JobKeeper Directives + Fair Work Changes Your Comprehensive Guide.

Please note: The Australian Government has since announced further updates to the JobKeeper Payment not included in this guide. For the most up to date information, please visit out JobKeeper Q&A blog here.

On 9 April 2020, the Fair Work Act was amended to support the implementation and operation of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme (JobKeeper scheme) in Australian workplaces.

The new provisions apply to employers who have qualified for the JobKeeper scheme and their eligible employees. Once an employer has qualified for the JobKeeper scheme, the new provisions enable:

  • employers to make temporary and partial stand downs in certain circumstances
  • employers to temporarily alter employees’ usual duties and locations of work in certain circumstances
  • employers and employees to agree on altering an employee’s days and times of work and use of annual leave in certain circumstances.

Fair Work Act – dramatic changes for employers and employees on JobKeeper Wage Subsidy during COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The Australian government have introduced some temporary changes to Fair Work to help implement the JobKeeper provisions.

The Government has changed the Fair Work Act for employers and employees who have accessed the JobKeeper wage subsidiary (and only for these employers and employees). 

The new laws override any modern award, enterprise agreement or employment contract. Under the new laws an employer can: 

  • Stand down an employee without pay (completely or partially) for any period that they cannot be usefully employed. 
  • Change employment arrangements (such as what they do, where they work and when they work) for a specific employee. 

There are very specific tests and qualifications to this. 

For simplicity, we have identified the key questions as follows: 

  1. What are the new stand down provisions? 
  2. What are the workforce flexibilities an employer can use by direction? 
  3. Do any other tests apply to giving a JobKeeper direction? 
  4. What are the workforce flexibilities an employer can use by request and agreement? 
  5. What are the consultation obligations? 
  6. Additional FAQs

Any employer who qualifies for the JobKeeper Payment subsidy will also be able to give a JobKeeper Direction to an employee which has the effect of varying the employee’s terms of employment on a unilateral basis.

This can include a broad discretion in relation to hours of work, timing of work, location of work, the taking of annual leave, and the allocation of work tasks.

Importantly, JobKeeper directions will prevail over any existing employment terms under a contract, award, or enterprise agreement.

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