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COVID-19 Impact on Awards

As previously advised, in addition to specific amendments made to the Clerks Private Sector Award, the Restaurant Industry Award and Hospitality Industry (General) Award, the Fair Work Commission made temporary amendments to 99 modern awards to include variations in Schedule X due to COVID-19 until the end of June 2020.  The two features introduced included unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take annual leave at half pay.

The FWC have agreed to extend some of those variations, however there are some new guidelines on how the variations are to be used, and a few awards amended that were not amended previously.

The variation extension detail is as follows:-

The Clerks Private Sector Award variations have been extended until 30 September 2020 in line with the proposed end of JobKeeper.

The Restaurant Industry Award and Hospitality Industry (General) Award have been extended until 27 September 2020 however the variations do not apply to businesses in receipt of JobKeeper or who are eligible to receive JobKeeper.

For the majority of awards, the Schedule X variations have been extended until 30 September 2020 to fall in line with the proposed end of JobKeeper.

The Fast Food Industry Award 2010, General Retail Industry Award 2010, Storage Services and Wholesale Award 2020 and the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010 have only been extended until 31 July 2020.

The following Health Sector Awards have been extended until further order of the Commission, including; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award 2020, Aged Care Award 2010, Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award 2020, Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020, Medical Practitioners Award 2020, Nurses Award 2010, Pharmacy Industry Award 2020, Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010, and the Supported Employment Services Award 2020.

Due to the heavy impact to their industries, the Air Pilots Award 2020 has been extended to 30 December 2020 and the Live Performance Award 2010 has been extended until 30 June 2021.

In addition to the extensions, and due to the recent increases in cases in Victoria noting that employees would need to continue accessing pandemic leave, two types of sick leave alternatives are available to people working in Victoria and Queensland.

The Victorian State Government introduced a hardship fund of $1500 for employees who are either diagnosed with COVID-19 or forced to self-isolate and they are casual or have exhausted their sick leave entitlements.  Queensland employees have a similar benefit available only if they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Conditions apply to these benefits where employees must not be in receipt of other benefits or salary supplements such as JobKeeper.

New variations implemented include:-

The Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020 variations to work hours and annual leave have been extended to enable employers in this sector to reduce hours of work and direct the taking of annual leave.

The Electrical Power Industry Award 2010 was not included in the initial variations however it has now had a Schedule X applied to cease 30 September 2020.

For assistance in the implementation of any of the award amendments please contact us at advice@hradviceonline.com.au or 1300 720 004.

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