Closures due to catastrophic bushfires
As the summer months are getting closer, we are facing raging bushfires that have sadly already taken lives and hundreds of homes. A state of emergency has been declared with some schools, businesses and other services already having closed down, with more to follow given the “catastrophic” conditions forecast for tomorrow.
A number of members have contacted us with respect to payment of employees who have been told not to attend work because of these closures.
In summary, under the Fair Work Act, an employer may be able to stand down an employee. A stand down can be unpaid, but the employer can choose to pay the employee.
Options to avoid loss of pay for employees in cases where their workplace is closed include allowing employees to work from home, take paid leave and take accrued time in lieu.
Some employees will be entitled to carer’s leave – for example, if their child’s school is closed. Others may be entitled to community service leave if they are part of the SES or rural fire service. CCER recommends these types of leave requests be considered on a case by case basis.