On 22 December 2020, the FWC varied the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020 to implement some new flexibilities for employers and employees. The award variations were applied for by Ai Group and not opposed by the ACTU and the Australian Services Union. The new provisions give employers and employees more flexibility to agree on working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new provisions have been included in Schedule I – Award Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic, in the Award.

The Schedule now includes provisions dealing with the following matters:

  1. For employees who are working at home or at another location of their choosing that is not the premises of the employer (“remote work”):
    • An extended spread of ordinary hours for day workers;
    • An ability for employees to elect not to work ordinary hours continuously;
    • Flexible starting and finishing times for part-time employees;
    • An ability for part-time employees to work non-consecutive hours; and
    • Arrangements for taking meal and rest breaks while undertaking remote work.
  2. The right for an employer to request an employee to take annual leave, with a requirement that the employee not unreasonably refuse.
  3. An ability for employers who had implemented a temporary reduction in hours under the provisions of the schedule prior to 30 June 2020, to continue the reduction.

Certain safeguards and other conditions apply, as set out in the award provisions.

The variations came into effect from the first full pay period that starts on or after 22 December 2020. They cease to have effect from 30 June 2021.

If you would like more information about employing clerks and administrative staff in your business, please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.

Alternatively, if you would like advice and assistance managing employees working under flexible arrangements due to COVID or directing employees to return to work,please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Melbourne or Brisbane or contact Ai Group Workplace Lawyers here.

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