March 28, 2020
In an effort to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Work Commission has made several changes to the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 to help affected businesses keep operating. The below changes came into effect on Saturday 28 March and will continue until Tuesday 30 June 2020. The original Award terms will apply from 1 July 2020.
The changes apply to employees who are working from home and are as follows:
You can direct an employee to perform any tasks that are within their skill and competency despite their ordinary classification, as long as the tasks are safe and the employee is licensed and qualified to perform them.
When performing lower level duties, their pay stays the same.
Previously an employee could only work between 7.00am to 7.00pm Monday to Friday and from 7.00am to 12.30pm Saturday before overtime rates applied.
If a permanent employee requests and an employer agrees, the employee can work from home between 6.00am and 11.00pm, Monday to Friday, and between 7.00am and 12.30pm on Saturday. Any work performed within this spread of hours is paid at the employee’s ordinary rate of pay.
Previously part time employees were entitled to a minimum of three consecutive hours work and casual employees were entitled to a minimum of two hours work.
Part-time employees: Who are working from home may be rostered for a minimum of two consecutive hours (previously this was a minimum of three hours).
Casual employees: Who are working from home are entitled to a minimum payment of two hours work (previously this was a minimum of three hours).
You may agree with your full-time and part-time employees to temporarily reduce their working hours to not fewer than 75% of their ordinary hours. However you will need 75% of your permanent staff to agree to this change prior to implementation. Further this reduction in working hours is subject to a vote in which the employer must notify the Fair Work Commission (the FWC) and the Australian Services Union (or the relevant union whom represents the employees) if they are known to be members. This includes providing the ASU contact details before the vote should any of the employees want to contact the ASU for advice.
If this agreement is made with your employees their leave accruals (annual and personal) must be based on the employees’ ordinary hours prior to the commencement of this agreement.
This agreement with all permanent staff cannot come into effect until the employer has complied with the voting requirements.
If the employer does not wish to make a collective agreement with all permanent staff under this new subclause they may, instead, enter into individual arrangements with their employee to reduce their ordinary working hours.
The employer and employee may agree to take up to twice as much annual leave at a reduced rate for all or part of any agreed or directed period away from work, including any close down.
For example, the employee has 4 weeks annual leave accrued. The employee and employer agree the employee can take 8 weeks annual leave at half pay.
Previously an employer had to:
• Provide the employee at least 8 weeks’ notice and no more than 12 months’ notice of when the leave will start
• The leave has to be at least 1 week long
• Cannot result in the employee having less than 6 weeks accrued leave
The employer may now direct an employee to take annual leave by providing at least one week’s notice (a shorter notice period may apply with the employee’s consent). Provided the direction to take annual leave must not result in the employee having less than two weeks annual leave remaining.
Previously an employer was required to provide employees with 4 weeks’ notice before closing down.
An employer may now close down the business by providing employees with one week’s notice (previously this was four weeks’ notice). During the close down employees are entitled to be paid any accrued annual leave. If the employee does not have sufficient annual leave to cover the whole or part of the closedown period, the remainder of the period will be unpaid.
If you need help understanding or implementing the above amendments, please contact our Advice Team by emailing [email protected]
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