April 12, 2020

JobKeeper changes to the Fair Work Act

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

COVID-19 Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) minimum pay & changed duties

12 April 2020

There have been changes to the Fair Work Act because of COVID-19; here’s what you need to know about the jobkeeper payment, minimum pay and changed duties.

Employer obligation to pay jobkeeper payments

Employers that qualify for the jobkeeper scheme must pay their eligible employees the jokeeper payment in the fortnight it’s owed: Obligation of employer to satisfy the wage condition s. 789GD Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). 

The minimum payment guarantee

Employers cannot pay their employees below the minimum.

This goes for both the job seeker payment or any amounts that an employee would be paid for performing their work: Minimum payment guarantee s. 789GDA Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

To clarify, this means that employers must continue to pay their workers money they are owed and this includes incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime or penalty and leave payments. 

Changed duties

If an employer changes an employee’s duties, for example, because they need an employee to cover for another employee that is sick with coronavirus etc, they must either pay the employee their same pay (even if they are covering for someone that was completing lower duties) or greater, if the employee is completing higher duties: Hourly rate of pay guarantee s. 789GDB Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Also, if an Award applies,  you should always check what it says about changed duties in case extra rules apply for your industry.

Employee rights if an employer does not pay correctly

Also, if an employee is not paid correctly, they may pursue unpaid amounts within 6 years of the date they are owed to them.

Employees still retain this right.

Do you have questions or comments about COVID-19 legal changes? Be sure to leave them below. 


About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, CPA and owner of a business consultancy, Vivian is well-positioned to advise Australia's top entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to entrepreneurs.

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