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JobKeeper Payment

JobKeeper Payment

By Workplace Relations Section

COVID-19 Workplace Workplace Relations 


The LIV has prepared a brief summary of the JobKeeper Payment, and what this means for employees and employers

The Australian Government has recently amended the Fair Work Act to support the JobKeeper payments scheme. The JobKeeper payments provide wage subsidies for qualifying businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19 and are paid directly to employers by the Australian Taxation Office, to pay their employees.

Eligible employers* will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees** will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, which employers are able to top-up the payment.

The Fair Work Act amendments allows eligible employers to temporarily issue certain directions to their employees (referred to as JobKeeper enabling directions) and enter into certain agreements with their employees until 28 September 2020.

The Government argued that legislative amendments were necessary, as it was not practical for every individual award and enterprise agreement to be varied to align the pay entitlements with the JobKeeper program.

The JobKeeper enabling directions allow an eligible employer to reasonably (subject to further qualifying criteria and obligations for example notice, consultation and documentation requirements):

1)    direct an employee to work fewer hours or days (including no hours) in certain circumstances, for example, if the affected employee cannot be usefully employed for all or part of their ordinary hours of work during the period of the direction;
2)    direct an employee to perform any duties that are within their skill and competency; and
3)    alter the number of hours worked by an employee, as well as their location of work.

In addition, an employer may request an employee to take annual leave so long as the employee has a balance of at least two weeks’ annual leave remaining or seek an agreement with an employee that the employee will perform their usual duties on different days or times than usual. In both instances, an employee cannot unreasonably refuse.

If a dispute arises as a result of the JobKeeper provisions, it can be heard by the Fair Work Commission.

For more information, please see the Australian Government ‘JobKeeper Payment’ Fact Sheet here.

* Eligible employer means an employer which is eligible for the JobKeeper payment scheme.

** Eligible employees include employees who are employed (including those stood down or re-hired) as either a permanent full-time or part time employee at 1 March 2020, and long-term casual employees (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020). To be eligible, an employee must be an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder as at 1 March 2020. The employee must also be a resident for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020.


Workplace Relations Section
(03) 9607 9413


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