The COVID-19 local and global situation is changing daily and the impact on business, and particularly employers is now a reality.
Employers are facing unprecedented changes to the way of working, and many employers are having to do this with little or no preparation for such adversity.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has updated their information on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws to provide advice to employers on managing the situation. The advice is general in nature and reminds employers that the usual provisions of the Fair Work Act apply.
It is important to note that the Fair Work Act does not have specific provisions or rules for a situation like this, that has such an unforeseen effect on business and employers.
Employers and employees need to come to their own arrangements. Employers must communicate with employees what their policies will be in this situation, making sure that they are lawful within the Fair Work Act provisions.
The Fair Work Ombudsman provides guidance on many topics including:
- Health and safety in the workplace.
- Directing employees to stay away from the workplace.
- Quarantine and self-isolation.
- Working from home.
- Casual employees and independent contractors.
- Redundancy and reduction of hours.
Essential Information for Employers
There is a great deal of information being published, and we encourage you to stay updated with the official websites.
- Australian Government Coronavirus Health Alert – daily updates of the current status, essential information and advice.
- Fair Work Ombudsman Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws – workplace entitlements and obligations.
- Fair Work Ombudsman hotline – 13 13 94 and select the option for Coronavirus.
- Check your local Chamber of Commerce or state government website for dedicated employer guides.
What you need to do
We suggest you write a policy and plan for the business management of Covid-19 and provide this to employees as soon as possible. This should include guidance on working from home, productivity measures and expectations, personal hygiene, workplace safety, flexible working, user access to relevant tools and technology, leave policies, online security and safety, team communications, as well as any procedures or policies relevant to your business and industry in this situation.
Remember, stay safe and maintain connection and communication with your employees throughout this challenging time.