Stood-down NSW council workers to be covered by ‘splinter award’

About 80 per cent of NSW’s 128 local councils have signed a workplace deal allowing workers stood down due to Covid-19 service closures to access a job retention allowance of $858.20 a week for up to three months.

Under the Local Government (Covid-19) Splinter Award 2020, affected Local Government employees can supplement that allowance from their accrued annual or long service leave, taking it up to normal pay rate.

It also entitles them to up to four weeks of special leave at their normal pay rate to cover any period where no work can be provided, including if an employee is required to self-isolate. Casuals will not be entitled to the payments.

The splinter award was negotiated between local government unions, councils and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and approved by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on 14 April.

As part of the deal – which will apply for 12 months – councils will have greater flexibility to redeploy workers to different locations and roles and reduce their hours where the pandemic has made employees’ usual tasks impossible.

A Sydney newspaper has reporting that councils are considering using their cash reserves and/or reducing their forward capital works program to fund the splinter award provisions.

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said the NSW government is continuing to assess the economic impact of Covid-19 on councils.