The latest release from the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal looks likely to put some real legal pressure on prime contractors to pay set rates to owner drivers down the chain. The latest draft Remuneration Order is being examined by many in the industry to work out the implications of its rulings, if and when it comes into effect.
The ‘Draft Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016’ was released at the end of last week and informed opinion expects it to have serious ramifications for anyone who uses, what the order calls, ‘contractor drivers’. These are defined as road transport drivers who are an independent contractor, basically an owner driver.
The order covers anyone moving retail goods destined for a supermarket chain, or in long distance operations, as covered by the Long Distance Award. A table of minimum payment rates is set out by the draft order, using figures researched by a KPMG research project. The rate for any job can be calculated using the online calculator developed by KPMG on the RSRT website.
The rates come out at a minimum hourly rate and a minimum per kilometre rate, both of which must be paid to the owner driver. The period includes all of the time from when the contractor begins to work for the client, until the task, and all of its consequences, paperwork, refuelling etc, have been completed.
These rates will rise on an annual basis at 3.2 per cent a year, a figure used in enterprise agreements by the Fair Work Commission.
“Transport operators will appreciate that requiring contractors to be paid for ‘all time’ spent by them associated with the transport task is a departure from current industry practice,” said Gillian Bristow from Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, in her analysis of the new order.
“If your business engages road transport drivers that are caught by the draft Order, it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the draft Order and the minimum payments that will be prescribed if the Order comes into force on 1 January 2016. You also need to establish which of your contractors fall within the scope of the draft Order.”
Anyone concerned with the implications of the new RSRT order can read the full text on the RSRT website. Submissions about the implications of the new order must be made to the Tribunal before midday on September 23.