Changes to the Construction Industry Award

Reminder on the Changes to the Building and Construction General On-site Award

Significant changes to the Building and Construction General On-site Award that took effect from 1st July 2020 are as follows. Both employers and employees should note the changes. Employers should ensure they are implemented from the first full pay period after 1st July 2020.

The tool allowance has also been revised to make it clear that employees are entitled to the allowance to cover maintaining their existing tools, not just purchasing new tools. Employees are also now allowed to be reimbursed for steel-capped boots they are required to wear.

An important change relates to the travel allowance employees receive. This allowance usually is $17.43 per day. Employees will now only receive this allowance, where they:

  • Start and finish their workday on a construction site.
  • They are required to perform prefabricated work in an open yard and are then required to erect or fix the prefabricated materials on-site.

Employees will no longer receive the travel allowance if provided with or offered free transport from their home to work and return by the employer or provided with a fully maintained vehicle. Employees will also no longer get the allowance on days they do not work, like on an RDO or leave day.

Other changes that both employers and employees should note include:

  1. Living away from home – distance work – The Award amendments clarify an employer’s obligations about this allowance. There are now clear options regarding how entitlements are to be provided and how meal expenses can be reimbursed.
  2. RDOs – The Award now provides greater flexibility concerning RDOs. This includes allowing for the banking of RDOs and allowing an agreement to be reached between the employee and employer as to how and when an RDO is taken.
  3. Ordinary Hours of work – Ordinary hours of work for part-time and casual employees have been capped at 8 hours per day.
  4. Time off in lieu – The Award now allows an employer and employee to agree to take time off instead of being paid for overtime that has been worked. This ability is not open to all employees covered by the Award, and the Award contains several safeguards that need to be met to use the provision. Employers should read the conditions carefully before implementing these arrangements.
  5. Payment of annual leave – The Award now simplifies how annual leave loading is to be calculated.
  6. Simplified provisions – many provisions have been simplified and redrafted, including those mentioned above.