Tag: employees

Reboot Your Workforce after COVID-19



It now appears clear that both State and Federal Governments are now planning the way out of COVID-19 restrictions and easing restrictions for business with a clear focus of trying to get business back up and running to ease the financial burden on the economy and the burden on the employees that have been impacted.

So, it would appear that in the coming weeks many businesses that have been closed or partially closed will now be able to re-open or re-open with some limitations. Clearly not all businesses are going to be able to re-open immediately however some will in the coming weeks. For some businesses this is now an opportune time to start thinking about preparing the workplace and preparing for situations that might arise in those first few weeks.

For some businesses, the return of employees to work will be smooth but for others there may be circumstances and scenarios that have not been dealt with nor contemplated. The return of staff to the workplace after a shutdown like this has never been dealt with before; and dare I say it, it is unprecedented.

Undoubtedly, questions are going to arise, such as how do I ensure my workplace is safe? Because all businesses have a duty to ensure that the workplace is safe, not just for employees but also customers, patrons and contractors.

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Standing Down of Employees During the Covid-19 Emergency

In the past week we have fielded many questions relating to the issue of standing down employees. This issue naturally arose last week with the Government announcing that Pubs, Clubs and Restaurants be closed and staff of these establishments were entitled to be stood down.

However, there were many other businesses which saw these staff being stood down and assumed that they had the right to do so as well. Many were under the misapprehension that if there was a slow down in trade that then gave right to a stand down. For example a manufacturing company was of the belief that the pandemic had resulted in less orders and therefore less work, so that they could stand down staff.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
If you stand down an employee without a legal right to do so and you don’t pay wages, you may effectively be dismissing the employee, or you may be required to make good any underpayment during the period of the stand down.

The Employer’s right to stand down an employee may be provided by an employment contract, an enterprise agreement or more likely, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).

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