JobKeeper disputes

The Fair Work Commission has been granted jurisdiction (or the power) to resolves disputes between employers and employees which arise in the context of  the JobKeeper stimulus package in Australian workplaces. This will involve amongst other things the resolution of JobKeeper disputes which may arise from the legslation enabling employers, in certain circumstances, to:

  • make temporary and partial stand downs
  • alter an employee’s usual duties and locations of work
  • alter an employee’s days and times of work, and
  • request that an employee take paid annual leave, including at half pay.

The Fair Work Commission’s primary role is to deal with disputes about JobKeeper enabling directions or flexibility agreements. We are empowered to deal with the dispute by mediation or conciliation, making a recommendation or expressing an opinion, or arbitration. .

Here is what the Fair Work Commission says about it.

“The coronavirus economic response provisions in Part 6-4C of the Fair Work Act 2009 temporarily enable employers who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme to give an employee a ‘JobKeeper enabling direction’. JobKeeper enabling directions provide, with various safeguards, for increased flexibility around employees’ hours of work, performance of duties and location of work.

An employer who qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme may also ask an employee to agree to:

  • the days or times when the employee is to perform work, or
  • the employee taking annual leave, including at half pay.

The Commission can deal with a dispute about the operation of Part 6-4C.”