The week before Christmas was chosen as the time to announce a major shift in the way driver rates are set. At 4.20 pm on Friday December 18, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal announced its latest order, this time minimum payments for contract drivers.
The new order, named Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016, will take effect as of April 4 2016. The order itself is available online here and the decision is online here.
“The Order is the most significant matter affecting the industry that has occurred in many years and will have substantial operational and financial impacts on the transport industry as a whole,” said a statement put out by NatRoad at the time of the order’s release.
The NatRoad statement explains the basics of the order:
The Order provides for minimum payments to independent Contractors as per a schedule of rates that are attached as 2 schedules to the Order. The minimum rates apply to all freight movements irrespective of whether or not the freight movement is a high productivity lane or a backload lane on a major route or a freight movement to or from a regional or remote area:
- Schedule A rates that apply to Contactors engaged in distribution of goods not involving a long distance operation; and
- Schedule B rates that apply to Contractors engaged in long distance operations.
Rates are determined by driver classification, type of vehicle and type and configuration of trailers as per the descriptions in the Order schedules and are paid on the basis of an hourly rate plus a kilometre rate.
A Hirer of a Contractor who makes payment by any other method including pallet, per tonne, trip or other means is required to keep records for each 28 day period that set out the amount a Contractor would be paid under the Order provided hourly and kilometre rates, and where there is a shortfall the Hirer must generate a valid tax invoice and pay the Contractor driver any shortfall within 30 days.
The Facilitative Provisions of the Order require that Contractors are paid for each hour or part thereof as follows:
(a) each hour, or part thereof, during which the Contractor driver is required by the Hirer to be at the disposal and/or direction of the hirer; and
(b) each period of rest time of 30 or less continuous minutes that the Contractor driver is required by law to rest, unless another road transport driver is driving the vehicle used in the provision of the road transport service while the Contractor driver is taking such rest time; and
(c) each hour, or part thereof, that the Contractor driver is, or is assisting or supervising another person who is:
(i) driving a vehicle used in the provision of the road transport service; and/or
(ii) queuing and/or waiting, whilst in control of the vehicle used in the provision of the road transport service; and/or
(iii) loading things onto or unloading things from the vehicle and/or a trailer used in the provision of the road transport service, including tarping, installing or removing gates and the operation of on-board cranes, or waiting for someone else to do so; and/or
(iv) cleaning, inspecting, servicing or repairing a vehicle supplied by the hirer and/or a trailer supplied by the hirer that is used in the provision of the road transport service, provided the cleaning, inspecting, servicing or repairing is reasonably required in order to provide the road transport service; and/or
(v) inspecting or attending to a load on the vehicle and/or a trailer used in the provision of the road transport service; and/or
(vi) refuelling the vehicle used in the provision of the road transport service, where the provision of the road transport service requires more fuel than the fuel tank of the vehicle can hold; and/or
(vii) recording information or completing a document as required by the hirer in relation to the vehicle and/or a trailer used in the provision of the road transport service; and/or
(viii) waiting in a location because of a natural disaster (eg flood or bushfire) or other emergency, provided that only up to a maximum of eight hours of such waiting in any period of 24 hours shall be counted and provided the Contractor driver advised the hirer as soon as possible of the waiting and took all reasonable measures to minimise the waiting.
For the purposes of Clauses 9 and 10 of the Order, each hour, or part thereof, that the Contractor driver necessarily spends in providing the road transport service does not include any hour, or part thereof, which is lost because of a breakdown in a vehicle and/or trailer supplied by the Contractor driver or an accident involving the Contractor driver.
For the purposes of Clauses 9 and 10 of the Order, each kilometre that the Contractor driver necessarily travels in providing the road transport service is counted:
(a) from the work site or depot where the Contractor driver is principally engaged by the Hirer; or
(b) where the Contractor driver is not principally engaged at a work site or depot, from a location specified by the Hirer which is reasonable taking into account the road transport service provided by the Contractor driver; and
(c) to the location at which the road transport service provided by the Contractor driver concludes.
The New Year is going to see operators examining this order in detail. They will need to tease out the ramifications for each part of their operation and be ready to be compliant by April.