Daily Hire and Weekly Hire Types of Employment

Daily Hire and Weekly Hire Types of Employment

Under the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2020 being a Modern Award, employees must be engaged under one of the following types of employment:

  • Daily hire (full-time or part-time)
  • Full-time weekly hire
  • Part-time weekly hire
  • Casual

A unique aspect of the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2020 (the Award) is that the majority of classifications and employees under this Modern Award are regarded as ‘daily hire’ employees. This reflects the long-held historical view that employees in the industry are typically engaged on a temporary basis, rotating from one site to another and impacted by seasonal workflows, short-term program cycles, and project-specific engagement.

Who are daily hire employees?

Being engaged as ‘daily hire’ has a consequential effect in several areas within the Award, including:

  • The daily wage rate incorporates a specific payment called a ‘follow the job loading’, which is designed to offset the anticipated loss of wages through periods of unemployment throughout the year (clause 19.3);

  • A mandatory notice period of one day or payment in lieu, except in situations of summary dismissal, irrespective of the employee’s length of service (clause 9.1). This provision is reflected in the exemption from general notice periods for daily hire employees in the National Employment Standards (NES);

  • The notice period of one day can be satisfied by the employer providing the employee with their notice at or before their usual starting time (clause 9.1).

At the commencement of employment, the employer must advise each employee in writing whether they are classified as daily hire (either part-time or full-time), full-time weekly hire, part-time weekly hire, or engaged as casuals. We recommend referencing their classification on the payslip.

Who are casual employees?

Employers in the building and construction industry often use casual employment to meet short-term, intermittent or irregular work requirements. When terminating a casual employee, employers must have regard for the minimum engagement of four hours and advise the casual employee hour by hour regarding their engagement.  

A casual employee, other than an irregular, casual employee, who has been engaged by a particular employer for a sequence of periods of employment under the Award during a period of six months, has the right to elect to have their contract of employment converted to full-time or part-time employment if the employment is ongoing. 

Who are weekly hire employees?

Historically, civil construction employers have considered workers as ‘weekly hire’, including both full-time and part-time workers. Weekly hire employees fall under the community standard notice periods as prescribed under the NES, which increases based on the employee’s length of service and is further increased after two years of service by an additional week for employees over 45 years of age, taking the maximum to five (5) weeks.

These historical alignments from the 1970s are industry-specific in the current Modern Award. That is, employees under the building and construction stream or the civil construction stream may be engaged as either daily hire or weekly hire employees as confirmed in writing at the time of engagement.

Notice Given for Resignation or Termination – Building and Construction Workers

The below table details the minimum period of notice given for resignation or termination for daily hire and weekly hire employees consistent with the industry-specific scheme.

Resignation by Employee Comparison Table – Building and Construction Workers

The below table articulates the significant difference in statutory entitlements for daily hire compared to weekly hire in relation to the severance payment that the employee is entitled to upon resignation.

Employees engaged under this Award have no entitlement under the National Employment Standard community standard.

Resignation by Employee Comparison Table – Building and Construction Workers

Nominal representation – 38 hours @40 per hour

Resignation by Employee Comparison Table – Building and Construction Workers

Nominal representation – 38 hours @ $40 per hour

Industry-Specific Redundancy for Building and Construction workers:

A more difficult concept to understand is the industry-specific redundancy provisions for building workers separate from the community standard provisions of the NES. These industry Award provisions are capped at a maximum of 8 weeks’ pay for 4 years or more of service.

Employers can offset their redundancy liability by contributing to an industry-specific redundancy scheme, such as BERT or ACIRT. It is important to note that the Award definition of redundancy “means a situation where an employee ceases to be employed by an employer to whom this award applies, other than for reasons of misconduct or refusal of duty”. This has a significant effect and departure from the community NES redundancy standard that employees who resign with more than 12 months of service are considered ‘redundant’ and receive the same entitlement.

Redundancy by Employer Comparison Table

Redundant employees will receive the following redundancy payments with respect to continuous service with the employer. Employees engaged under this Award have no entitlement under the National Employment Standard community standard.

If you are a business with fewer than 15 employees, you are only exempt from paying NES Community Redundancy Payment. You are still required to pay the severance amounts as prescribed by the Award. The daily hires provisions operate outside the redundancy provisions of the National Employment Standard community standard.

Redundancy by Employer Comparison Table

Nominal worked example – 38 hours @ $40 per hour

Examples:

Paul has been engaged as a casual employee for three days per week to perform labouring on a local construction site. Paul is entitled to a minimum of four (4) hours of engagement under the Award and will work irregular hours working on the local construction project for five (5) months. Paul will accrue no entitlement to redundancy as a casual employee.

Peter has been engaged as a full-time employee for a local painting contractor for two years on daily hire, as indicated on the advertisement he applied for and his payslip. Peter has decided to resign to go on an extended holiday and provided his employer one (1) day’s notice. Peter has provided the required one (1) day’s notice and is entitled to the industry-specific redundancy payment on resignation with service exceeding twelve months. At two (2) years’ service, Peter is entitled to four (4) weeks’ pay. Peter’s employer may offset this entitlement by any amounts paid into a compliant redundancy trust such as ACIRT.

Tom has been engaged as a full-time employee for a local carpentry contractor for five years on daily hire, as indicated on the advertisement he applied for and his payslip. Due to a downturn, Tom’s employer consulted with him and provided him one (1) day’s notice of his termination due to the lack of redeployment opportunities. He is also entitled to the industry-specific redundancy payment on termination as his service exceeded four (4) years. At four (4) years of service, Tom is entitled to the maximum eight (8) weeks’ pay. Tom’s employer may offset this entitlement by any amounts paid into a compliant redundancy trust.

Greg has been engaged as a full-time employee for a local civil construction contractor for five (5) years on weekly hire, as indicated on his employment contract and his payslip. After a period of employee consultation and without any available redeployment opportunities, Greg’s employer has provided four (4) weeks’ notice of his termination. Greg, at 35 years, was provided with the required four (4) weeks’ notice and is entitled to the industry-specific redundancy payment on termination with service exceeding four (4) years. At four (4) years’ service, Greg is entitled to eight (8) weeks’ pay. Greg’s employer may offset this entitlement by any amounts paid into a compliant redundancy trust.

It remains important to note these industry-specific arrangements are separate and different to the community standard under most Awards, the National Employment Standard, and the Fair Work Act 2009.

For queries, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529, 0417 622 178 or dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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