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Business Insights – 1st June 2021 – Victorian lockdown

I’m here with an update on the Victorian lockdown on 1st June 2021.

I know we’re all avidly watching the numbers and trying to predict what will happen next. From the reports and comments we’re getting from Victorian authorities, I think we should expect that it’s highly likely that this Vic lockdown will be extended.

I know none of us would want this but we also know that in situations like these, realists are the ones who fare the best. With that in mind, I encourage you to consider doing a few things:

  • Start preparing yourself mentally for an extended lockdown. With at least one mystery case found in the community, the government won’t ease restrictions until they are absolutely sure that the contact tracers are on top of every case.
  • Consider what you need to do to prepare your team and your clients for a longer lockdown. Speak to your coach about the key points you’ll need convey to these different people, and how to communicate the messages effectively.
  • If the lockdown persists, I expect that both the state and federal governments will need to step in again and provide more financial support to Victorian businesses. However, it likely to be much more targeted than the original JobKeeper.
  • Be prepared for further tightening of restrictions if the lockdown is extended. Industry sectors that are currently allowed to fully operate might be restricted in some form.

The purpose of this briefing is not to alarm you, but to ensure you and your team are in the right frame of mind to ride through this period. We saw last time that those business owners who focused on the future and dealt with the present were best able to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.

In light of the possibility that the lockdown may be extended, we at Tenfold will start communicating some of the legislative requirements you need to consider if it becomes necessary to stand employees down or change working hours.

Here are some basic options for you to consider, but please speak to your coach as we are regularly checking the Fair Work legislation and considering how it applies to each client in each industry governed by different awards. Please be aware that the flexibility many of us had under JobKeeper enabled directions no longer apply.

For the awards that govern most of our clients, the options are:

  1. Temporary stand downs (no work)
  2. Reducing/changing hours

See: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/pay-leave-and-stand-downs/stand-downs#standing-down-employees

1. Temporary stand down (no work)

If no work can be done by your employee, they can be stood down.

During a government enforceable action causing a stand down, employees:

  • don’t work
  • don’t have to be paid
  • stay employed

You can stand down an employee and then reactivate them as circumstances change. This may be the best option to give you flexibility to manage your workforce.

See this example from Fair Work where an employer stood down workers while there was no work, and reactivated them as soon as the work was able to resume:

2. Reducing / changing employee’s hours

If some work can be done by an employee with reduced/changed work times, you can agree to reduce the employee’s hours.

(As an example, landscaping on commercial sites can continue during the current restrictions but domestic landscaping works at an occupied site is stopped.)

To change an employee’s regular roster or hours of work, Fair Work requires you to follow a process to properly make any changes to work hours. As a general overview, the process for employers is:

  • Provide information about the change to your employee
  • Invite employees to give their views about the impact of the change (including the impact on family or caring responsibilities – think, homeschooling duties)
  • Consider your employees’ views about the impact of the change
  • Reach an agreement with your employee
  • Notify your employee in writing

Please note: you must come to an agreement with your employee about the changes. This is different from the JobKeeper enabling stand down provisions of 2020 that allowed you to decide what changes would be made without having to get your employee’s agreement. JobKeeper stand down provisions can’t be used.

For detailed information from Fair Work, see: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/alternative-work-arrangements/changes-in-working-hours-and-duties

The awards vary for amount of notice you need to give employees for the consultation and for making the change.

Please speak with your business coach to discuss any aspect of the process and be clear about what your obligations are for various roles and their respective awards. We can provide you with templates for notifying your employees of stand down and change to hours of work.


Here are some links for how to change hours for some awards that are common across  Victorian businesses:

Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020 (this award covers admin staff members across industries)
Clause 39. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work



Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2020:
Clause 28. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2020
Clause 31. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020
Clause 38. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Gardening and Landscaping Services Award 2020
Clause 27. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Professional Employees Award 2020
Clause 25. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Miscellaneous Award 2020
Clause 28. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Surveying Award 2020
Clause 29. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work:



Joinery and Building Trades Award 2020
Clause 34. Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work



Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020
Clause 41.2 Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work



Please keep working closely with your business coach to navigate this current lockdown. I’ll update you as more information about the situation becomes available.


Ashley Thomson B.Eng. (Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Managing Director
Tenfold Business Coaching

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