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COVID-19 Business Continuity – 18th May

I’m here with the COVID-19 business continuity update on Monday 18th May.

In today’s update:
1. Sick leave entitlements for employees on altered arrangements
2. Public holiday entitlements for employees on altered arrangements
3. Stimulus package from Vic Gov: $2.7B

 

1. Sick leave entitlements for employees on altered arrangements – UPDATED

UPDATE: on 3rd June Fair Work Australia advised an update to sick leave for workers on JobKeeper enabled stand down.

This is the update from FWA:

Sick and carer’s leave and compassionate leave
On 18 May 2020 the Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision confirming that an employee who has been stood down under the Fair Work Act can’t take paid sick and carer’s leave or compassionate leave.

This page has been updated to reflect this decision.

This decision may be appealed. We’ll update our information if that happens.

In the meantime, the decision reflects the current state of the law and applies to affected employers and employees.

The JobKeeper scheme doesn’t affect an eligible employee’s entitlement to accrue paid sick or carer’s leave under the National Employment Standards and the relevant award.

However, an employee who has been given a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction to work less or no hours isn’t entitled to use paid sick and carer’s leave or compassionate leave for the days or hours that they’ve been directed not to work.

See the FWA website: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/pay-and-leave-during-coronavirus/jobkeeper-wage-subsidy-scheme/leave-the-jobkeeper-scheme

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The following content was published on 18th May and was correct at the time. It has since been updated and SHOULD NOT be relied on.

Today, 18th May, I want to cover off how sick leave works for employees who have had their work hours and/or days reduced. We had this instance with a client and as it could be relevant over the coming months to many of our other clients, I spoke to a Fair Work representative to get clarification on this matter.

Fair Work advised that an employee is entitled to be paid for sick leave as if they were not on reduced work. Take this example: a full-time employee has been reduced to a 4-day week – say, Monday to Thursday – under a JobKeeper enabled stand down direction.

If your employee is sick on a day when they are currently stood down, in this example on Friday, then they are entitled to be paid for the sick leave. (Note, this is only if they have accrued sufficient sick leave.)

As the employer you need to calculate their weekly pay to include the sick day; this would see you paying them for the full 5 days.

Just be aware that while this is the law, a lot of employees probably aren’t aware so you might not get people asking for it. However, there may be circumstances where D-grade employees might seek to take advantage of this.

Remember, you can ask employees to provide evidence for as little as 1 day or less off work.

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If you have any questions about your rights and obligations, speak to your Tenfold business coach and we can help guide you to the right information.

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2. Public holiday entitlements for employees on altered arrangements

Fair Work Australia has confirmed that employees are entitled to be paid for public holidays as if they were not on reduced work arrangements.

That is, if your employee would normally be entitled to the public holiday before you enacted a JobKeeper enabled direction, you have to pay them even if under a JobKeeper enabled stand down direction you have asked them not to work on the day.

Keep this in mind for the Queen’s Birthday public holiday on Monday 8th June.

Here’s the page: Fair Work: public holiday

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3. Stimulus package from Vic Gov for $2.7B

Today’s announcement of a Victorian Government stimulus package of $2.7 billion in shovel-ready projects is good news. As tipped in my emails to you last week and earlier, social housing is on the list with upgrades to 23,000 dwellings and 168 new houses.

For those of you that this relates to, I’ve been talking with your business coaches about specific strategies to tap into this segment.

There’s more information to come on other areas of the economy that will benefit from the stimulus package – I’ll bring you more details this week as we dig deeper into exactly where it is going to be spent.

Have a great week.

Ash

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

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