If you work in the South Australian construction industry, you should make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities ahead of the planned rally in the Adelaide CBD on Wednesday, 23 October 2019.

Employees who are rostered to work and want to attend the rally should get permission to take time off work from their employer.

If an employee fails to get prior written permission from their employer to be absent from work they may be taking unlawful industrial action, which could lead to civil penalty proceedings and fines.

On Site app

The ABCC On Site app helps employees to understand what steps to take to lawfully attend a rally, and what will happen to their pay if they miss work to attend.

It helps employers understand their options if their employees want to attend a rally, and what the rules are about paying employees who leave work to attend.

You can download ABCC On Site from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

We’re here to help

The ABCC is available at any time to provide advice and assistance to employers and employees.  Further information on these requirements can be found on the ABCC website under industrial action. Alternatively, you can call the ABCC Hotline on 1800 003 338.

What should employees do?

If employees who are rostered to work want to attend the rally they should talk to their employer about whether they can attend during work time or take leave to attend.

If the employer gives permission to attend the rally during work time or approves leave to attend, employees should ask their employer to confirm the permission in writing.

If an employee attends the rally during their work hours without prior written permission from their employer, they are not able to be paid for the period of the absence (or four hours, whichever is greater). It is also unlawful for employees to ask their employer to pay them for any period when they are not at work as a result of taking unlawful industrial action.

What should employers do?

Employers can allow employees to be absent from work to attend the rally (for example by allowing employees to use their annual leave). Employers must not unreasonably refuse an employee’s request to take annual leave.

Prior to the rally, employers may want to discuss the rally with their employees.

Employers may want to inform their employees that it is unlawful for the employer to pay its employees for any period they are taking unlawful industrial action.

What about employers covered by the Building Code 2016?

Code covered entities must report to the ABCC as soon as practicable but no later than 24 hours after becoming aware of:

  • any actual or threatened protected or unprotected industrial action by their employees on Commonwealth funded building sites

  • any actual or threatened unprotected industrial action by their employees on privately funded building sites.

Code covered entities who have authorised their employees to take time off work do not need to report employee absences to the ABCC. Whether an employer authorises employees to be absent (to attend rallies or otherwise) is a matter for the employer and their workforce.

21 October 2019


Media contact

James Martin

Senior Adviser - Media James.Martin@abcc.gov.au 0436 375 478
Media contact

Edda Mwangi

Adviser - Media Edda.Mwangi@abcc.gov.au (03) 8509 3087 0438 321 171