The transitional provisions are standard word clauses that have been included in nearly all of the 122 modern awards. These transitional clauses are designed to phase in or phase out any pay differences (up or down, as the case may be) between the pay rates under the old award compared to the rates in the modern award. If there were no transitional arrangements in moving from the old state/federal award to the new (Australia-wide) modern award, then there would be significant labour cost impositions on employers (or windfall wage rises to employees) from the start date of the modern award.
The transitional clause smoothes out the pay differences so that the increased (or decreased) difference in the pay rate is adjusted by 20% (one-fifth) every year [on 1 July] over 5 years from 2010 to 2014 (i.e. 20% x 5 = 100%).
The major issue for road transport employers concerning transitional provisions arises in NSW where there were substantial differences between the NSW Transport Industry (State) Award and the new modern Road Transport & Distribution Award 2010 – see Appendix C of this Handbook.