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COVID-19 Business Continuity – 7th May

I’m here with the COVID-19 business continuity update for Thursday 7th May.

The Fair Work Commission has provided more clarity on some key matters relating to giving directions to employees. They are making daily updates to the FWA website, so we’re making sure we keep on top of them for you.

These are important issues so I urge you to ensure you are familiar with them. In some cases, if you are acting outside these parameters, you could be breach of Fair Work.

Your business coaches and I are here if you have any questions.

In today’s update:
1. Clarification on which employees you can give JobKeeper enabled directions
2. “One in, all in”: what it means for your business
3. Fair Work update to giving direction
4. Do employees have to work for their JobKeeper payment?
5. Reminder: deadline for top ups is Friday 8th May

1. Clarification on which employees you can give JobKeeper enabled directions

I know some business owners are unsure about which employees you can give JobKeeper enabled directions to change work hours, days, duties and locations.

This is an important matter, so I spoke with Fair Work today to get clarification and certainty. The Fair Work advisor clarified that JobKeeper enabled directions (JED) can only be made between an eligible employer and an eligible employee. Remember these directions do not necessarily need to be agreed to by the employee.

If your employee is not eligible for JobKeeper (for example, if their employment started after 1st March) then you cannot give JobKeeper enabled directions, and you must follow normal Fair Work Act procedures for changing employment. This will likely be defined in their award and may specify that the employee needs to agree to the stand down arrangement.

For further information on JobKeeper enabled directions, click here to visit Fair Work Australia

If your employee is eligible and is included in your JobKeeper, I’m advising clients to confirm the employee’s inclusion in writing. (This is in addition to their nomination form that they need to give you.) This way, there’s no uncertainty of your entitlement to give JobKeeper enabled directions.

Your Tenfold coach has a template to make it easy for you to cover this off this step.

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2. JobKeeper “One in, all in”: what it means for your business

To participate in JobKeeper, you are required to notify your eligible employees that you intend to claim JobKeeper for them.

The JobKeeper principle of “one in, all in” is that you can’t pick and choose which eligible employees are offered JobKeeper. This means, you must offer all your eligible employees the option to nominate you as their employer to receive the JobKeeper wage subsidy for them.

There are two key points for you to note here:

  • Firstly, it relates only to eligible employees (not ineligible employees);
  • Secondly, JobKeeper participation is offered to your employees. Your employee can choose not to participate in JobKeeper, in which case they are not considered an eligible employee.

Here’s the excerpt from Fair Work:

JobKeeper one in all in

Click here for the link to Fair Work’s explanation.

If one of your employees does not opt in, your business is still eligible for JobKeeper, along with all your other eligible employees who agree to participate.

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3. Fair Work update to giving direction

Today Fair Work updated their instructions on how to give a direction to an eligible employee. It’s a small but significant change; you are now required to consult with your employees and keep a written record of the consultation.

I know that sounds arduous and complex but it doesn’t need to be. The method of consultation that I believe will best suit most of our clients will be to set up a 5-10 minute meeting with your team to explain the direction and take questions. Then email your coach with a summary of the meeting – that way there will be a record of the meeting that is date/time stamped.

After that, you’ll need to give a written copy of the direction to your employee/s. Your Tenfold coach has templates for the various directions so speak to your coach and they’ll ensure you have the appropriate document.
JobKeeper how to give a direction

As coaches, we’ve already supported several clients through the meeting process so we can anticipate the questions you’re likely to get. Speak with your coach so they can help you prepare to brief your team confidently.

Click here to visit this reference on Fair Work’s website

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4. Do employees have to work for their JobKeeper payment?

This is a question that a couple of our clients have faced from their employees and one that we’re hearing about in the news.

The answer is yes, you can direct them to work as long as it’s reasonable. Here’s the excerpt from Fair Work:

JobKeeper following directions to work

For more information on this matter, click here to visit this page of the Fair Work website

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5. Reminder: deadline for top ups is Friday 8th May

If you are eligible for JobKeeper in April, you must have paid all eligible employees the minimum of $1500 (before tax) per fortnight by the ATO’s deadline tomorrow.

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Some good news – some of our clients have already started to receive JobKeeper reimbursements.

Ash

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

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