If an employer has qualified for the JobKeeper scheme and is entitled to fortnightly Jobkeeper payments for their employee(s), under the new provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 they can:
- stand an employee down;
- reduce an employee’s hours of work (including reducing the days on which they perform work);
- direct an employee to work from a different location to their usual work location; and
- direct an employee to perform different duties to their usual duties.
These directions are known as ‘JobKeeper enabling directions’.
Employers under the JobKeeper scheme can also request an employee to enter into an agreement to change the days or times at which they perform work (but without reducing the number of hours) and to take annual leave, including at a half rate of pay (though for twice the length of time).
All directions or requests from the employer must be reasonable and take into consideration the impact on the employee’s other commitments, for example caring arrangements.
The employer must consult with the employee before giving a direction, and the direction can only apply if the employer reasonably believes that it is necessary to continue the employment of one or more employees of the employer.
When an employer gives the employee a direction, they must notify the employee in writing at least three days before giving the direction, they must consult with the employee about the direction and then give the employee the direction in writing.