The JobKeeper Payment scheme is now Law, having received Royal Assent late last week.

The Scheme includes amendments to the Fair Work Act which allow employers to give JobKeeper Enabling Directions to employees as regards employee hours, duties and the location of work, and to reach agreement with employees as regards working days and the taking of annual leave.

The amendments are only available to eligible employers and are temporary until 27 September 2020.

JobKeeper Enabling Directions

For the direction to be compliant, the employer must:

  • give the employee written notice of the intention to issue the JobKeeper Enabling Direction;
  • consult with the employee about the JobKeeper Enabling Direction; and then,
  • at least 3 days later*, issue the JobKeeper Enabling Direction in writing.

NB: *The employee may agree to a lesser notice period.

A JobKeeper Enabling Direction may be about: being stood down from work; working reduced hours; performing different duties; and, working from a different location.

A JobKeeper Enabling Direction can be issued without the employee’s consent, however, it must not be unreasonable in all the circumstances.

If you direct an employee to perform different duties, or to work from a different location, the JobKeeper Enabling Direction must be reasonably necessary to continue the employee’s employment.

JobKeeper Scheme Agreements

The employer and employee may reach agreement regarding:

  • the days, or times, when an employee works; and
  • the employee taking annual leave, including taking it at half pay.

Am I an eligible employer?

The scheme will apply to all businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion, and which have experienced, or project they will experience, a drop in turnover of 30% or more, unless a registered charity in which case the drop in turnover must be at least 15%.

The rules are available here.

Who is an eligible employee?

An eligible employee is one that was as at 1 March 2020:

  • employed, and 16 years or older;
  • a full time, part time or long term casual employee*;
  • an Australian citizen, permanent resident or the holder of a Special Category 444 visa; and
  • a resident for Australian tax purposes.

NB: *A long term casual is a person employed as a casual on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months at as 1 March 2020.

If you have any questions about the directions or agreements, do not hesitate to contact me.

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