Employers and COVID-19
We understand that it is a tough time for most businesses and difficult decisions need to be made. The issues that COVID-19 and the Government restrictions bring to the employment relationship are complex legal issues. Therefore, we encourage you to be considered in your approach; review all available information and take legal advice before acting, so as to minimise your risks. It is vital that you act in the best interests of your business whilst doing the best to look after your employees.
All workplaces should be ensuring that:
- they are up-to-date with what is occurring with information released from the co-ordinated Department of Health response;
- they have a COVID-19 Health Officer who coordinates all information for the workplace and who makes that information available for employees;
- the employers update their employees about the virus and its impacts (if any) on the workplace;
- it ensures that those employees that have returned from overseas self-isolate;
- they ensure that all employees who are sick do not attend the workplace;
- if there are impacts upon the workplace, that employees are advised in a timely way of those impacts.
Some of the key issues Employers need to consider include:
- Stand down provisions
- JobKeeper Scheme
- Temporary changes to most Awards
- Working from home
- Workplace Health & Safety
- Annual and long service leave entitlements
WEBINAR - Roadmap back to work - What Employer's need to know
Every business has been affected by COVID-19 in some way. While some businesses have remained operational throughout the crisis, others are only now gradually returning or planning to return to work. Whatever the case, all employers need to be aware of their rights and obligations to ensure their business is COVIDSafe moving forward.
Join Aitken Legal’s webinar where Hamish Procter, one of our experienced employment lawyers will be breaking down some of the important issues surrounding businesses and their employees returning to work. Hamish will also provide some insight into the temporary changes to employment laws to deal with COVID-19 and the transition back.
ALERTS in relation to COVID-19
With our frequently changing environment, we will regularly update and alert Employers as information becomes available. Below is our most recent Alert. You can find our previous alerts here, noting that some of the information may no longer be current given how quickly the situation is changing. To sign up, click here.
The Jobkeeper legislation has passed through both houses of the Federal Parliament, and we have our first non-speculative insight into what employers are able to do, and what they are required to do, if they are eligible employers for the purposes of the JobKeeper payment.
The Fair Work Commission has varied 99 modern awards by inserting a new Schedule – ‘Schedule X: Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic’. Schedule X provides an entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take twice the amount of annual leave at half pay (additional measures during the COVID-19 crisis). These provisions are operative from 8 April 2020 until 30 June 2020 (and may be extended upon application). Employers are encouraged to assess whether awards relevant to their workplace contain these new workplace rights.
To contact one of our Employment Lawyers, complete our contact form or call us on 07 5413 4000.