NSW Government Mandated Greater Sydney Construction Close Down
This support hub has been created to provide information to employees, particularly trade employees, of STAR Group. This hub is being updated daily as information and changes are published with respects to financial support payments from Government and other financial agents.
What is the Greater Sydney Construction Industry Close Down and Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown LGA Restrictions?
On Saturday, 17 July 2021, the NSW Government announced tougher restrictions on Greater Sydney, including a pause on construction. The following restrictions come into effect from:
- 12:01am on Monday, 19 July 2021 – a pause on all construction work (except urgent emergency work; and
- 12.01am from Sunday 18 July 2021 – residents of the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas cannot leave their respective local government areas unless they work in health and emergency services.
These NSW Government restrictions will be in place until at least 11:59pm on Friday 30, July 2021 (which may be subject to change).
What type of leave can I apply for during the Construction Close Down?
STAR Group will make available per the Fair Work Act:
- Access to accrued RDO's
- Access to accrued annual leave
- Access to accrued long service leave (if applicable)
- Agreed leave without pay
- An Agreed combination of the above
This is your choice and if you do wish to access these entitlements, please complete this Construction Close Down Leave Nomination Form.
Do I still accrue my entitlements during the Construction Close Down?
During the close down, you will continue to accrue annual leave and personal/carer’s leave entitlements as usual.
Financial Support on Offer from the Government during the Construction Close Down?
New South Wales Government will be offering emergency pandemic support payments to eligible persons and you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. Employees who lost income during the COVID-19 restrictions in Greater Sydney from June 2021 can apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment. Learn more COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
Further information about the COVID-19 Disaster Payment is also available on the Services Australia website.
When do I come back to work? How will I know?
At this stage, it is expected that you will be required to return to work in the week commencing 2 August 2021, however, please note that you will be contacted to confirm the end of the closure period and your requirement to return to work.
There is an exception for urgent construction work which may be required at a site. If you are required to undertake any urgent construction work during the closure period we will notify and liaise with you accordingly.
Employee Assistance Programs – are they available during the Construction Close Down?
Yes. Assure Programs is available for all STAR Group employees during the Construction Close Down period. The below types of assistance are available during a stand down period:
- Confidential psychological counselling (conducted at Assure Program’s discretion)
- Well-being coaching
- Financial Coaching
- Holistic Support Services.
These services are available for STAR Group employees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Should an employee wish to gain access to these services, they are welcome to call 1800 808 304 or visiting www.assureprograms.com.au
Is it possible to receive paid leave whilst getting the COVID-19 Disaster Payment?
It is possible to be receiving paid leave whilst getting the COVID-19 Disaster Payment however depending on the amount being paid it may impact upon the employees ongoing eligibility to continue to receive the COVID-19 Disaster Payment for future relevant periods.
By way of examples:
A full time employee who is currently stood down (lost 38 hours of work) may still receive up to 18 hours of annual leave or long service leave before it might affect their $600 payment. This is because the employee would still be deemed under the eligibility rules to have lost 20 hours or more of work as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on movement with the remaining 18 hours of annual leave considered to be the employee earning their usual income under the eligibility rules. If the employee had however been paid 19 hours of annual leave then in the following relevant period they may no longer be eligible for the $500/$600 COVID-19 Disaster Payment (instead only eligible for the $325/$375 payment) as the 19 hours of annual leave would be considered under the eligibility rules to be the earning of an income.
A full time employee who is currently working on reduced hours, working three days a week (22 hours) would be eligible under the COVID-19 Disaster Payment in Sydney to currently receive $375 because they have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week in lost income. This employee could still receive 8 hours of annual leave by way of a top up. Service Australia would consider the employee to have lost 8 hour of their usual income made up of 22 hours of work and 8 hours of annual leave, leaving 8 hour of reduced earnings making them still eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, having lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week.
Can I receive MERT payments during the Construction Close Down?
Employee may have payments made to their MERT account. To be eligible for a claim to gain access to these funds, the employee must have ceased employment with STAR Group.
MERT has increased the stand down support payment to $5,000 (taxable), which is available from MERT to assist with hardship, followed by a second $5,000 payment five weeks later. Access from www.mert.com.au or call MERT directly on 1800 023 692.
Employees with a MERT fund are responsible for making applications if they wish to make a claim.
Any hardship payment made in advance of any redundancy payment will reduce any employer's obligation when a redundancy claim is made (current as of 14/07/2021).
Financial Support on offer from the Government during times of 14 days self-isolate?
The Government has a Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, which is a lump sum support payment to help people who are required to need to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone for 14 days. If you were required to isolate as a result of a confirmed case on a project or another reason outside of work, you may be eligible to get this support payment.
For more information click Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.
Can I take redundancy during the Construction Close Down?
STAR Group require our current workforce on the other side of this Construction Close Down to delivery the current major projects. STAR Group is working towards getting all employees back to work as soon as NSW Government allow the construction industry to recommences in Greater Sydney.
Voluntary redundancies are currently not available at STAR Group. Should STAR Group consider redundancies, formal communication will be made to employees from executive management.
Can I collect my tools from my project site?
STAR Group has been advised that 24 hour security services have been is being deployed to each site by the client. STAR Group did liaise with each builder on Monday 19 July 2021 about individuals collecting tools, but unfortunately, clients will not allow access to any sites during the Construction Close Down period.
Click Here to ask the COVID-19 Response Team a Question