Transport Awards face change

Minimum wage, leave and casual/part time changes all in the mix, lawyer warns

Transport Awards face change
Annie Smeaton sees many FWC changes afoot.


A Fair Work Commission (FWC) four-yearly modern awards review and other agreed changes look set to keep transport and logistics company managers on their toes.

Some changes, such as July 1’s national minimum wage increase to $672.70 per week or $17.70 per hour, are already a reality and are general.

"Failure to implement the minimum wage increases (and back date if necessary) may result in underpayments to employees, which can result in prosecutions and the imposition of civil penalties by the Fair Work Ombudsman," lawyer and Cooper Grace Ward partner Annie Smeaton says.

But Smeaton notes others under the review are specifically alter the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010 and the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010.

For instance, on July 29, both the long distance and distribution Awards were varied for annual leave to allow for cashing out, accruals and granting in advance.

The long distance award was also varied to allow for electronic leave payment during leave periods as with the normal pay cycle.

All Award-covered employees can now cash out some of their annual leave, with conditions that include written agreements, the amount and what must be left over.

There are also changes to the treatment of accruals, granting advance leave and payments made during leave.

Amongst proposed changes following an August 5 FWC hearing are those to extend modern award casual and part-time provisions to the two transport awards.

"At present, employees under the Road Transport Long Distance Award can only be engaged on a full-time or casual basis," Smeaton says.

And she notes that other changes to the awards that the FWC will consider but may or may not agree to.

For the Road Transport Long Distance Award they involve:

  • ‘long distance’ an ‘loading and unloading’ definitions
  • employees as passengers
  • fatigue management plan provision
  • casual employee entitlement to work diaries.

For the Road Transport Distribution Award, proposed changes involve:

  • ‘ordinary hours’ numbers
  • meal allowances, meal breaks and higher duties
  • classification definitions
  • ‘road transport industry’ and ‘driver’ definitions.

A change to an employee’s ability to perform work under both awards on the same day will also be considered.


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