COVID-19: Civic Legal Response

Legal Update: Employment Law – JobKeeper wage subsidy coming to an end

9 Mar 2021

The JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme under the Fair Work Act 2009 is coming to an end on 28 March 2021. Many Western Australian employers and employees will need to adapt, with some employers needing to reduce their wage bill going forward. 

How does this affect employers?

When the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends, employers will generally not be able to keep employees on reduced hours without the employee’s agreement.

There are some solutions that employers may consider to reduce their wage bill and respond to market pressures, such as:

  1. workforce restructuring
  2. reduction in working hours
  3. reduction in pay
  4. redundancies.

'... employers will generally not be able to keep employees on reduced hours without the employee's agreement.'

Actions

In preparation for the future, employers should:

  1. Think strategically, get advice and act promptly
  2. Check whether a modern award or enterprise agreement will impact the strategy of the organisation
  3. Consult with employees about future plans
  4. Evidence any agreement to change an employee’s hours or pay in writing
  5. Check if this is a genuine redundancy situation If an employer decides that it cannot afford to keep the employee, this will generally amount to a valid reason to make the employee redundant.
  6. Follow a fair procedureEnsure that an employee is not selected for redundancy, a pay cut or reduction in working hours because of a workplace right protected under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
  7. Check final payMake sure final pay is calculated correctly, including any payment in lieu of notice and redundancy entitlement.
  8. Communicate changesEnsure that existing and remaining employees are communicated with and supported.

For assistance with employment law, please contact:

Isabelle Kelland

Solicitor

ikelland@civiclegal.com.au

9200 4900

Disclaimer: This article contains references to and general summaries of the relevant law and does not constitute legal advice. The law may change and circumstances may differ from reader to reader. Therefore, you should seek legal advice for your specific circumstances. The law referred to in this publication is understood by Civic Legal as of publication date.

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