The overwhelming majority of NSW councils have signed up to a workplace deal that will protect thousands of local government jobs during the current health crisis, providing job retention payments for workers unable to undertake their usual roles due to COVID-19 service closures.
Negotiated between local government unions, councils, and employer association Local Government NSW, more than 100 councils have already signed on to the Local Government (COVID-19) Splinter Award 2020, which was approved by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission late yesterday.
The Splinter Award, which will apply for 12 months, is designed to deal specifically with the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis, operating in addition to the existing award and any enterprise agreements at individual councils.
Council’s will be required to look for other suitable work for employees whose usual jobs have been impacted by mandatory closures or other changes, and where this isn’t possible those workers will be paid a weekly job retention allowance of $858.20 for a period of 13 weeks. Employees can supplement that allowance from their accrued annual or long service leave, taking it up to their ordinary pay rate.
It also entitles employees to up to four weeks of Special Leave at their normal pay rate to cover any period where no work can be provided, including if an employee is required to self-isolate.
USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly OAM said the agreement was designed to save jobs and provide financial security to local government workers facing the dramatic impacts of the current pandemic.
“This Splinter Award delivers immediate assistance to our members, particularly those who work in services that have been shut or disrupted by COVID-19 such as libraries and aquatic centres,” Mr Kelly said.
“Many of these workers have already been stood down without pay, or forced to take accrued leave, putting them in real financial hardship.
“This agreement, which the overwhelming majority of NSW councils have already signed up to, provides certainty and security to workers in these difficult times, keeping more staff in paid employment longer.
“The central features are a requirement for councils to look for alternate work that staff can be redeployed into during the crisis, along with special leave provisions and a job retention allowance that ensure a minimum financial safety net for all local government workers.
“We are continuing to work with other councils and expect more to sign up to the Splinter Award, extending this same support and assistance to their staff during the current crisis.”
Further information about the Splinter Award and a full list of councils that have signed up to it are available here: https://usu.org.au/local-government-covid-19-splinter-award-2020-summary/
Further information: Tim Vollmer — 0404 273 313