What You Need to Know About JobKeeper, Pandemic Leave, and Award Changes

by Caity Wynn, 2 minutes read
HOME blog what you need to know about jobkeeper pandemic leave and award changes

Over the past couple of weeks, the Australian Government and the Fair Work Ombudsman have announced a number of changes in response to the current global pandemic. These changes may impact your business and your team.

Read on for a quick summary of these changes and to learn how Deputy can help you simply manage their impact. Here’s everything you need to know — all in one place.

The JobKeeper payment scheme

The Australian Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper stimulus package to help alleviate the significant financial burden the pandemic will have for an estimated 6 million Australians.

The Government has set a number of qualifications to assess if your business and your staff are eligible. Not sure if you fit the criteria? Get a quickbreakdown of the requirements— and if you use Deputy, you can use thisJobKeeper Eligibility reportto find out which of your employees are eligible.

New Pandemic Leave Entitlement (all Awards)

To ensure that employees are able to adhere to mandatory quarantine regulations, Fair Workhave introducedpandemic leave. Pandemic leave dictates that employees are entitled to 14 days of unpaid leave for the purposes of mandatory isolation, without putting their job at risk.

WithLeave Managementin Deputy, you can quickly create Pandemic Leave as a leave type, and apply it to all employees at once. Importantly, this will support employees in being able to self-isolate themselves should they need to without concern for the job. And as a manager, you’re able to quickly identify and replace sick employees on the roster and ensure they aren’t scheduled for the duration of their quarantine.

Industry Award changes

For industries that have been more dramatically impacted, Fair Work has been quick to pass a number of temporary amendments to certain awards, allowing for more flexibility in certain areas. Here’s a recap of those amendments.

Hospitality Award (HIGA) and Restaurant Industry Award (RIA)

With hospitality businesses among the hardest hit, the Hospitality Award and Restaurant Industry Award have now been amended to allow Full-Time and Part-Time employees to have their hours reduced without penalty to the employer.

As an employer, if you do reduce your team’s hours you will need to make sure that you have amended any auto-payment settings in payroll.

Further changes have been introduced to Annual Leave conditions. Now employers are able to force employees to take their paid leave, or additionally to take their leave at a reduced rate of pay for a longer period of time.

Clerks Award (CSPA)

Similar to the Hospitality and Restaurant Industry Awards, the Clerks Award has also allowed for part-time and full-time employees to have their hours reduced with no penalty to their employer.

To allow for greater flexibility for those now working from home, the award has also expanded what is classified as ‘ordinary hours of work’ in which overtime will not apply, to include:

  • 6:00 am – 11:00 pm Monday to Friday

  • 7:00 am to 12.30 pm Saturday

If you currently use Deputy for Award interpretation, you will need to make sure that any eligible employees currently paid under the Clerks Award are moved to the Clerks Award – Covid-19 version. You can find out more about updating awardshere.