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VIC Employment Contract - Swim Coaches Attendance In Breach of Fair Work Provisions?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by PaulUsGus, 2 January 2015.

  1. PaulUsGus

    PaulUsGus Member

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    Hi There, I'm a voluntary committee member for a not for profit Swim Club. We employ coaches to train the swimmers (8+ years old) as well as guide swimmers at swim meets etc.

    We are re-writing employment contracts, mostly using available pro-formas etc. I'm checking if an existing clause of an employment contract requiring attendance at swim meets, where 1 swimmer may attend, swim for 5 min a couple of times over a 5-8 hour period, the coach is paid an "attendance" fee? This is less than the contracted hourly rate, however the coaches duties over the period of attendance is limited.

    Is the attendance fee in breach of Fair Work Australia provisions? Any guidance appreciated!
     
  2. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member

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    Hi Paul,

    It may be in breach of NES standards and or award provisions to pay less than a minimum hourly rate.

    I would however call the Fair Work Ombudsman, that is their area - website is www.fwo.gov.au. Good luck.

    Paul.
     
  3. PaulUsGus

    PaulUsGus Member

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    Thanks Paul,

    I did discusss with FWO and they advise to get advice. They advised that there are situations where you can pay less than hourly rate, however there are many permutations, including if you pay above the min award. Our club does pay above min award rates.

    So I guess the question is when is it OK to pay below min hourly rates?

    When is the outside core coaching role, i.e attend meets, seen as part of role, for less than min rate of pay...Our current agreement has rate equivalent to 4.5 hours pay for a full day meet.
     
  4. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member

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    Hi Paul,

    Actual pay rates as such it not my area of expertise so I hope someone else here can help. I am not aware of any situation you can pay below the minimum stipulated rate. That is why it is called the minimum - as i said though it is a little outside my area.

    Maybe you can see a local community legal centre in your area - they are a free legal advice service.

    Paul.
     
  5. PaulUsGus

    PaulUsGus Member

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    Thanks Paul,

    Yes it is a bit blurry...FWO said it is possible, but just not clear on when!
    I'll see if anyone else can assist and then join the queue at a community legal centre.

    Regards

    Paul
     
  6. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @PaulUsGus,
    I agree with @Paul Cott - This area of employment law is complex and the Swim Club may consider seeking external legal advice to "get it right, the first time" and avoid the potential risk of bad publicity and/or a claim for backpay from one or more swim coaches in the future.

    I understand that the Swim Club is a NFP. Many law firms offer discounted rates for NFPs (or may agree to contra sponsorship of the Swim Club or special events) so it may also be worth calling a couple of local law firms with lawyers that have employment law experience.

    Please keep us updated with your progress. All the best.
     
  7. PaulUsGus

    PaulUsGus Member

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    Thanks John,

    Will contact community legal centre and see how I get on!

    regards

    Paul
     

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