COVID-19 Changes to Clerks Award

The Fair Work Commission has approved changes to the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 to provide greater flexibility in working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These changes provide relief from some of the more restrictive provisions of the award with respect to hours of work and annual leave for the period from 28 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. The objectives are to help businesses through this difficult period and to maintain jobs.

The key changes are:

  1. The minimum daily engagement for a part-time or casual employee is reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours
  2. The span of hours within which employees can work ordinary hours when they are working from home by agreement with the employer has been increased to between 6.00 am and 11.00 pm (in lieu of 7.00 am to 7.00 pm) on Monday to Friday and remains from 7.00 am to 12.30 pm Saturday. This means that no penalty payments or shift loadings apply to ordinary hours worked outside the normal span of hours (between 6.00 am and 7.00 am and between 7.00 pm and 11.00 pm on Monday to Friday).
  3. Hours of work for a group of employees can be reduced by agreement to no less than 75% of normal hours with approval of at least 75% of the affected employees via a vote and following consultation with employees and, where applicable, their union representatives. The employer is required to provide the work email addresses of the employees who will be participating in the vote, to the Commission. The Commission will then distribute the ASU COVID-19 Information Sheet to the employees prior to the vote. The Commission shall list the name of the business on a register which will be accessible to the ASU, upon request, for the period when these COVID-19 arrangements are in operation. The employer is also required to provide employees with contact details for the ASU.
  4. Employers and individual employees may agree to take up to twice as much annual leave at a proportionately reduced rate for all or part of any agreed or directed period away from work, including any close-down.
  5. An employer may direct an employee to take any annual leave that has accrued, subject to considering the employee’s personal circumstances, by giving at least one week’s notice, or any shorter period of notice that may be agreed. A direction to take annual leave shall not result in an employee having less than 2 weeks of accrued annual leave remaining.
  6. An employer may require an employee to take annual leave as part of a close-down of its operations by giving at least one week’s notice, or part of its operations, or any shorter period of notice that may be agreed.

While any arrangement under this clause is operating, an employee continues to accrue entitlements (paid leave and termination entitlements) on the basis of their pre-existing employment contract and normal hours of work. An employee would also be entitled to a payment for any public holiday that they would have been entitled to under their pre-existing employment arrangement.

There are some other qualifiers and conditions in the provisions so you should look at the full clause – see link below.

See Schedule I at the (very end of the) Award

COVID-19 changes to Hospitality Award

 The Fair Work Commission has approved changes to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 to provide greater flexibility in working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes provide relief from some of the more restrictive provisions of the award with respect to hours of work and annual leave for the period from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. The objectives are to help businesses through this difficult period and to maintain jobs. The key changes are:

  1. An employee’s full-time or part-time hours can be adjusted at the direction of the employer to between 60% and 100% of their normal ordinary working hours over the course of a week or over the course of a roster cycle (eg for a full-time employee, that is anywhere from 22.8 to 38 ordinary hours per week)
  2. Before making that direction, the employer must consult employees in line with award provisions on consultation related to changes in hours of work and, if the employee is a member of United Voice, consult United Voice as the employee’s representative union.
  3. An employer and an employee may agree to the employee taking twice as much annual leave at half the rate of pay for all or part of any period of annual leave.
  4. an employer may, subject to considering an employees’ personal circumstances, direct the employee to take annual leave with 24 hours’ notice.

While any arrangement under this clause is operating, an employee continues to accrue entitlements (paid leave and termination entitlements) on the basis of their pre-existing employment contract and normal hours of work. An employee would also be entitled to a payment for any public holiday that they would have been entitled to under their pre-existing employment arrangement. See Schedule L (at the very end) of the Award. [/av_textblock]

Are you on top of new annualised wage obligations?

Are you on top of new annualised wage obligations?

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Are you on top of the new annualised wage obligations?

 

From 1 March 2020, new annualised wage provisions came into operation in many modern awards. They imposed new and significant obligations on employers which in many cases will not be welcomed by employees. For example, you are required to ensure that your employees record their starting and finishing times and their lunch breaks even if that is counter to your workplace value of trusting your people to do the right thing or something that you do not see as appropriate in your professional office. 

The good news is that the Fair Work Commission has left the door open if you want to take an alternative approach via a common law contract. Here is what it said: “Employers may, pursuant to private contractual arrangements, pay employees in accordance with a salary arrangement that compensates for or “buys out” identified award entitlements without engaging with the annualised wage arrangements provision in the applicable award.” 

Of course, you still need to ensure that your employees are better off overall than they would be if they were paid strictly in accordance with all award conditions (not just the minimum rates). If that is true in your case and there is no potential for your employee’s annualised salary (whether expressed as a fixed annual or weekly or fortnightly or monthly amount) to fall below that total award entitlement, properly drafted set off clauses in your employment contracts will enable you to legally avoid “engaging with the annualised wage arrangements provision in the applicable award.

We can help you with that at a very affordable price – just $250 plus GST per contract. Of course, we will need you to show us that you are not in danger of underpaying people against award entitlements first – after all, we don’t want to be an accessory to an underpayment of wages.

If you want to engage us to assist with this, contact us here or call Peter Maguire on 0438 533 311.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

What to do about COVID-19 if your people have to be there?

What to do about COVID-19 if your people have to be there?

Latest News & Events

 

What to do about COVID-19 if your people have to be there?

 

With the advent of COVID-19, we are seeing lots of businesses look at continuing operations by having their people work remotely.

But what can you do if, for example, you run a manufacturing business or a construction business or a warehouse or any other business where the only way is for people to attend the workplace?

There are some simple and practical things that you can do to reduce the risk of infection of your people and to keep the business running.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Of course, you are going to educate your people about COVID-19 and what everyone’s obligations are especially in the observance of good hygiene practice in regularly washing hands with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub and in coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the elbow joint.
  2. Of course, you are going to make sure that there is an adequate supply of soap or hand rub in the workplace and ideally tissues as well to make sure people have what they need to do that.
  3. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum space of 1 metre from a person who coughs/sneezes – when you look at peoples’ work stations, are they at least 1 metre apart? If so, great, if not, what can you do about that?
  4. If you look at workflows in the place, are there points where people come within 1 metre of each other? If not, great and, if so, what can you do about that?
  5. What sorts of meetings and gatherings do you have? What purpose do they serve? Are they really necessary? Could you achieve the purpose in another way eg through a video conference or other electronic means?
  6. If the face to face meeting is necessary, can you conduct it in a way where people maintain that 1 metre space between each other by spreading out? Perhaps you can hold the meeting own another space which better enables people to spread out?
  7. Do your meal facilities have adequate space for people to maintain  that 1 metre spacing? perhaps you can stagger tea breaks and meal breaks to reduce congestion in those facilities?
  8. If you want to go a step further, clean all surfaces with an antiseptic surface spray before and after each break.
  9. Do you require people to clock or sign on and off at a common physical point? Can you modify that arrangement so that people maintain the space between them? Or can you record attendance electronically so there is no need to get close to each other?
  10. Do people travel together in vehicles to worksites or other places? Can the trip be replaced by another means eg have a video conference in stead of meeting? If not, can people travel separately or with less people together?

These are just a few ideas that can help to protect your people and to help them to feel safe at work. No doubt there are others that might help.

Guess who is likely to know best? Your people – so why don’t you share this blog with them and ask them for their ideas on how you can all get through this difficult time together.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

What to do about COVID-19 if your people have to be there?

What to do about COVID-19 if your people have to be there?

With the advent of COVID-19, we are seeing lots of businesses look at continuing operations by having their people work remotely. But what can you do if, for example, you run a manufacturing business or a construction business or a warehouse or any other business where the only way is for people to attend the workplace? There are some simple and practical things that you can do to reduce the risk of infection of your people and to keep the business running. Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Of course, you are going to educate your people about COVID-19 and what everyone’s obligations are especially in the observance of good hygiene practice in regularly washing hands with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub and in coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the elbow joint.
  2. Of course, you are going to make sure that there is an adequate supply of soap or hand rub in the workplace and ideally tissues as well to make sure people have what they need to do that.
  3. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum space of 1 metre from a person who coughs/sneezes – when you look at peoples’ work stations, are they at least 1 metre apart? If so, great, if not, what can you do about that?
  4. If you look at workflows in the place, are there points where people come within 1 metre of each other? If not, great and, if so, what can you do about that?
  5. What sorts of meetings and gatherings do you have? What purpose do they serve? Are they really necessary? Could you achieve the purpose in another way eg through a video conference or other electronic means?
  6. If the face to face meeting is necessary, can you conduct it in a way where people maintain that 1 metre space between each other by spreading out? Perhaps you can hold the meeting own another space which better enables people to spread out?
  7. Do your meal facilities have adequate space for people to maintain  that 1 metre spacing? perhaps you can stagger tea breaks and meal breaks to reduce congestion in those facilities?
  8. If you want to go a step further, clean all surfaces with an antiseptic surface spray before and after each break.
  9. Do you require people to clock or sign on and off at a common physical point? Can you modify that arrangement so that people maintain the space between them? Or can you record attendance electronically so there is no need to get close to each other?
  10. Do people travel together in vehicles to worksites or other places? Can the trip be replaced by another means eg have a video conference in stead of meeting? If not, can people travel separately or with less people together?

These are just a few ideas that can help to protect your people and to help them to feel safe at work. No doubt there are others that might help. Guess who is likely to know best? Your people – so why don’t you share this blog with them and ask them for their ideas on how you can all get through this difficult time together. [/av_textblock]