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COVID-19 lockdowns and payment of wages

FAIR WORK ACT 2009 – SECT 524 states that an employer may stand down employees in certain circumstances

(1)  An employer may, under this subsection, stand down an employee during a period in which the employee cannot usefully be employed because of one of the following circumstances:

(a)  industrial action (other than industrial action organised or engaged in by the employer);
(b)  a breakdown of machinery or equipment, if the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible for the breakdown;
(c)  a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.
Note 1:       If an employer may not stand down an employee under subsection (1), the employer may be able to stand down the employee in accordance with the enterprise agreement or the contract of employment.
Note 2:       An enterprise agreement or a contract of employment may also include terms that impose additional requirements that an employer must meet before standing down an employee (for example requirements relating to consultation or notice).
(3)  If an employer stands down an employee during a period under subsection (1), the employer is not required to make payments to the employee for that period.

Employees may be given the option to use their annual leave.

The impact of COVID-19 is individual to each business. If you require any assistance to identify the appropriate process you should be following, implementing that process or preparing relevant documentation, please contact Warwick Ryan at Hicksons Lawyers on (02) 9293 5448 or [email protected].

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