On Saturday 28 March 2020, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission made a determination to vary the Clerks - Private Sector Award 2010 (Clerks Award) by inserting "Schedule 1 – Award Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic".

Schedule 1 applies from an employee's first full pay period that starts on or after 28 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, unless extended by application.

Key changes to the Clerks Award include:

  • Changes in Duties:  Employers can direct their employees to perform any duties that are within their skill and competency, regardless of their classification and provided the duties are safe. The employee must also be licensed and qualified to perform them.
  • Minimum Engagement/Pay for Part-Time and Casual Employees Working from Home by Agreement with the Employer: An employer can reduce the minimum engagement of a part-time employee to 2 hours. Casual employees must be paid for a minimum of 2 hours per shift.
  • Change of Ordinary Hours for Employees Working from Home: Where an employee requests and the employer agrees, an employee can change their hours of work to allow them to work between:
    • 6am and 11pm, Monday to Friday; and
    • 7am and 12:30pm, Saturday.
      • Penalty rates and shift allowances do not apply for day workers.
  • Agreed Temporary Reduction in Ordinary Hours of Work for Full-Time and Part-Time Employees: At least 75% of an employer's permanent full-time and part-time employees in a business or section of the business, may agree to temporarily reduce their ordinary hours of work. Employees may only give their approval by voting. Employers must follow the steps in Schedule 1 for the vote to be valid. Where a reduction of hours takes effect, the employee's ordinary hourly rate will be maintained but the weekly wage will be reduced by the same proportion.
  • Directions to take Annual Leave: Employers can direct employees to take annual leave by giving at least 1 week's notice (or any shorter notice if agreed) if the business is closing down for a period due to the coronavirus.

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