Blog Category: Legal Updates
The Delta outbreak of COVID-19 has thrown yet another curve ball in this pandemic. Businesses are now grappling with increased transmissibility of the virus, the continued threat of workplace outbreaks, and the economic toll of lockdowns. It is little wonder that the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in Australia – which was eagerly awaited but slow to gain momentum – has left many businesses asking the question – can I tell my staff to get vaccinated? And if yes – what can I do if they refuse to get vaccinated?
With Australia’s largest vaccination program ever kicking off next month, many businesses are looking forward to moving further towards ‘normal’ operations. And central to this will be making sure that as many staff as possible get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In Australia during 2020, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic prompt mass stand downs under existing Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provisions, as well as temporary JobKeeper provisions being put in place to assist qualifying employers to use JobKeeper enabling directions and agreements to manage employees during these unprecedented times.
1. Extension of JobKeeper
The Morrison Government has today announced that the JobKeeper Scheme, originally due to end on 27 September 2020, will continue at a reduced payment rate until 28 March 2021.
As the state and federal governments strive to keep Australia’s COVID-19 health crisis under control by maintaining a ‘flattened curve’ and containing outbreaks, much of the focus is shifting to combating the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, by gradually lifting restrictions and permitting businesses to re-open.
We have set out below a quick reference guide to the general position with respect to the various types of leave that a full-time, part-time or fixed term employee, who is impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, may be entitled to take or to request.
Some clients are astonished when they find out that the Fair Work Act 2009 makes no mention of probationary periods. That’s right – nowhere at all amongst the hundreds of pages. And whilst there are some common misunderstandings around probationary periods, the situation is usually very straightforward.
Gig work is on the rise – you are likely to have used taxi alternatives such as Uber, Ola or DiDi and arranged food delivery via Deliveroo or Foodora. Perhaps you have engaged someone to walk your dog, move some furniture or assist with hard drive recovery via Airtasker?