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Temporary changes to the Building Awards to respond to COVID-19

August 11, 2020

HIA has recently secured temporary changes to the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 (On-site Award), and Joinery Building Trades Award 2010 (Joinery Award), to provide additional forms of flexibility in response to the impacts of COVID-19.

If you have employees who are employed under the On-site Award, or the Joinery Award, and either your business or your employees are impacted by COVID-19, the temporary changes will allow you and your employees to access:

  • Unpaid pandemic leave; and/or
  • Annual leave to be taken at half pay.

The temporary changes take effect from the start of an employee’s first full pay period after 11 August and will apply up until 29 March 2021.

What is Unpaid Pandemic leave?

Any employee (full-time, part-time or casual) is entitled to take up to 2 weeks’ unpaid leave if:

  • the employee is required by government or medical authorities or on the advice of a medical practitioner to self-isolate and is consequently prevented from working, or
  • is otherwise prevented from working due to measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notice requirements apply in order for employees to have access to this entitlement and you may ask for evidence to support the request.

What is Annual leave at half pay?

Instead of your employee taking paid annual leave on full pay, you and your employee may agree to the employee taking twice as much leave on half pay. For example, your employee may take two weeks annual leave on half pay, and will only have one week of leave deducted from their annual leave balance.

In order to take the annual leave at half pay, an agreement to take twice as much annual leave at half pay must be recorded in writing and retained as an employee record. Such leave must start before 29 March 2021, but may end after that date.

Should any temporary arrangements be confirmed in writing?

Yes. Any of the above directions or requests given by employers must be given in writing, and do not apply to the employee if the direction is unreasonable in all the circumstances.

Need assistance?

Workplace Advisers can offer members support in putting these arrangements in writing.

Contact a HIA Workplace Adviser

1300 650 620

or email

Current at: 25 September 2020
Reference: NFSIRR1359A