Bosses are using JobKeeper enabling directions to make staff work longer than they did pre-conoronavirus.
And it’s reasonable to do it, according to a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission involving cash-in-transit company Prosegur.
Bosses using JobKeeper enabling directions
Recent changes to the Fair Work Act allow employers to request workers on JobKeeper work different times or days if it is reasonable in the circumstances.
As a result of the pandemic, Prosegur suffered a downturn in business.
The company took a number of measures to reduce costs, including senior staff taking a 20 percent pay cut.
Additionally, it introduced a leave reduction program and a ban on shifts for short-term casuals.
Furthermore, Prosegur announced a minimum 25-hour work week for armoured vehicle operations.
The union objected, calling the move unreasonable because:
- the direction resulted in a disproportionate reduction in hours for permanent staff as most full and part-time employees regularly worked up to 50-hours and 35-hours respectively; and
- some part-time and casual employees will have to work more hours under the new arrangement, and the JobKeeper rules did not permit increasing casuals’ hours without their agreement.
Fair Work Commission finds directions ‘reasonable’
However, deputy president Peter Sams found the changes reasonable after considering the actual hours worked by employees following the JobKeeper-enabled directions.
Mr Sams found:
- casual employees are now working less than 30-hours;
- part-time employees are now working more than 30-hours; and
- full-time employees are generally working 28-hours a week, which is the award minimum.
Mr Sams said any overtime is not a guaranteed arrangement.
He said implementing a roster with a weekly minimum of 24-hours is the only “balanced, rational and practical decision to have been made”.
“To rigidly ensure and apply exactly the same hours for all employees, would, in my opinion, be an administrative and rostering nightmare, that would impose an unreasonable burden on Prosegur.”
Therefore, Mr Sams found the JobKeeper-enabled directions were not unreasonable in the circumstances.
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