Q: What are the changes to the Building & Construction General On-Site Award and when do they come into effect?
A: As part of the 4-yearly review of the Modern Awards, the Fair Work Commission has confirmed changes to the Building and Construction General On-Site Award (Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe Award’) which will take effect from 1 July 2020.
What are the Changes?
The changes effective from 1 July 2020 are as follows:
Casual and Part Time Employees
Simplification of Provisions
MBA will provide more information when it is made available. If you are an MBA ACT member and have any concerns, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or at 6175 5900.
Q: My business was impacted by bushfires recently and we had to cease operations. Do I pay staff for the shutdown period?
A: It depends. Recently, bushfires have been impacting many businesses in Canberra resulting in temporary closure. s524 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) allows employers to stand down employees in certain circumstances including a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot be reasonably held responsible. This includes work stoppages caused by natural disasters like bush fires. However, for this provision to apply, you would need to ensure that the employee’s enterprise agreement or employment contract doesn’t contain stand down provisions that deal with the same circumstances.
If you decide to stand down employees, you are not required to make payment to them during the period of the stand down, however, you may choose to do so if you so wish.
Before you consider standing down employees, you should consider inviting them to take annual leave or consider redeploying them to an unaffected work site.
Please download the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Fact Sheet on Employment entitlements during natural disasters and emergences, here.
Q: Union Officials are citing the recent Denman Prospect incident as a reason to check my workplace safety records including SWIMS. Are they allowed to do so?
A: No. Union Officials do not have a right to investigate any of your records unless they exercise a valid Right of Entry.
For a Right of Entry under the WHS Act, the Union Official has powers to:
To exercise any of the right of entry powers stated above, the Union Official must provide the required notice and produce both a Fair Work Commission and a WorkSafe entry permit with a photo ID.
If you are an MBA ACT Member who is facing pressure from the Union and will like to know your rights, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 6175 5900.