Workplace COVID-19 weekly wrap-up on 17 April17 April 2020
Although employers continue to grapple with COVID-19 issues, things appear to be settling down a little bit this week after the flurry of activity in this space last week.
This week’s hot topic has been the JobKeeper eligibility rules which have now been released. In this week’s wrap up we set out the eligibility requirements found in the rules. It has now been announced that eligible employers are able to enrol in the JobKeeper scheme from this coming Monday, 20 April 2020.
Also, in case you missed it earlier this week, our team released the second edition of The Evolving Workplace podcast, you can listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the podcast here.
Getting up to speed
You can find out more about the temporary COVID-19 changes to the Fair Work Act here.
The JobKeeper rules—eligibility criteria
Shorter timeframe for varying enterprise agreements: COVID-19 changes to the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth)
Employers can request that their employees vote to vary an enterprise agreement. However, employers must ensure there is genuine agreement to the variation. To do so, employees must be given a copy of the proposed agreement (and any associated materials) during an “access period” before the vote occurs.
Under the Fair Work Amendment (Variation of Enterprise Agreements) Regulations 2020 (Regulations) which commence today, 17 April 2020, the duration of the access period has been temporarily reduced from 7 days, to just 1 day immediately prior to the vote. The Explanatory Statement to the Regulations states that this change “enables employers and employees to quickly agree to new terms and conditions” of employment.
The changes will last for either six months from today (i.e. until 17 October 2020) or later, as prescribed under the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth).