Fair Work Commission Coronavirus Workplace Issues and Changes to Awards

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has made changes to most modern awards. The determinations insert a temporary schedule into the awards which proved employees with two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take annual leave at half pay. The schedule in each award applies from 8 April to 30 June 2020 unless further extended by the Commission.

The Fair Work Act has also been amended to support the implementation and operation of the JobKeeper scheme.

Unpaid Pandemic Leave

Employees working under one of the updated awards can access up to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave if they are prevented from working as a result of being required to self-isolate, or by enforceable government direction, such as the trade restrictions to non-essential businesses.

The leave is available in full any time, without the need to accrue it. It is not required that employees use their paid leave first. Taking this leave does not affect any other entitlements or National Employment Standards and it counts as service for accruing of entitlements.

For full details of the leave changes and awards affected visit FWO Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes to awards webpage.

JobKeeper Disputes

There has been an increase in disputes over leave in relation to JobKeeper which both the FWO and FWC are dealing with. The FWO has released a dedicated webpage for resolving workplace issues during coronavirus. For any disputes about leave or other entitlements during the coronavirus, this is the starting place, although the issue may be referred on to the ATO or FWC.