The new Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union Enterprise Agreement 2020 - 2022 (CFMMEU EA) presents some new approaches from the CFMMEU, and relative content differences from the previous 2018 - 2019 Agreement. The headline changes within the new CFMMEU EA include:
- the introduction of 3% yearly pay increases from July 2021 onwards;
- a 12.9% cost reduction for employers and projects valued less than $50 million; and
- a definition of 'regular and systematic' for casual employment.
Comparative to the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 (the Award), and the previous 2018 - 2019 CFMEU Agreement, the 2020 - 2022 CFMMEU EA is structured so that employees receive significant wage increases at a rate of 3% from 1 July 2021. The CFMMEU EA also contains provisions providing particular industry allowances that were removed from the Award in July 2020 (e.g. site allowance).
The CFMEU EA includes a new definition to clarify "regular and systematic" as an average of four days or more over six weeks. On the face of it, this opens employers up to conversion requests from casual employees which cannot be refused without reasonable grounds. However, the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) will protect employers against the risk of underpayment when it involves 'double dipping'. See DWF's previous article on casual employment reforms for further information on these changes.
Amendments specific to project value segmentation under the new CFMMEU EA will also provide employers with a 12.9% costs reduction, or an average saving of about $3,000 per year per person, on projects where the Total Cost of Work is less than $50 million.
The differentiation in costs is the result of minimisations to overtime penalty rates, weekly redundancy payments, and superannuation and allowance payments on projects of the lesser value.
Comparatively, on projects greater than $50 million in value, employers are still required to make superannuation contributions on behalf of employees at an increased minimum weekly amount of $255 per week. Notwithstanding, in instances where an employee works on multiple sites during the working week with one being a project $50 million or greater in value, then the higher contribution will be applicable.
Other considerable inclusions in the CFMMEU EA include:
- Hot Weather Guidelines – when the temperature reaches 35°C (anywhere in Queensland) it will constitute inclement weather.
- Air Quality – if air quality reaches 75 micrograms per cubic metre, there must be a complete cessation of work with only safe completion of critical tasks allowable.
- Welcome to Country – must be arranged when number of workers reaches 50.
- Training – requirement to coordinate particular asbestos awareness and silica dust training within specific time frames.
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Ashleigh O'Connor to this article.
If you require further information or have any queries in relation to this legal update, please contact Matthew Smith or Mason Fettell.