There are many different allowances that can be paid in the building and construction industry. These allowances are payments made in addition to an employee’s base rate of pay and are usually to either compensate an employee for difficult conditions or to reward an employee for additional skills.

What sorts of allowances apply to the building and construction industry?

Building and construction industry allowances are usually one of three types:

  • Travel associated with on-site work.
  • Specific conditions or disadvantages associated with the worksite.
  • Additional skills that may be required to perform certain types of work.

Travel allowance

If an employee has to travel as part of their on-site work, generally they will be eligible to receive a travel allowance. The allowance is generally paid to compensate the employee for the expense or inconvenience of the extra travel; the amount depends on the distance travelled. Travel allowance is usually not paid if an employer provides transport to and from site.

Full details of any travel allowances will be included in your industrial instrument.

Example: travel allowance and work vehicles

Simone is an employee of a construction company and is employed under the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 (Building Award). Simone is provided a work vehicle to travel to and from work and she is unsure if she is entitled to receive the travel allowance provided in the Building Award.

The Building Award provides that the travel allowance is payable on any day that the employer provides a vehicle free of charge to the employee for any purpose related to their employment contract and the employee is required to drive this vehicle from their home to work and back.

Allowances in specific conditions

Building and construction employees work under a variety of conditions. This can sometimes mean having to work in situations that are less comfortable or more dangerous than usual. This may include working:

  • at heights
  • in bad weather including extreme cold, hot weather or wet conditions
  • in dirty conditions.

Some instruments provide allowances for working in these types of conditions.

Special conditions may also include working with:

  • asbestos
  • acid
  • toxic substances
  • explosive power tools that may pose risks to employees.

Full details of any specific conditions allowances will be included in your industrial instrument.

Allowances for additional skills

Some jobs require that you gain additional trade skills or qualifications, or have a high level of experience in a particular area. In these instances, an employee may be entitled to receive an allowance to recognise their additional skills or qualifications.

Full details of any allowances payable for additional skills or qualifications will be included in your industrial instrument.