Owner-drivers to wear cost of road tolls…for now

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Greg Bush


Tribunal says payment for tolls will not be a part of minimum rates "at this stage".

Owner-drivers to wear cost of road tolls…for now
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has not determined if owner-drivers should be reimbursed for the cost of tolls.

 

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has left the door ajar to potentially requiring companies to reimburse owner-drivers for the cost of road tolls and loading fees.

The matter was raised during discussions on the establishment of minimum kilometre and hourly pay rates for owner-drivers but was eventually excluded in the final decision handed down in December last year.

However, comments contained in RSRT president Jennifer Acton’s ruling on minimum pay rates indicates the tribunal is open to hearing a claim on payments for road tolls in future.

"Some contractor drivers and those representing them also sought payment for road tolls and loading fees. We have not included them at this stage," Acton says.

"This is not to say that they should or should not be paid."

The RSRT’s order on pay rates for owner-drivers does, however, cover a host of matters ranging from payment for paperwork, time spent queuing to load or unload, time spent taking mandatory fatigue management breaks, refuelling a truck and waiting in a location because of a natural disaster.

From April 4, owner-drivers must receive the new minimum payments within 30 days. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) now wants the RSRT to require hirers to pay companies within 30 days so they can afford to pay their contractors within the legally required timeframe.

The minimum payments will cover drivers classified as independent contractors working in the supermarket distribution and long distance sectors.

The new regime will not apply to sectors the RSRT is currently investigating, which include the cash-in-transit, waste management, port and wharf, and the oil, fuel and gas industries.

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