The Fair Work Commission introduced a model term for shutdowns that affects 78 awards including the Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2020 (clause 21) and the Clerks (Private Sector) Award 2020 (clause 32). Employers and employees can mutually agree for the staff member to take unpaid leave during a temporary shutdown period, but an employer can no longer direct an employee with no accrued leave to take unpaid leave. This change took effect on 1 May 2023.
As taking unpaid leave during a shutdown period is now by mutual agreement, employers will need to pay ordinary time wages or find reasonable duties for employees who do not have enough annual leave accrual to cover the shutdown period, unless they agree to take unpaid leave.
We encourage employers to plan and recommend they ensure their letters of engagement and policies refer to the annual shut down if one is planned. Employers are reminded that the Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award and the Clerks (Private Sector) Award require written notice be given of the temporary shutdown.
Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For further information, call ECA Legal on (08) 6241 6129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.