Fares and Travel Pattern Allowances

Fares and Travel Pattern Allowances

The industry award covers employers throughout Australia in the on-site building, engineering and civil construction industry and their employees.

Workforce Advisory Lawyers specialises in working with employers in the building and construction industry.  This depth of experience makes us well placed to assist you in managing your business.

Employers must have a sound knowledge of the travel entitlements within the Award, as travel is an inherent requirement within the industry.

A copy of the full text of the Award can be found on the FWO website here.  It is important to note that if you are an employer whose business is covered by an enterprise agreement, the Award may be read in conjunction with both the agreement and the Award, the Award alone or the agreement alone.  Workforce Advisory can assist you with the application of your agreement.

Clause 26.  “Travelling time entitlements”.

The Award has always included a unique provision called ‘Fares and Travelling’, where most employees will receive an additional daily ‘fares and travel pattern allowance’ for commencing or finishing work on site.  However, the provisions have changed significantly through the award modernisation process.

What is a Radial area?

The Award at Clause 26 defines a metropolitan radial area of 50 kilometres from a capital city’s general post office (GPO) or a radius of 50 kilometres from a regional city or town’s principal post office (see radial areas below).

An employee required to start or finish work on a construction site within the radius will be entitled to receive the daily fares and travel pattern allowance.  Importantly, the allowance is not payable on any day when the employer:

  • Provides or offers to provide transport free of charge from the employee’s house to site and return; or
  • Provides a fully maintained vehicle free of charge to the employee.

If an employee is required to travel to a construction site that is outside the radius and located more than 50kms by road from their usual place of residence, they receive a separate entitlement which is travel time from home to site and return at their ordinary hourly rate.

An employer and employee may agree on a radial area of 50 kilometres from the employer’s place of business or a larger radial area under an enterprise agreement approved by the Fair Work Commission or within an Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA).  Workforce Advisory can assist you and your employees in considering your options.

The 50kms radial areas commonly identified by Google Maps include the below examples:

What is the fares and travel patterns allowance?

An employee who starts or finishes on a construction site must be paid the fares and travel patterns allowance regardless of whether an employee drives, rides, walks or catches public transport to work.  The Award fares and travel patterns allowance is no longer payable on a rostered day-off.

The fares and travel patterns allowance is not payable to an employee who is provided with (or offered) free transport to and from an employee’s home to a worksite.

Once an employee is accommodated near a distant site, they must be paid the fares and travel patterns allowance for the days they present for work.  However, if an employee engaged in distant work lives on-site (or near the site and is provided with transport), then they are not entitled to the fares and travel patterns allowance (subclause 25.6 (d)).

Are wages paid for travel outside 50kms radial area?

As travel to different sites is an inherent requirement of working in the building industry, employees are generally not entitled to wages for the time spent travelling between home and work.  However, where an employee is required to travel outside the 50 kilometre radial area, and it is more than 50km by road from their usual place of residence, employers must pay ordinary rates for the time spent travelling in lieu of the daily fares and travel patterns allowance.  The additional wages are payable to both employees using their own vehicle, passengers, and employees supplied with transport or a company vehicle.

For time travelled outside the radial boundary outside of their ordinary hours (i.e. 7:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday), an employee will be entitled to only the ordinary hourly rates (not overtime rates) calculated to the nearest quarter of an hour, with a minimum payment of half an hour for the return journey from the employee’s home to the site and back to the employee’s home.

These distant work payments are not payable when, at the commencement of employment, the employee’s usual place of residence was more than 50km by road from the construction site on which the employee was initially engaged.  However, care should be taken when they transfer between sites or provide transport.

What about expenses for travel outside 50kms radial areas?

If an employee uses their own vehicle, they are entitled to a per-kilometre rate for the distance actually travelled from their usual place of residence to the construction site and back again.  These rates are regularly adjusted by the Fair Work Commission and can be found on the FWO website here.

Wages for overtime due to transporting other workers at the direction of the employer.

Should an employer direct one employee to pick up and return another employee to and from home to work, the employee so directed is entitled to overtime pay rates for time spent travelling outside of ordinary hours (i.e. 7:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday).

Wages and expenses for transfer between worksites during working hours.

Employees travelling between construction sites during working hours must be paid for the time spent travelling at their ordinary rate of pay, whether inside or outside a radial area.  Employees travelling between worksites are also entitled to the cost of any public transport fares (whichever is most convenient) or, where they are required to use their own vehicle, an allowance per kilometre.  These rates are generally adjusted annually by the Fair Work Commission and can be found on the FWO website here.

Fair Work Commission 4 year review impacts:

Most employers in the construction industry would have a good understanding of the traditional ‘Fares and travel pattern allowance’ 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 must conduct a 4-yearly review of modern awards as soon as practicable after 1 January 2014.  That process has been undertaken for the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010, 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 patterns allowance would no longer be payable when an employee is taking a Rostered Day Off.  Previously, the Award’s daily fares and travel patterns 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 fares and travel patterns 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 26.1.(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-kilometre 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.  In such circumstances, the employee is now only entitled to receive a payment based on the time taken to travel from the employee’s home to the site and return, and a per-kilometre allowance from home to site if the employee uses their own vehicle.

What about apprentices?

Apprentices are entitled to a proportion of the daily allowances prescribed (1st year—75%, 2nd year —85%, 3rd year —90%, and 4th year —95% of the amount prescribed).  An apprentice will not be paid the fares and travel patterns allowance prescribed for the days they attend an RTO for training and assessment in accordance with the contract of training.

When a school-based apprentice attends off-the-job training or assessment, not at the school at which they are enrolled, they will receive 25% of the fares and travel patterns allowance.

Other entitlements
When an employee finishes overtime work or an irregular shift at a time when no reasonable means of transport is available, the employer must pay the cost of transport to the employee’s home or nearest public transport.

If the employee from House 1 travels to a site that is outside the metropolitan radial area, like Worksite B, and it is less than 50km from his home by road, then only the daily fares and travel patterns allowance is payable.

The daily fares and travel patterns allowance is not payable to an employee who is provided with (or offered) free transport to and from an employee’s home to a worksite e.g. work ute.

The 50kms radial areas commonly identified by Google Maps include the below examples:

 

If the employee from House 1 travels to a site that is outside the metropolitan radial area, like Worksite B, and it is less than 50km from his home by road, then only the daily fares and travel patterns allowance is payable.

The daily fares and travel patterns allowance is not payable to an employee who is provided with (or offered) free transport to and from an employee’s home to a worksite e.g. work ute.

 

If an employee from House 1 travels to any site within the metropolitan radial area, such as Worksite A, the employee only receives the daily fares and travel patterns allowance.

The daily fares and travel patterns allowance is not payable to an employee who is provided with (or offered) free transport to and from an employee’s home to a worksite e.g. work ute..

 

If the employee from House 1 was engaged in distant work, temporarily accommodated within  50km of a relevant Post Office, then a distant work radial area will be measured from the place of the employee’s temporary accommodation.

When engaged in work at Worksite F,  within the distant work radial area, the employee is entitled to the daily fares and travel patterns allowance.

The daily fares and travel patterns allowance is not payable to an employee who is provided with (or offered) free transport to and from an employee’s hotel to a worksite e.g. work ute.

 

If Employee 3 lives at Houses 3 when they commenced at Worksite A and is now deployed to Worksite F on distant work.  The distant work payment is not payable as Employee 3‘s usual place of residence was more than 50km by road from Worksite A.

The daily fares and travel patterns allowance only would be payable unless an employee who is provided with (or offered) free transport to and from an employee’s hotel to a worksite e.g. work ute.

 

If Employee 1 from House 1 is directed to transport Employee 2 from House 2 to a site that is inside the metropolitan radial area, like Worksite B,  they are entitled to paid time at overtime rates if transporting Employee 2 outside their ordinary hours.

The daily fares and travel patterns allowance is not payable to Employee 1 or Employee 2 if provided with free transport from an employee’s home to a worksite e.g. work ute.

For queries about salaries, award entitlements, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 925 529 or via email to 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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