Join our

mailing list.

Keep up to date with our latest insights.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Perspective

Employees forced to work additional hours to ‘earn’ JobKeeper payments

Businesses forcing employees to work additional hours (in excess of their contracted hours) to ‘earn’ the full JobKeeper payment rate are doing so illegally, and are in breach of the minimum payment guarantee, under the JobKeeper Scheme.

Published:

Share

In the unique case of Pamela Green v The Trustee for Vamos International Discretionary T/A Vamos Pty Ltd, a casual employee was terminated after refusing to work additional hours (to make up for a week of illness) in order to ‘earn’ her JobKeeper payments for the week. The employer told her she was no longer eligible for JobKeeper because she took leave, which is patently untrue.

The employee was found to have been unfairly dismissed as there was no valid reason for terminating her employment (there were no issues with the employee’s availability or a shortage of work as the employer tried to claim).

The employee was entitled to receive JobKeeper even though she did not work that week as she was absent on unpaid sick leave. The employer was ordered to pay $14,550.

Lessons for employers:

  1. Make sure you have a valid reason before you terminate an employee, this is the first hurdle you must pass in an unfair dismissal claim.
  2. Ensure that you do not terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons or risk an adverse action claim. Although this was an unfair dismissal, the termination clearly resulted from the employee choosing to take the unpaid sick leave giving her rights to pursue a discrimination claim.
  3. Employees do not have a right to refuse to work to receive JobKeeper payments so if there is no reasonable excuse for them to be absent from work, you are still within your rights to issue a lawful and reasonable direction for them to work.

Written by Nina Hoang

Have a question or need advice?

Our team are here to provide the right advice for your business and workforce. If you have a question or require assistance, please contact Andrew Douglas.

Published:

Share

Stay updated with our Friday Workplace Briefing

Every Friday at 10:30am, join us online to hear the critical news and developments that affect your workplace. We’ll keep it simple, pragmatic and to 30 minutes.

Have a question or need advice?

Our team are here to provide tailored advice for your business and workforce.

Managing Principal - Victoria

Legal Solutions.

Found.

Anything we can help you with?

Fusce sed egestas massa. Praesent eu sem pulvinar, condimentum massa ut, finibus ante. Praesent congue magna quis lectus placerat, tincidunt pellentesque ex placerat. Quisque facilisis quam et augue rutrum, at laoreet purus bibendum.

Join our

mailing list.

Keep up to date with our latest insights.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.