In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and new social distancing measures resulting in industry wide shutdowns, many organisations are left wondering what their legal obligations are to their employees under the Fair Work Act.
In most circumstances, organisations are not required to pay employees if their usual business operations have been suspended and their position is not one which is able to be completed remotely. An immediate reaction is often redundancies however, there are several alternative options available for organisations. These include directing employees to take annual leave (paid and unpaid) and the standing down of employees due to a stoppage of work. Employees and employers must work together to find suitable solutions that address the needs of the business and the staff.