With the government's announcement yesterday on the JobKeeper allowance, many businesses may now be considering whether to retain or reinstate, or to delay the stand down or redundancy of, employees. The legislation has not been finalised at this stage, and the devil will be in the details.
At this stage, however, it is important for businesses to consider and obtain appropriate legal and financial advice on an array of issues, including:
- Whether their business will be eligible for the JobKeeper allowance and, more importantly, whether the allowance will enable a business to weather the storm or whether advice on administration should be sought.
- The impacts of any currently planned redundancies on the availability of the Job Keeper allowance, and whether an employee can be reinstated at a later date (either by the employer or by the Fair Work Commission).
- Where employees have been stood down on or after 1 March 2020 due to a "work stoppage", and are eligible employees, whether they can/should be reinstated and whether the business is then properly considered under a "work stoppage".
- Where employees are continuing in employment, ensuring that minimum wage requirements and other obligations under the relevant legislation, Award or enterprise agreement continue to be met.
- Where changes to hours or salary, or other major impacts on employment such as redundancy or standdown are being considered, ensuring consultation requirements under the relevant Award are complied with.
- The terms of individual employees' contracts and making sure any variations to the contract are agreed between employer and employee and recorded in writing if possible.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.