Your Employer can stand you down on JobKeeper
Lately, things are changing on a daily basis, such as your family life, home situation and day-to-day routines. Not to mention employment… some have even lost their jobs.
Fortunately, many have been lucky enough to qualify for JobKeeper.
There has been a recent temporary provision amendment to the Fair Work Act (Part 6-4C) which allows employers who are eligible for JobKeeper to stand down employees who cannot be usefully employed for their normal days/hours, due to:
- Changes to the business attributable to the COVID -19 pandemic;
- Government initiatives to slow the transmission of COVID-19.
This means that employers can issue partial stand down directions to a JobKeeper employee to not work, work for lesser periods on a particular day(s) or work a reduced number of hours than usual. An employer also has the power to change the duties/location of work. All of this can be done provided the employer:
- Provides employee with three days’ written notice (unless the employee agrees to less notice);
- Is not unreasonable; and
- Is done in consultation with the employee.
During the stand down direction period, the employee must continue to receive the base rate of pay applicable for the employee i.e. the so called ‘hourly rate of pay guarantee’ of the base rate of pay for their work.
Flexible working arrangements apply such that the employer can propose (again in writing) to change the time the employee works to different days/times.
An employer can also request the employee receiving JobKeeper to take paid annual leave (which will not result in the employee having a balance of paid annual leave of fewer than two weeks) and the employee must not unreasonably refuse the request. This can be extended to the employee taking twice the period of leave at half of the employee’s rate of pay.
What’s the catch?
The provisions will remain in place until 28 September 2020.
An employee who has been stood down will continue to accrue annual leave entitlements based on service in the usual way.
An employee who has been stood down has the right to request engagement in reasonable secondary employment, training or professional development whilst subject to JobKeeper. The employer must not unreasonably refuse the request.
If you have a workplace issue as an employer or as an employee and need assistance to determine your rights, obligations and entitlements, contact one of our experienced solicitors for an initial consultation:
Free initial consultations are available for a limited time only