The Fair Work Commission made a determination on 28 March 2020 to temporarily vary the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 (“Award”) in order to allow flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The determination inserted a new temporary Schedule I to allow:

1.  Employers to direct their employees to perform any tasks they have the skill and competency for so long as it is safe and the employee has the appropriate qualifications;

2.  Casual and part-time employees working from home to be engaged for a minimum of two hours’ work per shift (opposed to three hours per shift);

3.  An employee to take up to twice as much annual leave at a proportionately reduced rate for any period of time including during a close-down period;

4.  Increasing the span of hours to allow employees flexibility while working from home without invoking entitlements such as penalties, loadings or allowances;

5.  Permanent employees’ hours of work to be reduced. Note that 75% of employees must vote in favour of the temporary reduction and the correct steps in the Award must be followed to reach such agreement;

6.  Employers to direct employees to take accrued annual leave by giving at least one week’s notice (or less upon agreement). Any direction to take annual leave must not result in an employee having less than two weeks of accrued annual leave remaining;

7.  Employers may require an employee to take annual leave as part of a close-down of the business (or part of the business) by giving at least one week’s notice (or less as agreed). In circumstances where an employee does not have sufficient paid annual leave accrued to cover the close-down period, the employee will be required to take unpaid annual leave.

The temporary changes to the Award apply from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 28 March until 30 June 2020 unless extended otherwise.  A full copy of the determination can be viewed here: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/documents/awardmod/variations/2020/pr717900.pdf.

Please contact our office for more information.

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