This is the first of 3 updates to be released over the next 4 weeks regarding Union member benefits which differ to non-union, under the 2017 NSW Local Government (State) Award.
These will explain and clarify 3 main areas of benefits that Union members have over non members.
Let’s take a look at the Picnic Day Clause.
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 20. 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 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.
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.