Changes to the Fair Work Act, which are set to last until 28 September 2020, have been made in tandem with the government’s $130 billion JobKeeper legislation.
According to Fair Work Australia, the new provisions enable employers who qualify for JobKeeper and are entitled to payments for their employees to give “JobKeeper enabling directions”.
These directions mean employers can stand an employee down or change an employee’s usual duties or usual location of work, Fair Work said.
Fair Work also said standing an employee down can include a reduction in hours or days of work.
However, before issuing a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction, Fair Work has said employers need to notify and consult with the employee at least three days in advance and keep a written record of the consultation.
Employers will also be able to make agreements with employees to change days and times of work or to take annual leave under the new provisions.
Employees who make an agreement to take annual leave will still accrue their usual leave entitlements “as if the agreement hadn’t been made”, according to Fair Work.
In order to give a JobKeeper enabling direction or make such an agreement, Fair Work has said employers need to be considered a “qualifying employer”.
Fair Work said employers are considered qualifying employers if they are covered by the Australian Fair Work system.
They also need to qualify for and to have registered for the JobKeeper scheme, and to be entitled to payments for the employee “to whom the direction or agreement applies”.
“A qualifying employer is only authorised to make directions or agreements under the new provisions during periods for which they claim the JobKeeper payment for a relevant employee,” Fair Work said.
Employers that do not meet these criteria will not be considered as qualifying employers and, therefore, will be unable to issue JobKeeper enabling directions or agreements.
More information, including examples of JobKeeper enabling directions, can be found here.