Have you got questions about your rights at work during the COVID-19 health crisis? Our Community Lawyer Shane Foyster answers some of the common questions we have been getting about employment law rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the video below. Shane also spoke to Tom and Loggy on K-Rock about employment rights and COVID-19 – you can listen to the segment here.
The team at BCLS have put together some further information for employees about their rights at work during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can download a printable fact sheet here.
An employer can make you redundant if the job you perform is no longer required or if the employer becomes insolvent or bankrupt. For example a redundancy may occur where there is downturn in demand for services, sales or production. It can also occur where your usual duties are reallocated or absorbed by other employees.
It must be a genuine redundancy. The employer must comply with any consultation requirements before making this decision, including reasonable efforts to redeploy you within their business. If the redundancy is genuine, you employer must pay you appropriate notice, redundancy pay and any other entitlements you are owed.
An employer may stand down any of their workers for a period of time where there is a stoppage of work which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible. For example, if an employer is temporarily forced to close the business to comply with COVID-19 government restrictions, or a large portion of the workforce had to self-quarantine leaving the remaining employees unable to be usefully employed, this is likely to fall within the stand down rules.
Before making a stand-down decision, the employer must consider alternative options such as:
The effect of a stand-down is that you remain employed, although you are not required to perform work and are not paid during the period of the stand-down. However, you continue to accrue annual leave and personal leave entitlements while you are stood down and may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment.
If you have developed COVID-19 symptoms as reported by the Department of Health and Human Services and have obtained a medical certificate, you cannot be dismissed on these grounds.
In the event of a dismissal due to a temporary illness, you can make a complaint within 21 days from date of termination to the Fair Work Commission. However, if the total length of absence due to illness or injury is more than three consecutive months, you may not be protected from unfair dismissal.
You would be eligible to make an unfair dismissal complaint only if;
Employers may be able to direct you to work from home or self-isolate, so long as such a directive is lawful and reasonable. Employers have an obligation to ensure that working from home arrangements are safe and healthy, so far as reasonably practicable, including providing appropriate equipment.
Workers should not lose any pay or incur additional costs. Any costs associated should be reimbursed by the employer.