Everything You Need to Know About Travel Conditions in the Building & Construction Award

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Travel and living away from home conditions are complex and unique to the Building and Construction Award. Find out all key conditions you need to meet to ensure you're 100% payroll compliant.

The building and construction industry has a unique set of entitlements due to the nature of the work and how distant work plays a part in the way employees are compensated.

Ultimately, because there are so many variables to the way work can be performed, the Building and Construction Award has a very comprehensive (and confusing) set of rules around what employees need to be compensated for when distant work is involved.

Given the level of scrutiny on wage theft and underpayments in recent years, there’s increasing pressure for businesses to ensure they’re 100% compliant with legislation and are responsible for the correct payment of allowances and entitlements their employees should be paid.

This guide has been put together to help with navigating the Building and Construction Award.

You can also read our Ultimate Building and Construction Award (MA000020) Summary too as well as downloading our eBook which includes a bonus payroll processing checklist to ensure your business is compliant with all of the award requirements.


This includes verifying address details with proof of address documents like a driver’s licence. However, bear in mind that employers shouldn’t go as far as checking the accuracy of the ID itself.

If the employee’s been found to fail to provide correct details despite the employer taking reasonable steps, then they won’t be liable for paying the entitlements below.

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  1. You can pay the employee $72.02 per day or the equivalent of reasonable accommodation and meal expenses incurred, whichever one is higher; or
  2. You can provide the employee with accommodation and three adequate meals each day; or
  3. You can provide the employee with accommodation and reimburse for their reasonable meal expenses; or
  4. If they’re living in a camp, provide board and accommodation free of charge.

What’s important to understand is that the Building and Construction Award stipulates that accommodation must be contemporary living standards taking into account the location. There should be facilities like washing, laundry, recreational, kitchen, external lighting, communications and fire protection available.

This also applies to camp conditions.

For up-to-date entitlements, you can check out our allowance database for more information.

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  1. Reimburse for food reasonable purchased or consumed in the nearest centre; and
  2. Pay them an allowance of $203.61 per week or $29.06 per day including any Saturday or Sunday they’re available for work and living in camp.

If your employee is absent without your approval, you won’t need to pay the allowance. If this happens to fall before and after the weekend, the allowance also won’t be payable for both Saturday and Sunday.

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Note, travelling time should be calculated based on the time it takes from the central or regional transport terminal nearest to the employee’s home to the location of work (and vice versa).

If your employee needs to live outside of the site, you must also pay them travelling time entitlements.


Forward Journey

You need to provide appropriate transport or pay the cost for the most appropriate transport to get to the job site, including any costs with transporting tools.

You must also pay for the time spent travelling to the job site based on their ordinary hourly rate at a maximum of 8 hours per day.

On top of this, $15.38 needs to be paid per meal consumed during travelling.

If your employee’s employment is terminated within two weeks of starting the job, you can deduct the forward journey entitlements if they don’t return to their place of engagement.


Return Journey

Building and Construction Award employees should be paid the same payments for the return journey as well.

For daily hire employees, they will receive $20.81 to cover the cost of transporting themselves and their tools from the main public transport terminal to their home.


Weekend Return Home

Employees need to let employers know no later than Tuesday each week if they want to return to their home for the weekend.


Rest and Recreation

If your employees have worked for eight weeks in distant work, they’re entitled to rest and recreation. Below are the two entitlements based on the mode of transport:

  1. Rail or Road Travel
  2. Air Travel

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Fares and Travel Pattern Allowance

You will need to pay an allowance of $17.43 per day worked for travel when the employee works on a construction site or needs to perform prefabricated work in an open yard and then to erect or fix on-site.

However, you won’t need to pay this if you provide transport free of charge to and from the employee’s home or you provide a fully maintained vehicle free of charge to the employee.


Travelling Between Construction Sites

If your employee needs to travel between construction sites during working hours, the below allowances should be paid depending on their scenario:

  1. If they have their own car
  2. Not transported by employer
  3. Transported by employer


Distant Work Payment

If a Building and Construction Award employee needs to travel to a construction site that isn’t located in a metropolitan radius from their home and is more than 50kms away by road, you need to pay them the distant work payment.

Apprentices should also be paid a percentage of these allowances depending on which year they’re in:

If they’re attending training or an assessment with an RTO, this allowance doesn’t need to be paid.

If they’re a school-based apprentice, they will receive 25% of the fares and travel pattern allowance when attending off-the-job training or assessment.

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In our experience, given the complexity of the award, many of our clients have opted to adopt cloud payroll software as a solution to automate compliance and to help with labour cost control.

Get in contact with us at Pay Cat if you’re interested in considering this option with the Building and Construction Award or any other modern award.

If you’re not ready yet, download our Ultimate Building and Construction Award Summary eBook and checklist which comprehensively covers everything you need to know including:

  • Types of employment
  • Shiftwork
  • Hours of work
  • Breaks
  • Superannuation
  • Allowances
  • Apprentice Conditions
  • Living Away from Home - Distant Work
  • Travelling Time Entitlements
  • Overtime
  • Annual Leave

And much more.

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