Recently, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) decided that putting on and removing personal protective equipment (PPE) is work, and employees should be paid for the time spent donning and doffing PPE.
The FWC decided that “work” occurs when an employee is required to do certain things by their employer, and that while the employee is complying with a direction of their employer they are working. If an employee is required to undertake a substantive task or activity before they can commence work or a break; or before they leave work or return from a break, then the employee is working during that time.
Employers who require their worker to wear PPE must pay their workers for time spent putting on PPE before work or returning from a break; and for time spent removing PPE after work, or going on a break.
Furthermore, employers are required to provide PPE and cannot require employees to pay for their own PPE.
If you are a member of Professionals Australia and you require advice or representation regarding a work-related issue, you can contact our Workplace Advice and Support team on 1300 273 762 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.