Circulars

CIRCULARS

TTIA issues circulars to Members on a regular basis with updated information regarding Awards, industrial relations, occupational health and safety and general articles of interest for Members in the timber and timber products industry. Please click on the link.

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12 Sep NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING

The federal government have announced that Thursday 22 September will be a one-off public holiday as a national day of mourning to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The following day, Friday 23 September, is a public holiday in Victoria only. The holiday gives Victorians the Friday off before the AFL Grand Final. Victorians will therefore have a four-day weekend.

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24 Aug NEW LEGISLATION – PAID FAMILY AND  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE 

Members may be aware from recent widespread media reports that the federal government has introduced a bill to create a national entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave (FDVL) into the National Employment Standards (NES). 

The proposed entitlement replaces the current NES entitlement of five days unpaid FDVL and is available where an employee needs time off work to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence in circumstances where they cannot attend to matters outside of work hours. It is not uncommon for entitlements that were initially introduced by government on an unpaid leave basis to be converted to paid leave entitlements at a later date. 

TTIA Members will have received a comprehensive article on this issue in a recently emailed TTIA general circular.

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16 Aug GOVERNMENT RESTORES PANDEMIC LEAVE PAYMENT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30

The government has reinstated the pandemic leave payment for workers

who have to isolate and are unable to work but do not have sick leave.

The leave payment had originally expired on 30 June, however due to an

escalating COVID wave, the decision has been made to extend the payment

to 30 September 2022.

Application for the payment can be made from Wednesday 20 July, and

eligibility will be backdated to 1 July.

There has been no suggestion of the extension of mandated mask wearing,

although social distancing and the wearing of masks indoors in crowded

areas is strongly encouraged.

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30 Jun UNFAIR DISMISSAL HIGH INCOME THRESHOLD

Commencing 1 July 2022 the new high income threshold for unfair dismissal claims will increase to $162,000.

This means that employees earning more than $162,000 per year will not be able to lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission unless covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement.  Employees earning less than $162,000 per year may lodge an unfair dismissal claim regardless of whether they are covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement

TTIA has an in-house legal unit which is able to assist with unfair dismissal or any aspect of the termination of employment process.

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15 Jun ANNUAL WAGE REVIEW – DECISION

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced an increase of 5.2% to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) from 1 July 2022. 

  1. The Panel of the FWC has awarded an increase of $40 to the NMW which amounts to an increase of 5.2%.  The NMW will rise from $772.60 to $812.60 per week or $21.38 per hour amounting to a 5.2% increase.

 The Panel observed that this level of increase will protect the real value of the wages of the lowest-paid workers.

     2.   Modern award minimum wage rates above $869.60 per week will receive a 4.6% adjustment, wage rates below $869.60 per week will be adjusted by $40 per week.

 In most modern awards the effect of the Panel’s decision will be that the 4.6% adjustment will cut in around the C10, level 5, or trade level, and the flat $40 increase will apply to the lower classifications.

 TTIA will send out updated summary sheets to Members in due course.

 Please Note:  Superannuation Guarantee will increase to 10.5% from 1 July 2022.

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17 May RECENT CHANGES TO THE TIMBER INDUSTRY AWARD 2020 IN MAY 2022

As part of the ‘plain language’ re-drafting aspect of the 4 yearly review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission has recently made a number of changes to the Timber Industry Award 2020.  Whilst many of the changes are, as the name suggests, ‘plain language’ amendments, there are also other changes that members should be aware of.  We have made some comments about various changes – Members see emailed Member Alert dated 17 May 2022.
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01 Mar EMERGENCY FLOODING IN NSW/QLD

Members would be aware of the deluge and weather-related havoc being caused on the east coast at present. This affects a number of TTIA Members, particularly those on the far north coast.

I have provided a summary to explain the options available to TTIA Members in the affected areas – see Member Circulars – Urgent Member Advice. If you are any doubt, please contact the Association for more advice and support.

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31 Jan ELECTION OF TTIA COUNCIL MEMBERS – E2021/92

Nominations are called for:Timber Trade Industrial Association-Councillor (8) Nominations, which must be in writing and comply with the registered rules of the Organisation and may be made at any time from 9:00 am Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) 31/01/2022. Additional forms are available from the Returning Officer. Prospective candidates and nominators should verify their financial status and any other qualifications required by the Organisation’s rules prior to lodging nominations. Nominations must reach the Returning Officer via the lodgement method(s) stipulated below not later than 4:00 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) on 14/02/2022.
Nomination forms have been emailed to all TTIA financial Members. If you require further forms contact ttia@ttia.asn.au
HOW TO LODGE NOMINATIONS
Nominations must be lodged via the portal or email to IEBnominations@aec.gov.au

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13 Dec CONSULTATION KEY TO ENFORCING MANDATORY VACCINATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE

A Full Bench decision of the Fair Work Commission [CFMMEU & Matthew Howard v Mt Arthur Coal Pty Ltd T/A Mt Arthur Coal [2021] FWCFB 6059] has overturned a vaccine mandate introduced by BHP on 7 October this year at the Mt Arthur open cut coal mine in NSW citing that it was not a reasonable direction due to a failure to properly consult with employees prior to the implementation of the new policy and that any direction to an employee must be both lawful and reasonable.

The vaccine mandate had required employees to:

– have a single dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by 10 November 2021; and
– must be fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022.

Employees were informed that if they attended the workplace after midnight on 9 November 2021, they would not be permitted access to the workplace unless they provided their employer with evidence that they had had at least a single dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

An application was made by the CFMMEU under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) seeking that the Fair Work Commission deal with a dispute under the dispute resolution procedure in the employer’s enterprise agreement. There was agreement between both parties that the question of whether the vaccination mandate was a lawful and reasonable direction be arbitrated by the Fair Work Commission.

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission held that the vaccine mandate was not a reasonable decision because BHP had failed to properly consult its employees prior to implementing the policy. It found that BHP had engaged in ‘scant consultation’.

This decision reminds employers of the importance of compliance with consultation provisions within the Work Health & Safety legislation (being sections 47-49 for the NSW legislation).

Whilst the Fair Work Commission highlighted the lack of consultation, there were factors in favour of finding that the vaccine mandate was reasonable as follows:

– it was directed at ensuring the health and safety of the employees
– it had a logical and understandable basis.
– it was a reasonably proportionate response to the risk created by COVID-19.
– it was developed having regard to the circumstances at the workplace, including the fact that the employees cannot work from home and they come into contact with other employees whilst at work.
– the timing for its commencement was determined by reference to circumstances pertaining to NSW and the local area at the relevant time; and
– it was only implemented after Mt Arthur spent a considerable amount of time encouraging vaccination and setting up a vaccination hub for workers at the workplace.

The Full Bench decision held that there would have been a “strong case” for introducing the vaccine mandate had BHP consulted properly.

TTIA Members wishing to enforce a vaccine mandate should ensure they engage in a meaningful consultation before making any decision to implement a mandatory vaccination policy.

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