FWC Full Bench varies Clerks Award to address COVID-19 challenges

The Fair Work Commission has today decided vary to Clerks Private Sector Award to insert a Schedule of special conditions to assist employers and employees adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Today’s decision of the Fair Work Commission allows those special conditions to operate until 30 June 2020.

The special conditions, agreed between the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Services Union and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, provide flexibilities around hours of work and annual leave to facilitate businesses and their employees being in the best position possible to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, while retaining the rates of pay for work performed.

Key elements of special conditions include:

  • Flexibility around the range of duties that employees can perform;
  • Minimum shift and working hours flexibilities for employees that are working from home;
  • Temporary reductions in working hours where agreed by 75% of the affected employees, with consideration to be given by employers to secondary employment and personal development sought by employees;
  • Facilitating representation and advice for employees’ consideration of proposals to reduce working hours;
  • The capacity to take longer periods of leave at proportionally reduced rates of pay;
  • The capacity for employers to close down operations while employees are on leave, or direct employees to take leave having regard to their personal circumstances.

Importantly, employees will continue to accrue their entitlements on the usual basis if their working hours are reduced, and any unpaid leave taken during a close down will count as service.

“The award variations were agreed upon following lengthy discussions over the past week. All parties had the shared goal of preserving the viability of businesses and preserving as many jobs as possible during the current crisis,” Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“The ACTU and ASU deserve a great deal of credit for their willingness to support award variations that will have a meaningful impact in preserving businesses and jobs during the crisis,” said Mr Willox.

“Ai Group expresses its appreciation to the Fair Work Commission and, in particular President Ross, for hearing and determining this matter so promptly,” added Mr Willox.

Read the Commission’s Decision and Determination

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