The Fair Work Commission has again extended the pandemic provisions outlined in Schedule I of the Clerks – Private Sector Award and the Vehicle Repair, Service and Retail Award. The flexibility provisions, including reduction of hours, annual leave and jobs training are now available to eligible employers for eligible employees until 30/11/2020.

The provisions in Schedule I – Award flexibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic, aims at protecting the viability of businesses and connection to employees in the midst of the pandemic and provides for Directions to be issued by an eligible employer to an eligible employee.

Initially implemented in May 2020, these provisions have again been extended, with an end date of 30th November 2020, though the Commission can extend the provisions again, either on petition or on their own instigation.

Clerks – Private Sector Award;

  • Directions can be made under this Schedule where the Employer and Employee are eligible;
    • An eligible employer is one who does not qualify for the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Scheme.
    • An eligible employee is one who is not eligible for JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Scheme.
  • Directions can be made under this Schedule that;
    • Reduce an employees hours, temporarily, provided that;
      • a Full Time employee is not reduced below 22.8 hours per week (75% for part time), and
      • the reduction is due to COVID-19, and
      • the employee can not usefully be engaged, and
      • the reduction does not result in the employee taking home less than $1,115.70 per fortnight for permanent staff and $836.78 per fortnight for part time staff (Level 1-5 employees)
      • when an employee has their hours reduced and they request additional job training the employer must consider such requests and not unreasonably refuse
        This is only open to those businesses that implemented these Directions prior to 30th June 2020
    • Require an employee to take annual leave, provided that;
      • the employee is left with no less than 2 weeks annual leave after taking the directed leave, and
      • the employee is provided with at least 72 hours notice
        This provision also allows for the taking of twice the amount of leave at half pay, or any other mutually agreed arrangements
  • Directions made under this Schedule must;
    • Be subject to consultation
    • Be communicated in writing
    • Be subject to dispute resolution at the Commission
  • Directions made under this Schedule;
    • have no effect after 30 November 2020 (unless the Schedule is extended by the Fair Work Commission)

Vehicle Repair, Service and Retail Award;

  • There are no qualifying elements to this Schedule other than the fact that any Agreement to reduce hours must have been entered into prior to 30th June 2020
  • By Agreement (and a vote of employees) hours may be reduced to not less than 75% of standard hours
  • An employer may Request an employee to take annual leave, provided the employee would be left with at least 2 weeks annual leave.

It is worth noting that Schedule X of the Vehicle Repair Service and Retail Award outlines further COVID-19 flexibility and extensive requirements to access them – see; https://acapmag.com.au/2020/10/temporary-award-changes-extended/ for more information.

For a copy of the Schedule see the latest version of the Awards;

ACAPMA Members are reminded that they can access support, advice and assistance navigating COVID-19 and employment implications by contacting the ACAPMA Employment Department via employment@acapma.com.au

ACAPMA