February 2014 Industry Update

Strike Pay: The Facts

 

Following a recent rally in Melbourne, FWBC wants to remind industry participants around Australia about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to strike pay. FWBC inspectors visited 39 sites during the rally and discovered that strike pay is a topic that people find confusing.

What you need to know

Employees are not allowed to ask for, or accept, strike pay from their employers. Employers are also not allowed to pay strike pay. Both employers and employees could face penalties if they do so.

As a general rule, employees should not be paid for any period they engage in protected or unprotected industrial action. (More commonly known as going ‘on strike’).

You can find more information about the difference between protected and unprotected industrial action here.

FWBC wants all industry participants to be informed and to make the right decision. Below are facts that you should know when it comes to strike pay.

Protected industrial action:

  • an employer must not pay the worker for the hours they do not work.

Unprotected industrial action:

  • if the action is for less than four hours, an employer must not pay the worker for four hours; or
  • if the action is for more than four hours, the employer must not pay the worker for the hours they do not work.

Partial work bans

Partial work bans usually take the form of a refusal to undertake a specific task or type of work for a period of time as a form of industrial action.

If a partial work ban is protected industrial action, an employer may pay the full wages or take steps to either:

  • reducing an employee’s wages by a specified proportion; or
  • withholding an employee’s wages for the entire period of the industrial action.

Individuals may face penalties of up to $10,200 and businesses up to $51,000 if they breach the strike pay rules.

For more information check-out our strike pay fact sheet or contact the FWBC hotline on 1800 003 338 for confidential advice.

We value your feedback on our Industry Update. Provide feedback or tell us what you would like in your update at: publicaffairs [at] fwbc.gov.au or contact Damien O’Meara on 03 8509 3041.

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