Award Interpretation with Xero

by Ashik Ahmed, 3 minutes read
HOME blog award interpretation with xero

Award Interpretation is a phrase unknown to many, desired by some and haunting to a few people too. When it comes to HR, it means the process of calculating the right amount of pay for the hours worked during a specific period of time. For example, if you work as a bar attendant in Sydney, along with getting special rates on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, you will also get penalty rates after 7pm and midnight loadings. The process of calculating this from your Timesheet is known as “award interpretation”. Our friends across the Pacific Ocean in the USA call this overtime calculation for respective labour laws. For example in California you will be paid 50% extra for working over 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week; and double time for any hours beyond 12 hours per day.

At Deputy, we have been doing award interpretation in our Enterprise version for many years now. Today we are proud to launch award interpretation for Deputy Premium users!

This feature is exclusive to Deputy customers who use for paying their staff. Why? Because their API is the very best when it comes to cloud payroll. We can read and write almost every component of the payroll using Xero’s payroll API. If you are not using Xero, maybe you should be!

Ok, how does it work?

For this award interpretation to work, we need you to name your pay items in Xero in a certain fashion. Then assign them to employee’s pay template in the exact order they should apply (i.e. most frequent at the top to least frequent at the bottom).

See our help article to learn more about the syntax used for awards.

However we will list some very common awards by Australian Hospitality and retail industry:



Restaurant modern award 2010


How do I activate it?

Once you have defined these rates in Xero and allocated to the employees in their pay template, log in to your Deputy account and proceed to your People tab. Edit each individual team member by selecting their pay template to be automatic

Click save.

You can un-approve and re-approve some timesheets to see the new rates pick up.

When you export these timesheets to Xero, you will see how the rates show up in the timesheet section of Xero.

From here it’s just matter of approve and pay!

Added Benefits

This is not just payroll, the special rates are also used in Deputy rostering! Hence your rosters will now have full award interpretation applied. Thus giving you a more detailed and accurate roster cost forecast.

What about salary based employees?

Employees paid a salary do not require special naming of pay items. We will automatically detect the employees that are on salary and apply a proportion of their costing in Deputy. Salary employees’ Timesheets won’t be exported.

Do I have to do this?

Not at all! It’s a completely opt-in feature. There is no additional cost to it either from Xero or Deputy. If you did not define the pay items as such, Deputy will continue doing the export with ordinary hours. It can optionally match Saturday, Sunday and public holiday.

I don’t use Xero can you help me?

There are many other payroll providers that Deputy integrates with that have their own award interpreters. Eg WageEasy, MicrOpay Meridian etc. In the United States, Deputy integrates with ZenPayroll and we do overtime calculation for every state. Check out our add-on section to learn more. You can also use the Deputy export format “Tab Delimited with Daily Totals and Overtime” which will give you nicely grouped totals with overtime.

When can I learn more?

We have many common modern awards pre-built in our Xero Share Site. You can deploy and contribute in this site. If you need more help, check out our help site for examples and full instructions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you require further help.