In light of the impacts of the Coronavirus to many industries, unions and industry groups have made a number of urgent applications to the Fair Work Commission regarding proposed temporary changes to modern awards. The latest to be approved are changes to the Clerks Award which covers many businesses and roles across Australia.
Changes take effect from the employee’s first full pay period that starts on or after today, 28 March 2020 and runs until 30 June 2020.
Below is a summary of the main changes:
- Employees can now be directed to work in any classification having regard to their individual skill and competency, safety and qualifications. Where these duties are a lower classification than the employee’s usual role, a reduction in pay will not apply.
- To address the issue of employees working from home who are under this Award, a more flexible spread of hours from 6:00am-11:00pm Monday-Friday and 7:00am-12.30pm on Saturday has been introduced. Part time and casual employees must be engaged for a minimum of two hours if working from home.
- Where there is a 75% majority agreement (via an employee vote with impacted employees), employers will be able to reduce full time and part time hours by up to 25%. Where a union is involved in the workplace the employer must notify the union and employers must also follow the process outlined in the relevant new schedule to the Award.
- On the point above, leave will still accrue on the ordinary hours that were in place prior to any agreement being reached.
The above measures around hours do no prevent an employer and an individual employee coming to an agreement to reduce hours or change from full time to part time during the period specified.
- Where an employee will retain at least 2 weeks balance of annual leave, the employer can direct the employee to take a period of annual leave provided one week’s notice is given (or shorter notice if mutually agreed).
- The employer and employee can also agree for leave to be taken over a longer period and paid proportionately. For example, 2 weeks annual leave being taken over 4 weeks at half payment.
- Employees can choose to take all of their annual leave during a stand down period before going on to unpaid leave.
As mentioned these are only temporary changes to the Clerks Award and they are due to end on 30 June 2020, unless amended.
The full decision can be read here.
This general information is not intended to be advice of any form. We recommend seeking specific advice for your situation. To book in a free Introductory call, contact Industryus HR on 07 5655 4047 or book in here.