HRBC Forum Summary

May 2020: Local Government Splinter Award / Return to Work.

In May’s HR Breakfast Club NSW Council Edition, Legal Director Gabrielle Sullivan from BAL Lawyers presented on the Local Government Splinter Award and Return to Work.

The session began with a recap on the JobKeeper payment, and the Directions and Flexibility Agreements that accompany it. The stand-down provisions, change of duties, change of location, changed hours and leave impacts have seen significant changes for employers and employees alike.

As of 15 May 2020, orders now state that while it is not mandatory to work from home, employers must allow employees to WFH where it is reasonably practicable to do so. This objective test asks, what would a reasonable employer do, and implies that a request must made in determining whether or not permission is granted.

The Local Government State Award 2020 states that an employee can request to work from home as part of the flexibility provisions at clause 22. However, under the Local Government (COVID-19) Splinter Award 2020, where employees are unable to perform normal duties at their normal place of work due to COVID-19, the employer must explore different working locations, and providing employees with suitable alternative duties where available.

The Splinter Award applies from 8 April 2020 through to 7 April 2021 to named employers. Its key features are flexibility provisions around alternate work, work from home and special leave provisions.

Gabrielle then went on to discuss the Splinter Award’s application issues, and its unique challenges in the COVID-19 world.

Back to the HR Breakfast Club for NSW Local Government Main menu here.

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