Monday 19th Nov, 2018

FWC provisionally concludes “ordinary work week” for seafarers should be 38 hours

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

THE Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission handed down a provisional decision that may affect the pay rate for Australian seafarers, albeit minimally.

The Full Bench was looking at whether the Seagoing Industry Award 2010 was inconsistent with the National Employment Standard in the Fair Work Act 2009 concerning maximum working hours.

The discrepancy between the two comes down to the Seagoing Award defining an ordinary work week at 40 hours Monday through Friday for full-time employees, and the FW Act defines the same as 38 hours.

The Bench provisionally concluded that the Seagoing Industry Award should decrease the number of hours that constitutes an ordinary work week to 38.

The provisional conclusion also stated that there needed to be a 5% reduction in the rates of pay set out in the Seagoing industry Award, in line with the proposed reduction in ordinary hours from 40 to 38.

In the decision, the Full Bench wrote the change would “leave employees better rather than worse off under the award’s minimum rates. If an employee works 40 hours or more (as is overwhelmingly likely on a maritime voyage), an additional 2 hours work will be paid at the overtime rate rather than the ordinary-time rate.

“In the unlikely event that the employee works only 38 hours, the weekly rate will be lower, but the employee will be required to work two less hours.”

There is a period of 28 days (starting 12 January) for parties to file written submissions in relation to the draft determination.

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