Workers considering taking part in public rallies scheduled to take place on Wednesday 10 April are being urged to familiarise themselves with their rights and responsibilities.
ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the key message to workers who are rostered to work and want to attend a rally was to get their employer’s written permission to take time off work.
Mr McBurney has also advised employers that they must not unreasonably refuse to agree to a request by the employee to take paid annual leave if they wish to attend a rally.
“If employees want to attend a rally they should talk to their employer about whether they can have time off work,” Mr McBurney said.
“Whether an employer agrees to allow its employees to take annual leave to attend a rally is a matter for the employer and their workforce. We simply ask that they follow their legal requirements.”
Under the Fair Work Act if an employee attends a rally without permission they are not able to be paid for the period of their absence or for four hours, whichever is greater. Employees who leave work without approval could face financial penalties if a court finds they engaged in unlawful industrial action.
“The ABCC wants to make sure that employers and employees understand their rights and are able to make an informed decision about whether to take part in a rally or not,” Mr McBurney said.
Employers covered by the Building Code 2016 are required to report any actual or threatened unprotected industrial action to the ABCC within 24 hours of becoming aware of it. If they have given permission for their employees to attend a rally they are not required to advise the ABCC.
Employers and employees are encouraged to contact the ABCC’s hotline on 1800 003 338 for advice on their rights and responsibilities ahead of the rallies, or visit: abcc.gov.au.