Regulations to support extension of JobKeeper flexibilities
The Morrison Government has today made Regulations to support the continued operation of the temporary JobKeeper workplace flexibilities for struggling employers.
Legislation to extend the JobKeeper payment for a further six months beyond September 28 was passed by Parliament earlier this month. Importantly, the legislation also extended a modified version of the temporary workplace flexibilities in the Fair Work Act 2009 to assist those employers (legacy employers) who will no longer qualify for the scheme, but are still experiencing financial distress.
Under the legislation, legacy employers must satisfy a 10 per cent decline in turnover test in order to access the temporary workplace flexibilities. The flexibilities can enable those employers to reduce an employee's hours of work in certain circumstances – and subject to significant safeguards – but not below 60 per cent of their ordinary hours.
Legacy employers must also give employees seven days written notice (up from three previously) before a JobKeeper Enabling Direction (JED) is issued, and they cannot require an employee to work for less than two hours on any day they work.
"It is vitally important that these flexibilities continue to be provided for those businesses that are still on the road to recovery so that they can continue to keep people in jobs as they regrow their way back to prosperity," Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, said.
"The Regulations provide clarity on the operation of the temporary flexibilities in certain circumstances. I encourage employers and employees alike to familiarise themselves with their rights and obligations ahead of 28 September, when the extended flexibilities take effect.
"In particular, legacy employers will need to comply with enhanced consultation requirements and obtain a decline in turnover certificate before they can use these flexibilities."
Penalties of up to $13,200 for individuals and $66,600 for body corporates can apply to employers who don't meet the 10 per cent test but knowingly or recklessly try to use the provisions, or if they fail to notify employees that a JED or agreement is continuing or ceasing each quarter.