On 1 April 2020, NECA Legal published an article advising of the temporary amendments to the Clerks- Private Sector Award (Award). A copy of that article can be accessed here. The effect of the amendment was that it temporarily included a new schedule to the Award, Schedule I – Award Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which would operate until 30 June 2020.
On 30 June 2020, the Fair Work Commission made a determination to extend the period of operation of Schedule I until 30 September 2020.
Fair Work Commission Determination to amend Schedule I
- It inserted a provision that any directions given under Schedule I must be in writing and
- would not apply if the direction was unreasonable in the circumstances; and
- would not be valid unless it advised the employee that the employer consented to a dispute about the direction, request or agreement being settled by the Fair Work Commission.
- It removed the clauses with respect to:
- operational flexibility;
- part-time employees working from home;
- casual employees working from home; and
- close down.
- It amended the ordinary hours of work for an employee working from home from 6am to 11pm Monday to Friday to 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday.
- It included clauses to allow employees, who had their hours of work reduced in accordance with Schedule I prior to 1 July 2020, request a further vote to confirm the ongoing reduction in hours. The vote is held within 7 days of any request being made. If the vote is not approved or is not held within 7 days the reduction will cease to be effective.
- It replaced the annual leave clause and the new annual clause provided as follows:
- an employer can request an employee to take annual leave, subject to considering the employee’s personal situation;
- the request cannot result in an employee having less than two weeks of annual leave remaining; and
- the employee cannot unreasonably refuse the request to take annual leave;
- the employer must give 72 hours’ notice to the employee;
- the employer and employee may agree to take up to twice as much annual leave at a proportionally reduced rate including for any close-down;
- the annual leave must commence before 30 September 2020, but can end after this date;
- the employer can only request that an employee take annual leave if the request is made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government initiative to slow the transmission or to assist the employer minimise the loss of employment; and
- the employer and the employee can still come to an agreement about taking annual leave at any time.
Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice.
For more information on legislative or contractual obligations, please contact CTI Lawyers on 1300 361 099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org