22 May 2016Employers, workers and unions reminded of workplace rights and responsibilities ahead of Melbourne mass meeting

Building and construction workers planning to attend a proposed mass meeting in Melbourne next Wednesday should be aware that doing so without their employers’ permission could attract penalties.

Fair Work Building and Construction Director Nigel Hadgkiss urged workers who plan to attend the meeting to make sure their actions do not breach the Fair Work Act 2009.

“Workers must have permission from their employer if they want to participate in the meeting outside of their break times,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“Workers have the right to meet and express their views peacefully, but they must do so within the law. Penalties may apply if their conduct constitutes unlawful action.”

Employers and unions are also reminded to make sure they meet their obligations relating to strike pay.

"Under the Fair Work Act, people cannot be paid ‘strike-pay’ for the time they spend at the meeting. Employers may be penalised if they are found to have paid staff for attending the meeting outside regular break times,” Mr Hadgkiss said.  

Unions can also be fined if they are found to have demanded ‘strike-pay’.

“Breaches of the Fair Work Act can potentially lead to Federal Court Action and penalties of up to $10,800 for an individual and $54,000 for employers and unions,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

FWBC encourages anyone who has any questions about their workplace entitlements and obligations to get in touch through our hotline on 1800 003 338.

FWBC is available to provide information and advice on workplace rights and obligations to workers, employers and their representatives. You can remain anonymous when you make an enquiry.

“These rights and obligations are designed to ensure the ongoing productivity of the building and construction industry. All Australians, including industry participants, gain from a productive industry,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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