The Fair Work Commission has signaled its intention to update 103 awards to provide an entitlement to two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave and the flexibility for employees to take two weeks annual leave at half pay.
The proposed changes are set to operate until 30 June 2020.
The Fair Work Commission’s proposal looks to address a regulatory gap to protect employees from dismissal should they be required to self-isolate because they had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
“By addressing the ‘regulatory gap’, the new entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave will enable more people to remain in employment,” the Fair Work Commission said.
Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter said the proposal would potentially help save “tens of thousands of jobs”.
“You can see how those common-sense changes would allow the flexibility in a number of businesses, flexibility which could well make the difference between survival of the business and preservation of the jobs or the failure of the business and the loss of the jobs,” Mr Porter said.
“So, these are incredibly important changes. They would have saved tens of thousands of jobs, and I might also add they have been critical to ensuring and protecting the supply lines of the goods and services that Australians rely on.”
The Fair Work Commission is currently accepting submissions until 6 April.