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

  1. 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.
  2. It removed the clauses with respect to:
    • operational flexibility;
    • part-time employees working from home;
    • casual employees working from home; and
    • close down.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 law.clerk@neca.asn.au