per month
- Additional award profiles (small variations to the base profile): +$25 per month
So an award with support for role-based pay rates will cost $350 per month.
* For clarity, the first free rebuild you are entitled to would fall on the 1 year anniversary of the day you purchased the award. The minimum term per award is 12 months which means if you were to stop using an award in month 6 and request a new build, you would first need to pay out the remaining 6 months on the first award.
Similarly, if you were to request a major award change in month 14 and month 16 the change requested on month 14 would be free but you would need to pay out 10 remaining months before the second rebuild would commence as the anniversary would be reset.
What rules and conditions does the interpretation engine support?
Earning rate conditions
- Base rates
- Time-of-day rates (e.g. evening, morning, afternoon) based on hours worked within a set time range
- Saturday, Sunday and other ‘Day-of-week’ rates
- Public holiday rates
- Contracted hours overtime (weekly, or averaged across a pay cycle period)
- Daily overtime (hours worked beyond a fixed threshold per day)
- ‘Variance to roster’ overtime (hours worked beyond what was rostered on a given day e.g. staying late, missed breaks)
- Consecutive days off overtime (when a minimum is not met)
- Allowances (most allowance types are supported)
- Call-out and on-call shifts
- Time-of-day rates (e.g. evening, morning, afternoon) based on time of the day, or the the start and end times of a shift
- Minimum and maximum unit rules, which can be applied per shift, day, week, month or pay cycle
- ‘Time off in lieu’ (TOIL) accruals and deductions
- Simple role-base rates or ‘Higher Duties’ (where staff are paid an additional rate or loading when they work in a particular role)
- Leave balance accruals, deductions and auditing
- Multiple paid leave types, including ‘leave loading’ where applicable
- Multiple unpaid leave types
Roster compliance restrictions
- Minimum unpaid breaks required
- Minimum breaks between shifts on consecutive days
- Minimum rostered shift lengths
- Minimum consecutive days off
- Maximum consecutive days worked
An example of some of the award conditions within the interpretation engine:
Frequently asked questions
“What is the process for requesting a new award build or changes to an existing award?”
Contact the Ento support team via firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your requirements, and we’ll come back to you with information on the next steps.
“How long does it take to build or make changes to an award?”
This varies significantly. Simple adjustments can sometimes be made within 24 hours, while a complex new build can take up to six weeks including requirements scoping and testing.
Although we’ll do our best to meet your timeline requirements, it’s always best to contact us as early as possible.
“Hasn’t Ento built X award for other clients? Why do we need a custom build?”
Ento treats all new Award Profiles as bespoke for each client, because:
- Most agreements have options for how specific scenarios are treated by the employer.
- Not all rules and conditions are relevant to every business.
- Each business will have a unique set of pay codes/elements for the purposes of payroll integration
- Finally, not all businesses interpret Award/EBA documents in exactly the same way. Although two businesses may use the same General Award/ EBA, there are a range of different interpretations meaning it’s rare for two businesses to interpret the award in the exact same way for all scenarios, and this doesn’t mean that either interpretation is ‘wrong’.
“Can Ento automatically determine someone’s pay rate based on their date of birth?”
Ento will never change an staff base rate of pay automatically. Instead, Ento can provide information on upcoming birthdays (both in the Manager dashboard and in exportable reports as per the screenshot below) so that base rates can be adjusted at the appropriate time.
“Are there any rules/conditions Ento’s award interpreter can’t support?”
While Ento’s award interpreter is powerful and flexible, and we have successfully automated award interpretation and timesheet-to-payroll processing for hundreds of organisations large and small, the nature and at-times contradictory way some awards are written mean there are a few things it cannot fully automate. These include:
Supported via a manual step when rostering:
- Split shift allowances
- Overtime rules that have different hour limits on different days
- Contracted hours overtime ‘averaging’ that occurs over a period that is different from the pay cycle period (e.g. monthly overtime averaging on a fortnightly pay cycle). We are yet to find a competitor that can do this!
- Split pay cycles (i.e. where pay rate, employment type or contracted hours change part way through the pay cycle). Ento will apply any changes from the beginning of the following full pay cycle forward.
Upon receiving your requirements we will happily confirm exactly what we can/cannot automate for you.
“Is there ongoing development to the award interpretation engine?”
Ento has invested significantly into the award interpretation engine. Ento will continue adding support for more conditions & rules; largely driven by customer request.
We will also continue to invest resources in keeping the award interpreter lightning fast.
An example of the ‘important dates’ report used for tracking employee birthdays: