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Coronavirus and Australian workplaces

This is an area of great confusion and complexity and information is evolving on a daily basis. Below is our current understanding. For specific information relating to your business please contact us. 

Businesses required by Enforceable government direction to shut down.

Employers and employees are encouraged to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff. Employees who are stood down without pay remain employed for the period of the stand down.

Under the Fair Work Act, an employee can only be stood down without pay if they cannot be usefully employed because of a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.

Whether the option of standing down employees is available in circumstances relating to coronavirus is very fact dependent and an employer should exercise the option cautiously.

Businesses not required to shut down but have had a substantial impact to turnover

Some employers may need to make employees’ positions redundant in response to a business downturn. If an employee’s job is made redundant, their employer may have to give them redundancy pay. The Fair Work Act has requirements that employers have to meet before they can terminate an employee’s employment, such as providing notice and payment for untaken annual leave.

Under the Fair Work Act, an employee is protected from being dismissed because of a temporary absence due to illness or injury. The Fair Work Act also includes protections against being dismissed because of discrimination, a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable or another protected right. These protections continue to operate in relation to employees impacted by coronavirus.

Fair Work Ombudsman Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

Up to date information regarding changes to workplace laws.

Income Support for Individuals

Information to share with employees regarding Income Support available to them.

Information for Hospitality Industry

Frequently asked questions regarding Hospitality Industry in Victoria.

Sample Stand Down Letter

Sample letter to use if needing to stand down employees.

Coronavirus Employee Information Fact Sheet

Information for impacted casual workers.

Information for Hospitality Workers

Information for impacted Hospitality Workers.

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