The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has been developing a draft Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (the Order). The draft Order has recently been released for public comment. The Order is intended to take effect from 1 January 2016 and be in operation until 31 December 2019.
Who does the Order cover?
The Order sets out the minimum payments for road transport drivers and imposes obligations on employers or hirers of road transport drivers and retailers. The Order covers road transport drivers involved in:
- the distribution of goods destined for sale or hire by a supermarket chain; and
- long distance operations in the private road transport industry.
What obligations does the Order impose?
This Order has wide reaching implications for all retailers and businesses in the road transport industry. This is because the Order imposes auditing and compliance obligations on retailers to ensure that the transport providers they have contractual arrangements with, are paying their road transport drivers the correct entitlements.
The Order provides that the relevant contract between a retailer and transport provider must include provisions that ensure:
- the contract is consistent with the requirements of the Order;
- the transport provider is required to comply with and meet the requirements of the Order;
- the transport provider must permit the retailer to conduct an annual compliance audit; and
- the transport provider is obligated to cooperate with the annual audits.
This means that retailers will be obligated to conduct these audits on an annual basis to ensure that transport providers they have a contract with, are compliant in meeting the requirements of the Order with respect to their road transport drivers. Further, transport providers must take steps to compile and provide the relevant information to the retailer conducting the audit.
The effect of the Order is that retailers will have an obligation to consider the entitlements of the road transport drivers of the transport provider the retailer uses, even though the retailer and the road transport driver do not have any contractual relationship.
An employer or hirer of a road transport driver is also obligated to:
- display a copy of the Order at its worksite and on its website; and
- take all reasonable steps to notify its road transport drivers of the Order and where it is located.
The Order also includes clauses regarding the obligation of a hirer of a road transport driver to permit the road transport driver four weeks of unpaid leave per year in certain circumstances.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
A retailer is obligated to notify the transport provider and the relevant regulatory bodies if a transport provider is non-compliant. If a transport provider does not rectify the non-compliance within a reasonable period, then the retailer may terminate the contract between the parties.
In the event the Order is breached, a person or organisation may face penalties of up to $10,800 for an individual or $54,000 for a corporation under the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 (Cth).
The Order places significant compliance obligations on retailers and transport providers in the road transport industry.
If you or your business would like to make submissions in relation to the Order, written submissions can be lodged with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal up to midday Wednesday, 23 September 2015.
To make comment or to get a copy of the Order visit the Tribunal's website at www.rsrt.gov.au or access the Order directly via this link.
If you are concerned as to how the Order may impact your business, please do not hesitate to contact the Workplace Law Team.