End of JobKeeper FAQs
- The JobKeeper scheme’s comes to an end on the 28 March 2021 and we’ve compiled responses to your frequently asked questions.
- From 29th March 2021 employees will revert to their previous terms and conditions.
- Moving forward, a business owner can only direct an employee to take annual leave if there is a relevant provision in the Fair Work Act, or a modern award/enterprise agreement which permits it.
- If you are considering making a change which will impact your employees, employment legislation, modern awards and enterprise agreements dictate the procedure you must follow.
12 months on from the launch of the JobKeeper wages subsidy scheme, businesses will no longer be entitled to a fortnightly wage subsidy. Below is what your business needs to know before 28 March 2021.
JobKeeper Enabling Directions
One measure put in place to help employers combat the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was the temporary amendment to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FW Act”). This allowed employers to implement ‘JobKeeper enabling directions’ that afforded them more flexibility.
These flexibilities were designed to override any applicable employment contract, modern award and/or enterprise agreement. These changes allowed employers to direct employees to undertake alternative duties, work reduced hours (or days) and work at alternative locations.
From 29th March 2021 employees will revert to their previous terms and conditions.
If your business is still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and, for example, you need to maintain a reduced-hours, you will now need to consult with your employees and get their agreement. In the absence of an agreement, employers will need to explore their options under the contract and other applicable industrial instruments and awards.
While there is no legislative requirement for employers to notify employees that JobKeeper payments or JobKeeper enabling directions are ceasing, we highly recommended that you issue them with an email reminder and remind them in your next staff meeting.
Requests to take Annual Leave
The JobKeeper scheme permitted employers to issue employees with a request to take annual leave. During the pandemic, this request could not be unreasonably refused.
However, with the end of JobKeeper, this temporary provision is no longer allowed. Employers must comply with the Fair Work Act, which requires employers to agree annual leave with the employee.
Moving forward, a business owner can only direct an employee to take annual leave if there is a relevant provision in the Fair Work Act, or a modern award/enterprise agreement which permits it.
Redundancy/Change in Hours
The end of JobKeeper gives employers the opportunity to reassess their operations and cashflow. This can include identifying what roles are still required, how and where roles can be performed, and the number of hours required to meet business operations.
If you are considering making a change which will impact your employees, employment legislation, modern awards and enterprise agreements dictate the procedure you must follow. The process includes notification and consultation obligations, considering redeployment opportunities and in most circumstances notice and severance pay requirements.
Where can you go for help and guidance?
Managing change can be costly and challenging. It must be managed well to minimise risk. Regardless of the size of the business, your industry or unique issues, we recommend you speak with workplace relations consultants who are experienced in change management, to provide you with the information you need. You can call:
- Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222
- Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222 for assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations.
- Workplace Relations Consulting team on 03 8662 5222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information about strategic workplace relations and employment law compliance (e.g. restructure, redundancy, representation at the Fair Work Commission, modern award interpretation, leave entitlements, dismissal and termination of employment advice).
If you have any questions or need advice and clarity specific to your business, feel free to contact Semmens & Co on 03 8320 0320 for a free consultation. We’re here to help.
If you have any questions or need advice and clarity specific to your business, feel free to contact Semmens & Co on 03 8320 0320 for a free consultation.