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Changes to the Fair Work Act for JobKeeper

Schedule 1 of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus 6 (Measures No.2) Act 2020 amends The Fair Work Act 2009 to enable employers to make ‘JobKeeper enabling directions’ that will remain in place until 28 September 2020.

Note: these changes only apply to employers who qualify for the JobKeeper Scheme

The main changes include as follows:-

  • Stand down
  • Changes to days of work
  • Changes to duties performed
  • Changes to location of work
  • Annual leave

 

Any JobKeeper enabling directions continue to apply until one of the following occurs:-

  • The employer withdraws or revokes the direction
  • The employer replaces one JobKeeper enabling direction with another
  • 28th September 2020

 

Stand down

By providing at least 3 day’s written notice (or less by agreement), employers can stand down employees who are eligible for JobKeeper payments either fully or partially if the employee cannot be usefully engaged for their ordinary hours due to:-

  • Government initiation
  • Changes to business due to COVID pandemic

During the period of stand down, the employee cannot be paid less than the JobKeeper payment amount and must be paid the employee’s hourly rate of pay.

An employee on JobKeeper enabling stand down continues to accrue their entitlements to leave and their service continues to be recognised for the purpose of redundancy or notice of termination and these accruals continue to accrue at the employees original basis of employment.

An employee can also request to work in secondary employment or undertake training during the period of JobKeeper enabling stand down. These requests cannot be unreasonably refused by the employer.

Note: If an employee is on authorised paid (ie., annual or long service leave) or unpaid leave (ie., parental leave) they are not considered to be on stand down for that period and the above does not apply.

Changes to Days of Work

An employer and employee can agree to work being performed on different days to their ordinary days of work provided it is safe.  Employees cannot unreasonably refuse a request by the employer.

Changes to Duties performed

Employees can be directed to perform any duties that are different to their normal duties as long as those duties are reasonable, safe, and within the skill level and competency of the employee.  An employee’s pay cannot be reduced if they are performing duties of a lesser classification.  An employee cannot unreasonably refuse a request by the employer.

Changes to location of work

Employees can be directed to perform their work at a location that is different to their normal place of work.  This location can include the employee’s place of residence however cannot be unreasonable where it requires the employee to travel an unreasonable distance.  An employee cannot unreasonably refuse a request by the employer

Annual leave

Employers can direct an employee to take paid annual leave as long as the employee is left with a leave balance of at least 2 weeks after the directed leave is taken.  Leave can also be directed to be taken at half pay.  Employees cannot unreasonably refuse a request by the employer.

Should you require assistance with a JobKeeper enabling direction, please contact us on 1300 720 004 or advice@hradviceonline.com.au.

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