JobKeeper Stimulus Package: Increased Flexibility for Eligible Businesses

17 APR 2020

 

The Federal Government’s JobKeeper stimulus package, which was announced on 8 April 2020, provides not only financial wage relief for eligible business – it also provides increased flexibility for operations of eligible businesses.

Working flexibility

Under the JobKeeper package, employers are provided with increased flexibility regarding managing an employee’s working arrangement.

This increased flexibility comes as a power given to the employer for every eligible employee whom is supplemented by the Federal Government’s JobKeeper package.

Employers will be able to:

1. stand down an eligible employee if they cannot be usefully employed or if the Government forces the business to shut down.

  • Note: standing down the employee means that the business is still required to pay the eligible employee the minimum $1,500.00 per fortnight allowance under the JobKeeper scheme.

2. reduce an eligible employee’s working hours. No agreement is needed with the employee.

3. change an eligible employee’s work duties and location, so long as the change is within the employee’s skill and competency and considered reasonable within the scope of business and their employment. No agreement is needed with the employee.

4. agree with an eligible employee to reduce their working days or take annual leave for a specified period.

Limitations

Employers can only use the above mentioned working flexibilities if they reasonably believe it is necessary to save the employee’s job, and they have given prior notice to the employee about the intended change.

Where possible, during this trying period of time, employers and employees should try to reach agreement to help minimise the impact of any change where possible.

Protections contained in the National Employment Standards and within the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) still continue to apply to all employment relationships.

Whom are ‘eligible employees’?

Eligible employees include:

(a)     full-time and part-time employees, including those already stood down; and

(b)     casual employees who have been employed for at least 12 months.

What does this mean for your business?

If your business has had a 30% or greater downturn in monthly turnover due to COVID-19, then you may be able to apply for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper package.

If approved, then you will not only receive wage relief for your eligible employees, but also your business can access additional options to implement and/or negotiate flexible work agreements during this trying time.

If you would like tailored legal advice regarding your business, please contact Aaran Johnson on ajohnson@marsdens.net.au or Simon Kumar on skumar@marsdens.net.au or by phoning 02 4626 5077 to have a short discussion with comps.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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