FWC Award Flexibility Schedule – an Important Initiative for Employers and Employees

“The draft award flexibility schedule that has been released by the President of the Fair Work Commission, Justice Iain Ross, is an important initiative that will deliver much needed flexibility to employers and employees during the pandemic and the recovery. A very large number of employees are currently working from home, and it is evident that workplaces will never be the same again,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

“The draft schedule contains several provisions which have some similarity to those agreed upon earlier this year between Ai Group, ACCI and the ACTU and reflected in the Clerks Award, including provisions which facilitate working from home. As identified in President Ross’s statement:

[40] While working from home is currently possible and permissible in many workplaces, the absence of express provision to facilitate working from home can impose practical constraints on these arrangements. For example, absent an express provision, other award provisions such as the span of hours within which ordinary hours can be worked, continue to apply. This can constrain the utility of working from home arrangements from both the employee and employer perspectives as it requires the employer to pay overtime or penalty payments in circumstances where the employee has sought the additional flexibility in order to meet their preferences.

“Ai Group looks forward to the upcoming discussions between employer groups and unions about the content of the schedule and the specific variations to particular awards. It is important that all parties approach these discussions constructively and that the award variations are finalised as soon as possible,” said Mr Willox.

FWC President’s Statement

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