Important coronavirus updates: JobKeeper scheme and unpaid pandemic leave

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There have recently been some changes to workplace laws to support employees and employers during the coronavirus pandemic.

JobKeeper scheme

The Fair Work Act has been amended to support the implementation and operation of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme (JobKeeper scheme) in Australian workplaces. These changes are temporary and will end on 28 September 2020.

The JobKeeper scheme helps employers significantly affected by coronavirus to keep paying their employees by providing a subsidy administered by the Australian Tax Office. The changes also give eligible employers the ability to give certain directions to and make agreements with their eligible employees to help manage their business.

Find out details about the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, including how it affects and interacts with Pay and Leave entitlements.

Unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes to awards

The Fair Work Commission has added a temporary new schedule into 99 awards to provide greater flexibility during the coronavirus pandemic. The temporary schedule gives employees:

  • two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave
  • the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agrees.

The schedule applies from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 8 April 2020 until 30 June 2020. Find out more at Unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes to awards.

The Fair Work Commission has also made other temporary changes to some awards to provide more flexibility during the coronavirus outbreak – see Temporary changes to workplace laws during coronavirus.

Annual Wage Review

The Fair Work Commission is in the process of carrying out its annual review of minimum wages. A decision is expected sometime in June. You can follow the process on the Fair Work Commission’s website, and we’ll send you more information when it’s available.

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