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Clerical and Administration Industry Guide

Introduction

Clerical or administrative work can span across many industries. In many instances, employees who are employed to undertake clerical or administrative work will be covered by the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020, despite the business itself not being covered by the award or actually providing clerical services. This is due to the award being an occupational award.

However, while the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020 does cover employees who predominately carry out clerical and administrative work, and their employers in the private sector, it does not apply to:

  • Employees covered by a modern enterprise award which applies to specific businesses rather than industries.
  • Employers covered by a modern award that contains its own clerical classifications, for example
    • Aged Care Award 2020.
    • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020.
    • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020.
    • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2020.
    • Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award 2020.
    • Fitness Industry Award 2020.
    • General Retail Industry Award 2020.
    • Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020.
    • Higher Education Industry—General Staff—Award 2020.
    • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020.
    • Legal Services Award 2020.
    • Restaurant Industry Award 2020.
    • Sporting Organisations Award 2020.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. As such it is essential that the classification descriptions and coverage of each applicable modern awards be considered when determining appropriate award coverage for a position.

In cases where more than one modern award covers an employer, the employee will be covered by the modern award containing the classification that’s best suited to the work they’re performing.  

Award Coverage and Employee Entitlements

While this guide provides an outline of the provisions which apply under the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020, it is essential that you do refer to the full Award document for specific provisions which may apply, including specific provisions for shift workers.

Employment Types

An employee covered by this award must be one of the following:

Full-time employees

A full-time employee is:

  • an employee who is engaged to work 38 ordinary hours per week, or
  • an employee who is engaged to work the number of ordinary hours (fewer than 38) per week that is considered full-time at the workplace by the employer.

The number of ordinary hours worked per week by a full-time employee may be averaged over a period of up to 4 weeks or over an agreed roster period.

Part-time employees

A part-time employee is:

  • an employee who is engaged to work for fewer ordinary hours than 38 per week (or the number of ordinary hours per week that is considered full-time at the workplace) on a reasonably predictable basis.

At the time of engaging a part-time employee, the employer and employee must agree in writing on all of the following:

  • the number of hours to be worked each day (note a part-time employee must be engaged for a minimum of 3 consecutive hours per shift); and
  • the days of the week on which the employee will work; and
  • the times at which the employee will start and finish work each day.

Changes to the number of hours to be worked, or to the times at which the employee will start and finish work each day must be agreed in writing between the employer and employee.

The days worked may be changed by the employer by giving the employee 7 days’ notice of the change.

All time worked in excess of the number of ordinary hours agreed to is overtime and must be paid at the overtime rate in accordance with clause 21—Overtime.

Casual employees

An employee is a casual employee if they are engaged as a casual employee.

A casual employee is entitled to be paid a loading of 25% on top of the minimum hourly rate otherwise applicable under clause 16—Minimum rates for each hour worked.

The casual loading is payable instead of other entitlements (such as entitlement to paid leave) from which casuals are excluded by the terms of the award and the NES.

When a casual employee works overtime, they must be paid the overtime rates in accordance with the Award.

An employer must pay a casual employee for a minimum of 3 hours’ work on each engagement even if they are rostered to work for fewer than 3 consecutive hours.

A person engaged as a regular casual employee may request that their employment be converted to full-time or part-time employment. Where a regular casual employee seeks to convert to full-time or part-time employment, the employer may agree to or refuse the request, but the request may only be refused on reasonable grounds and after there has been consultation with the employee.

Employee Classifications and Minimum Rates

How to determine position classification levels

It is important to note that the responsibilities, job titles and duties listed under each classification in an Award are indicative only and serve to provide a useful guideline for matching each position within your business to a classification within the Award. An employee does not need to perform all of the tasks, job titles or duties listed to fit within a given classification.

How to locate minimum rates

The current minimum base wage rates can be found in the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020 or the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020 Pay Guide. Both documents are available from the Resources section of our website (www.hradviceonline.com.au).

Annualised salary arrangements

An employer may pay a full-time employee an annualised wage in satisfaction, subject of any, or all, of the following provisions of the award:

  • clause 13.8 (Make-up time); and
  • clause 16—Minimum rates; and
  • clause 19—Allowances; and
  • clause 21—Overtime (employees other than shiftworkers); and
  • clause 22—Rest period after working overtime (employees other than shiftworkers); and
  • clause 23—Time off instead of payment for overtime (employees other than shiftworkers); and
  • clause 24—Penalty rates (employees other than shiftworkers); and
  • clause 26—Ordinary hours of work and rostering for shiftwork; and
  • clause 28—Overtime for shiftwork; and
  • clause 29—Time off instead of payment for overtime for shiftwork; and
  • clause 30—Rest period after working overtime for shiftwork; and
  • clause 31—Penalty rates for shiftwork; and
  • clause 32.3—Annual leave loading.

Where an annualised wage is paid, the employee must be advised of this in writing, and records must be maintained of:

  • the annualised wage that is payable;
  • which of the provisions of this award will be satisfied by payment of the annualised wage;
  • the method by which the annualised wage has been calculated, including specification of each separate component of the annualised wage and any overtime or penalty assumptions used in the calculation; and
  • the outer limit number of ordinary hours which would attract the payment of a penalty rate under the award and the outer limit number of overtime hours which the employee may be required to work in a pay period or roster cycle without being entitled to an amount in excess of the annualised wage in accordance with clause 18.1(c).

If in a pay period or roster cycle an employee works any hours in excess of either of the outer limit amounts specified pursuant to clause 18.1(b)(iv),such hours will not be covered by the annualised wage and must separately be paid for in accordance with the applicable provisions of this award.

The annualised wage must be no less than the amount the employee would have received under the award for work performed over the year for which the wage is paid. If the employment ceases earlier, the annualised wage must be no less than the amount the employee would have received under the award for work performed over the lesser period worked.

At least each 12 months from the commencement of the annualised wage arrangement, or upon the termination of employment of the employee, the employer must calculate the amount of remuneration that would have been payable to the employee under the provisions of this award over the relevant period and compare it to the amount of the annualised wage actually paid to the employee. Where the latter amount is less than the former amount, the employer shall pay the employee the amount of the shortfall within 14 days.

An employer must keep a record of the starting and finishing times of work, and any unpaid breaks taken, of each employee subject to an annualised wage arrangement for the purpose of undertaking the comparison required. This record must be signed by the employee or acknowledged as being correct in writing (this can be by electronic means) by the employee, each pay period or roster cycle.

Hours of work and overtime

Ordinary hours of work

The maximum number of ordinary hours that can be worked in a week by an employee is an average of:

  • 38 hours per week over a period of up to 4 weeks; or
  • 38 hours per week over a roster period agreed between the employer and the employee.

Ordinary hours may be worked between:

  • 7.00 am and 7.00 pm on Monday to Friday; and
  • 7.00 am and 12.30 pm on Saturday.

However, the spread of ordinary hours may be altered by up to one hour at either end by agreement between the employer and the majority of employees concerned, or by individual agreement between the employer and the employee.

Note: if one or more employees covered by this award work in association with other employees who are covered by a different modern award, and:

  • that different modern award sets a spread of hours other than that set out in clause 13.3 of the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020, and
  • those other employees work ordinary hours outside the spread of hours set out in clause 13.3 of the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020.

The employer may direct the employees to perform work within the spread of ordinary hours prescribed by the modern award that covers the majority of employees at the workplace.

For example:

An employee covered by this award works in association with employees who are covered by an award that sets ordinary hours of work between 5.30 am and 6.30 pm Monday to Friday. The award that sets ordinary hours of work between 5.30 am and 6.30 pm Monday to Friday covers the majority of employees at the workplace. The employer may direct the employee covered by the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020 to work ordinary hours between 5.30 am and 6.30 pm Monday to Friday (rather than the spread set out in clause 13.3 of the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020).

Overtime

An employer must pay an employee at the overtime rate for any hours worked at the direction of the employer:

  • in excess of the ordinary weekly hours or
  • in excess of 10 ordinary hours on any one day (excluding unpaid meal breaks) or
  • outside the spread of ordinary hours or
  • for overtime worked on a rostered day off that is not substituted or banked or
  • for part-time employees, in excess of the number of ordinary hours that the employee has agreed to work.

An employee is entitled to be paid overtime when the total overtime an employee has worked in one week reaches a minimum of half an hour.

An employer must pay an employee a minimum of 3 hours at overtime rates for work performed on a Saturday where an employee has worked 38 hours or more over Monday to Friday

An employee required to work overtime hours on a Sunday is entitled to not less than 4 hours ‘pay (inclusive of ordinary hours worked).

Rest breaks

Employees are entitled to the following rest breaks based on the number of hours worked:

Hours worked Break Entitlements
More than 3 but not more than 8 ordinary hours One 10 minute paid rest break (to be taken at a time determined by the employer)
More than 8 ordinary hours Two 10 minute paid rest breaks (to be taken at a time determined by the employer)
More than 4 hours overtime on a Saturday morning One 10 minute paid rest break
 
Meal breaks

An employee who works more than 5 hours at a time is entitled to one 30 to 60 minute unpaid meal break. This break is to be taken within the first 5 hours of work and within 5 hours after resuming work after a meal break. Meal breaks are unpaid and not treated as time worked.

An employer must pay an employee who is required to work through their meal break 200% of the minimum hourly rate from when the meal break would have commenced until a meal break is allowed.  

Allowances

Minimum allowance provisions in the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020 are:

First Aid allowance

A first aid allowance applies to an employee who:

has current first aid qualifications and training (such as a certificate from St John Ambulance Australia or a similar body) that the employer considers appropriate and is appointed by the employer to perform first aid duty.

Higher duties allowance

An employee required to perform any of the duties of a higher classification for more than one day at least the minimum rate applicable to the higher level under this award is entitled to payment of a higher duties allowance.

Clothing and footwear allowance

An employee must be reimbursed if they are required to work in conditions damaging to clothing for the cost of purchasing any uniforms and protective clothing not supplied or paid for by the employer.

An employer must reimburse an employee who:

  • is constantly required to work in conditions that are wet and damaging to footwear for the cost of purchasing appropriate protective footwear not supplied or paid for by the employer.
  • is required to wear a uniform for the cost of purchasing the uniform.

If the employee is required to launder a uniform that they are required to wear, the employer must pay the employee an allowance

Meal allowance

A meal allowance is payable to an employee if:

  • the employee is required to work overtime of more than 1.5 hours after the employee’s ordinary time of ending work, and
  • the employee was not given at least 24 hours’ notice of the requirement to work overtime.

Alternatively, the employer must supply the employee with a meal.

Vehicle allowance

An employer who requires an employee to use their own motor vehicle in performing their duties must pay the employee a per kilometer allowance up to a maximum of 400 kilometres per week.

Living away from home allowance

A living away from home allowance applies to an employee who:

  • is required by the employer to temporarily work away from their usual place of employment; and
  • the location at which the employee is required to work makes it necessary for the employee to stay overnight away from their usual place of residence; and
  • the employee is not provided with fares, meals and accommodation by the employer.

If you require assistance with managing employees within a clerical or administrative environment, or if you require HR Advice, please contact the team at HR Advice Online on 1300 720 004.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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