Question from Rosie Zimmer ([email protected])
During COVID we were required to stop work at our camp sites. Some staff were able to work from home if they had admin work they could do (approx 30% of staff) The other staff were unable to be usefully employed to work from home. Are we able to utilise the Stand Down provisions and shut down / stand down the departments / employees who were unable to work from home and therefore unable to be usefully employed during this time?
In summary – are we able to do a partial stand down of employees?
The temporary amendments to the Fair Work Act to enable employers to stand down employees during the COVID-19 pandemic were repealed on 29 March 2021. You can no longer use those provisions to stand down employees who are not able to be usefully employed.
There is another stand down provision in the Fair Work Act, however, you should be very careful if you seek to use that provision. Under that provision, a mere down turn in your business as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic would unlikely be a sufficient legal basis to stand down your employees.
Employees can bring an unfair dismissal claim if they are dismissed from their job in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner.
If you would like specific advice or assistance with your matter, Hannah Dunai, Senior Associate at Holding Redlich is available on a commercial basis at[email protected]