Fares and Travel Pattern allowance varied by FWC Modern Award Review
Most employers in the construction industry would have a good understanding of the traditional ‘Fares and travel pattern allowance’ (‘Fares and Travel’) provisions that have existed in awards since the mid-1980s. However, there have been several changes to the award provisions arising from the Award Modernisation process over the last several years.
Section 156 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) provides that the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) must conduct a 4-yearly review of modern awards (the Review) as soon as practicable after 1 January 2014. That process has been undertaken for the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 (the Award), with representations from both unions and employer associations, and several significant Award variations have occurred as a result.
Firstly, the Commission determined, with an operative date of 1 from December 2018, that Fares and Travel would no longer be payable when an employee is taking a Rostered Day Off. Previously, the Award’s daily Fares and Travel allowance was payable on “any rostered day off taken as prescribed” [then clause 25.10.(a)(ii)]. However, the simplified Award provisions now mandate that the daily allowance is payable “per day for each day worked when the employee starts and finishes work on a construction site, or is required to perform prefabricated work in an open yard and is then required to erect or fix on-site”. [clause 25.1.(a)].
Secondly, the Commission also determined, with the same operative date, to vary the entitlements an employee may receive if they are required to travel from their home to a site outside the 50km radial area. Previously, the Award provided that in such circumstances, an employee was entitled to receive an additional payment being the time taken to travel from the radial boundary to the site and return [then clause 25.6], as well as a per km allowance from the boundary to the site if required to use their own vehicle.
The simplified Award provisions calculate an entitlement only if the site location is outside the radius (as before) and also more than 50kms travel from the employee’s residence [clause 25.4]. In such circumstances, the employee is now entitled to receive an additional payment based on the time taken to travel from the employee’s home to the site and return, and a per km allowance from home to site if the employee uses their own vehicle.
It is important to note that if you are an employer whose business is covered by an enterprise agreement, the above variations may have to be read in conjunction with both the previous and current Fares and Travel provisions. Typically, building agreements will contain a clause that enshrines the award provisions at the time of certification and provides for any further amendments that provide a better outcome for employees.
4 yearly review of modern awards – Construction Awards  FWFCB 6019, including the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020
For queries about Fares and Travel, award provisions, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 WAL LAW or via email to email@example.com
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.