With more than half the country in one form of lockdown or another and with Sydney, in particular, looking like the lockdown will be in place for some weeks to come, organisations are once again having to think about how to manage through this situation.
For many businesses this has meant fundamentally looking at how work can be done, when their people cannot leave home and have other impacts on their time, such as home schooling. For many, such as the construction industry in Greater Sydney, this has meant closing their onsite operations almost entirely.
So let’s look at the situation where work cannot be done remotely and pandemic restrictions mean you cannot work normally. What options, as an employer, do you have?
The first thing to look at, is to ensure your employees cannot continue working for you in their role, or any other role that would be useful to you, i.e. can you get them to do something else?
If not, then the next thing to check is the reason why they can’t do any work. Is it because of an enforceable government direction – such as not being able to work on site and not having any work that can be done remotely? If this is the case, then you can look at consulting with your people about a stand down.
NOTE: This is not the same kind of stand down that was available under JobKeeper which ended in March. JobKeeper allowed for much more flexibility in terms of what you could do. Now you must rely on stand down rules under either the Award(s) or Enterprise Agreements covering your people, or under the Fair Work Act.
Things to consider:
- Can you put any alternative work arrangements in place?
- Can you agree with employees for them to utilise their leave entitlements?
- Can you agree with them to work reduced hours?
- If the above are not sufficient then can you fall within the definition of a stand down, to allow you to stand down your employees without pay until the restrictions are eased?
To discuss your options in more detail please book a complimentary Discovery Session with one of our Employee Experts and we will help guide you through these tough times.