Update – Standing down Employees
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders agreed on Sunday night (22nd March) to a staged process starting with a shutdown of “principal places of social gathering”.
The initial types of venues to be closed include registered and licensed clubs, entertainment venues, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, indoor sports venues and places of worship.
These measures come into effect from Midday Monday 23rd March. If your business operates in these areas and you are forced to make the unfortunate decision to stand down your employees, our deepest sympathy is with you during this very difficult time.
We thought it would be helpful to provide the following resources:
See Fair Work Act s.524. S524.1.c: a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.
However if there are enterprise agreements and contracts in place then they will have to be followed.
There is a case of CEPU & Anor v FMP Group (Australia) Pty Ltd on the website above which also helps clarify a certain situation.
You may like to provide some stimulus information specific to individuals to your team – Coronavirus Stimulus Packages for Individuals
Again, if you are in need of our assistance, please contact us to discuss.
WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT BUSINESS THROUGH THE GOOD TIMES AND THE BAD.
We are here for you if you need our help.
As we face this extra-ordinary situation, for employers this period of uncertainly is truly challenging. Not only are you concerned about the financial effects the Coronavirus will have on your business, you also employ staff and their livelihoods likely depend on the income you provide.
This is a time where difficult yet well-considered decisions need to be made and we encourage you not throw caution to the wind. We are still guided by Fair Work Act, relevant modern awards, Work Health & Safety Act, employment agreements and your company policies and procedures.
What are you rights & obligations as an employer?
Employsure have released this document – Coronavirus Absence Options – it takes you through 8 different scenarios you may encounter with your staff and the options you have available to you.
You may also be interested in the Employsure Guide – Coronavirus for Business Owners – and their Checklist for – Managing Coronavirus in the Workplace. They are both very practical and informative guides taking you through all the steps that need consideration and attention.
We have also been working with Renee Henville from Integrated Human Resourcing to better understand the employer rights and obligations from a HR perspective.
Renee has been speaking with many business owners over the past week and has put together an article with her response to the most common asked questions which are:
- If an employee has symptoms of the coronavirus can we direct them to stay home?
- Can we direct an employee who has been overseas or gone on a cruise to self-isolate for 14 days?
- Can we direct an employee who has been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus to self-isolate for 14 days?
- Can an employee take paid personal leave if they contract the coronavirus?
- What if the employee doesn’t have any paid personal/carer’s leave left?
- Is an employee entitled to paid personal leave if they are not sick but unable to come to work because they are in self-isolation?
- It is possible to stand employees down without pay in certain situations
- What if the employee contracts the coronavirus while they are taking annual leave?
- What if an employee just stays home because they are afraid of contacting the coronavirus?
- Can an employee use carer’s leave to care for a family member who has contracted the coronavirus?
- Can an employee use carer’s leave to take care of children affected by school closures?
- Can we require the employee to provide evidence for taking personal/carer’s leave?
- Can an employee claim workers compensation in relation to the coronavirus?
Communication is key
In this time of instability communication is key.
With any major workplace change, consultation and communication is always required. It will provide for a fair, just and reasonable approach across whole business.
It may be time for you to consider putting some structured policies and procedures in place to communicate with your employees.
If you are unsure of where to start, we are happy to provide the All Staff Communication Template which you are welcome to personalise and distribute to you team.
If you would like implement structured policies and procedures to address dealing with the Coronavirus in your workplace, please contact Renee Henville from Integrated Human Resourcing. She will be happy to assist you.
We are here to help
As always, our team are here to help! If you have any questions or we can support you in anyway, please do not hesitate to contact your Accountant. We are committed to supporting all of our clients throughout the difficult times we are experiencing.