This is the first of several updates we’ll be sending out over the next few months outlining specific benefits of union membership as outlined in the 2020 NSW Local Government (State) Award.
B. UNION PICNIC DAY
- Union Picnic Day shall for the purposes of this Award be regarded as a holiday for employees who are financial members of the union(s). The Union Picnic Day shall be on such day as is agreed between the employer and the union(s).
- The union(s) shall advise the employer of financial members as at the time of the Union Picnic Day. Such advice must be given at least two weeks prior to the Union Picnic Day.
- Employees who are not financial members of the union(s) and who are required to work on Union Picnic Day, shall be paid ordinary pay for their normal working day.
- Employees who are not financial members of the union(s) and who are not required to work on Union Picnic Day, may apply to the employer to take annual leave, long service leave, time off in lieu of overtime, leave without pay, such other leave as may be approved by the employer, or may be required by the employer to make up time.
In general, most Councils only grant the Union Picnic Day off for ‘Financial’ Union members.
Unions are required to provide a list of financial members where a Union Picnic Day is being held, at least 2 weeks prior to the Union Picnic Day.
In Sydney there is one Union Picnic Day in March each year, run by the USU. Elsewhere they can occur on any day that is AGREED between the employer and the Unions. Where there is no agreement on a date, the matter can be referred to the Industrial Commission as a dispute.
Some Councils do grant all staff a day off, or a day in lieu for Union Picnic Day, regardless of whether they are Union members or not, generally granting special leave.
The USU has been fairly successful on occasions in ending this practice at some Councils by requesting the cost to the Employer for granting non-unionists a day off that they are not entitled to, then by raising the cost with Council. There have been several recent examples of this.
The award is very clear in Section (iii) that employees who are not Financial Members of the Union/s and who are required to work on Union Picnic Day shall only be entitled to ordinary pay for their normal working day, which falls on Union Picnic day.
The USU is yet to see any employer pay Holiday Loading rates for any non-member of a union required to work on Union Picnic Day.
Any financial member of a Union who is required to work on their Union Picnic Day, is entitled to the following as per Clause 21. Holidays, A. General (iv) and (vi):
- The days on which holidays shall be observed are as follows: New Years’ Day; Australia Day; Good Friday; Easter Saturday; Easter Sunday; Easter Monday; Anzac Day; Queen’s Birthday; Labour Day; Christmas Day; Boxing Day and all locally proclaimed holidays within the council’s area, and all special days proclaimed as holidays to be observed throughout the whole of the State of NSW.
- In addition to subclause (i), employees who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders shall be entitled to one day during NAIDOC week so that they can participate in National Aboriginal and Islander Day celebrations. Eligible employees shall provide the employer with at least seven (7) days’ notice of their intention to take the holiday in accordance with this subclause, provided that if less than seven (7) days’ notice is given such leave shall not be unreasonably refused.
- Where any of the holidays prescribed by this Award fall on a day ordinarily worked by the employee, the employee shall not have a reduction in ordinary pay.
- Except as otherwise provided, where an employee is required to work on a holiday as prescribed by this award, the employee shall be paid at double time and a half inclusive of payment for the day with a minimum payment of four hours worked.
- All employees classified in the Operational Band 1 of this Award employed in garbage, sanitary and sullage (other than the supervisor) who are required to work on Good Friday or Christmas Day shall be paid at triple time inclusive of payment for the day with a minimum payment of four hours work.
- Where an employee is required to work ordinary hours on a holiday as prescribed by this Award, the employer and the employee may agree that the employee be paid time and a half for the hours worked on a holiday and in addition, be granted equivalent time off in lieu to be paid at ordinary time for each holiday worked. Such leave shall be taken at a mutually convenient time.
- If a rostered day off falls on a public holiday as prescribed in paragraph 21A(i), the next working day will be substituted, or another day by agreement, except for employees engaged on a seven (7) day a week rotating roster system.
- An employee who prior to the operative date of this award was entitled to move a day off which was not a rostered day off where it fell on a public holiday shall retain that right.
- The employer may direct an employee to take accrued time in lieu for work on a public holiday by the giving of at least two (2) weeks’ notice in the following circumstances:
- (a) Where the employee has accumulated in excess of one (1) weeks’ time in lieu for work on a public holiday, or where the employee has accumulated a total of in excess of one (1) weeks’ time in lieu when combining:
(1) time in lieu for work on public holiday’s; and
(2) time in lieu of overtime under subparagraph 20A(vi)(a).
- (b) A period of annual close down of up to and including two (2) weeks where the employee does not have sufficient annual leave to cover the relevant close down period. The employer shall be able to rely on this provision prior to considering the provision of meaningful alternate duties.
Financial Union members who are required to work on Union Picnic Day are entitled to be paid ‘Double Time and a Half’ as per (iv) above, or can agree to be paid ‘Time and a Half’ for hours worked, plus accrue ‘Equivalent Time in Lieu’.
Unfortunately many financial Union members who work on Union Picnic Day often are only offered another day off in lieu.
Financial Union members have a very clear right and entitlement to Holiday Loadings of ‘Double Time and a Half’, or ‘Time and a Half plus Time in Lieu’ for working on their Union Picnic Day. Again, the USU is yet to see any employer covered by the award, pay non unionists Holiday Loadings for working on Union Picnic Day.
Union members have a right to claim their award entitlements for working on Union Picnic Day and not just accept another day off in lieu.
For further information please contact the Union on 1300 136 604, or your local organiser.