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Proposed Changes to Clerks Award – COVID-19

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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Australian Industry Group are the latest to file an application with the Fair Work Commission to allow flexibility in the Clerks Award during the COVID-19 pandemic, to preserve businesses and jobs.

The Australian Services Union and Australian Council of Trade Unions have negotiated over the past week to reach an agreement, the ACCI and Ai Group have put forward the application and are looking to a hear an approval as soon as possible.  There are hundreds of thousands of clerical and administrative employees within Australia, many of these employees are currently working from home. 

Changes to the award include:

  • allowing employees and employers to agree to change ordinary hours of work whilst an employee is working at home;
  • giving workers expanded options to help manage their job around things like schooling children from home during the day without an employer facing additional costs for work being conducted out of usual business hours;
  • enabling a business with one weeks’ notice to direct an employee to take annual leave if it decides to close-down its operations;
  • allowing staff to work more flexibly across classifications, provided it is safe to do so and the employee has the necessary qualifications;
  • permitting employers to direct employees to take annual leave;
  • increasing flexibility in taking leave such as double leave at half-pay, where employers and employees agree;
  • enabling employers to engage casual and part-time employees for shorter shifts;
  • giving employers flexibility to reduce hours for full and part-time staff, whilst allowing employees whose hours are reduced to take on another job or ask to engage in training or additional study;
  • reductions in working hours while keeping the same hourly rate of pay for up to one million workers covered by the clerks award;
  • employees will still continue to accrue entitlements at their ordinary hours of work prior to the agreement to reduce hours;
  • employees must vote on whether to reduce hours or not, and if there is a union involved in the workplace, they must be informed.  The employer must notify the FWC if they propose to conduct the vote.  Further information on this is available in the draft determination.

Read the Draft determination for further information:

Draft determination, application to vary the Clerks – Private Sector 2010 award

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This article has been prepared by Vanessa Baglieri, Marketing Manager. We are passionate about helping businesses grow by sharing information. The content of this article is legal information, not advice and is not tailored to your circumstances, speak with Rosa Raco directly on 03 5499 6131 or email rraco@wrlaw.com.au if you require legal advice regarding your specific circumstances.

This article is current as at 1.40pm on 27th March 2020.