By Matthew Moloney
The JobKeeper Payment legislation and changes to the Fair Work Act passed both houses of parliament last night.
The framework to establish the JobKeeper Payment (JKP) passed both houses of Parliament last night. Unfortunately, the finer points of the JKP have not yet been made available by Treasury and the ATO. The most up to date information is as of 5 April 2020, being the Treasury Fact Sheet and Frequently asked questions. Click on this link for further details https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper
We will keep you updated as further details become available.
We note this is a summary for information purposes only. Readers should not view this as advice or a recommendation to take a certain course of action. We recommend that you consult with your human resources or industrial relations specialist before taking any action.
Who does it impact?
What can employers do?
Where the employee cannot be usefully employed (work that provides a net benefit for the employer) for the normal days or hours during the relevant period as a result of Covid-19 or government initiatives to slow the spread of the virus, the employer can provide directions to an employee to:
What are the employer payment obligations?
Taking paid Annual Leave
Where the employer makes a request to an employee to take paid annual leave and complying with the request will not result in the employee having less than two weeks annual leave, the employee must consider the request and must not unreasonably refuse the request.
The employer and employee can agree in writing to the employee taking twice as much paid leave annual leave at half the employee’s rate of pay.
A direction does not apply to an employee during a period where the employee is taking paid or unpaid leave authorised by the employer
Changing Duties of Work
The duties can be higher or lower duties. The duties must be safe, within the employee’s skill and competency (including licences and qualifications where required) and within the scope of the employer’s business operations.
Changing Location of Work
Employers may direct employees to work at a different location (including the employee’s home). The location must be suitable for the work to be performed, safe, not require unreasonable travel distances and the work must be within the scope of the employer’s business operations.
Changing Days of Work
Employers may direct employees to change their normal work days or normal work times. This applies to workers either changing days (e.g. from weekend to weekdays) or time of work (e.g. from night shift to day shift). This direction does not have the effect of reducing an employee’s normal number of hours.
Compliance and Consultation
Service Periods and Leave Accruals
Where an employee is subject to a direction, the employee continues to accrue annual and other leave entitlements at the rate that would apply if the direction was not given. Similarly, there is no change in the redundancy or termination payments as a result of the direction.
The giving of a direction does not amount to a redundancy, even where the hours are reduced to nil.
Employee Requests for Secondary Employment and Training
If an employee, who is subject to a direction, requests to engage in reasonable secondary employment, training or professional development the employer must consider the request and must not unreasonably refuse the request.
Where this is a dispute in relation to a direction, the employee, employer, employee organisation or employer organisation can apply to the Fair Work Commission to settle the dispute.