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On 9 April 2020 new changes to the Fair Work Act took effect. These changes are temporary and in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The changes enable employers who qualify for the JobKeeper payment to give employees a JobKeeper Enabling Direction’ in some circumstances. These directions can:

  • make stand downs
  • alter an employee’s usual duties and locations of work
  • alter an employee’s days and times of work, and
  • request that an employee take paid annual leave, including at half pay.

The stand down directions are in addition to other provision in the Fair Work Act and can direct workers not to work on days they would usually work or work reduced hours (including no hours). A stand down direction is a simple method of lawfully standing down an employee without breaching the contract of employment.

There are specific requirements for each type of directions including provisions requiring consultation and notice.

The Fair Work Commission has new power to deal with disputes about these directions. The Commission can conciliate, mediate or arbitrate these disputes and the Commission may make orders setting aside the direction, varying it or that it considers it desirable for the direction to be complied with.

The Commission has established a new process for these disputes to be determined. Here is a link to the Commission specific material JobKeeper disputes – Coronavirus economic response.

Do you need advice on the JobKeeper Enabling Direction? Call our office on 13 535 57 to have a confidential discussion with one of our experienced and friendly employment lawyers.

This is general information only and you should seek specific advice for your situation.


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