FWA clarifies pay rates for long distance truckers

Fair Work Australia clarifies pay rates for long distance trucking. Operators have been urged to pay attention

By Brad Gardner | August 6, 2010

Sections of the trucking industry will need to review how they pay their drivers after Fair Work Australia clarified wage rates for annual leave and public holidays.

Fair Work Senior Deputy President Anne Harrison has varied the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award that was introduced on July 1 as part of the award modernisation process. The ruling took effect on July 29.

Drivers must now be paid 30 percent leave loading and at the minimum weekly rate of pay in proportion to the amount of leave taken.

For instance, a driver classified under Grade 4 of the Award receives a minimum weekly pay of $653.40. If a driver only takes three days leave, the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation says the company will need to pay $392.04 (three days pay) plus the 30 percent leave loading.

Drivers who work Good Friday and Christmas must receive 30 percent of the minimum weekly rate plus payment for the time worked.

"At Grade 4, it would be $196.02 plus payment for the trip," an information bulletin released by the ARTIO says.

The rate for other public holidays is 20 percent plus payment, meaning a Grade 4 driver needs to be paid $130.68 on top of what they earn on the day.

"These variations now ensure the Award provisions are in accord with generally accepted industry practices in these areas," the ARTIO bulletin says.

Trucking operators using the Award are being urged by the ARTIO to ensure payroll staff are aware of the changes.

Prior to the variation, ARTIO industrial relations advisor Paul Ryan says the Award did not clarify how drivers should be paid for annual leave.

Because of this, he says some truck drivers under the Award misunderstood their entitlements.

"There was a clarifying clause in the old award but in the new award the clarifying clause was left out," he says.

Harrison also amended the wording of the Award to correct spelling errors, such as the reference to the Sturt Highway as "Stuart".

The variation also deleted the Newell Highway as the route for Brisbane to Melbourne and replaced it with the Pacific and Hume highways.

The award modernisation process reduced more than 120 transport awards into three, covering the long distance, general and cash in transit sectors.

Those not working under an enterprise agreement were required to switch to the new awards from July 1.

Click here to access the Fair Work Australia ruling.

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