Stand Down Provisions – Urgent Update

AS of Monday 16 November at midnight, many South Australian businesses have been affected by new Covid-19 restrictions. These new restrictions may result in the need for businesses to stand down staff. The stand down provision rules have been changed since the last outbreak in South Australia, so it is important that employers who are looking to stand down staff understand what has changed.

According to the Fair Work Act, Employers may be able to stand their employees down during the Covid-19 for various reasons, including when:

  • the business has closed because of an enforceable government direction (which means the employee cannot be usefully employed, even from another location)
  • there is a stoppage of work due to lack of supply for which the employer cannot be held responsible
  • qualifying employer or employer uses a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction under the temporary JobKeeper legislation. For more information on the difference between a qualifying employer and a legacy employer please see our JobKeeper 2.0 guide

There have been two parts to the State Government’s announcements on 16 November 2020:

The recommendations (advice) from authorities are as follows;

  • Working from home where possible
  • Vulnerable people to remain at home
  • Avoid having visitors
  • Avoid unnecessary travel
  • Wear masks where social distancing isn’t possible (public transport)
  • Schools will remain open

The above recommendations are advice only and are not being enforced by the State Government.

The enforceable restrictions as at 12:01am 17 November 2020 include:

  • Gyms, play gyms, and indoor recreation centres will be prohibited from operating
  • Community sports and training are cancelled (outdoor boot camps will still be allowed);
  • Funerals will be capped at 50 people
  • Churches will be capped at 100 people
  • Hospitality venues will be capped at 100 people
  • Private functions at licensed venues will be capped at 50, with vertical consumption of alcohol no longer permitted
  • Vertical consumption of alcohol no longer allowed at private functions (including weddings) and outdoor areas at venues
  • Otherwise weddings can currently operate as they are, capped at 150 (making sure that all attendees details are recorded)
  • The one person per two square metre rule has been changed to the one person per four square metre rule
  • Masks mandatory for service providers in beauty clinics
  • Masks mandatory in aged care where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Gatherings at private residences will be capped at 10 persons (includes occupants)

If your business has been affected by the directions or potentially even the recommendations, and the business must close down the site or reduce staffing numbers, stand down provisions may apply.  More details on the current restrictions can be found here.

Stand Down Requirements

Step One
Before standing down an employee an employer should consider alternatives to stand down such as

  • Whether an employee can work from home
  • Can an employee continue work with a change to duties, hours or work or rosters
  • Is there paid leave accessible to employees

Step Two
If it is determined that there is still a need to stand down employees, employers must check whether they can stand down the employees under:

  • A JobKeeper enabling stand down direction
  • General provisions of the Fair Work Act
  • An applicable award, enterprise agreement, employment contract or workplace policy.

How we can help:

If you are unsure if your business can implement a stand down provision and you are a Business SA member, contact our Business Advice Hotline on (08) 8300 0000 (select option one) for further assistance and advice.

Not a Business SA member? Access our FREE Industrial Relations Phone Advice Line and COVID-19 Resources:

We recognise that more support is needed by businesses across Australia as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the Fair Work Ombudsman, Business SA is here to provide industrial relations advice to businesses covered by Commonwealth Workplace Laws.

Business SA can assist you to understand your workplace obligations including and any questions you have may have in relation to Modern Awards, classification of employees, rates of pay, general human resources matters, disciplinary, termination and more. You don’t need to be a Business SA Member: all you need to do is contact one of our Workplace Advisers on (08) 8300 0000 (select option 2).

If you are not a Business SA member now is the right time to join. Find out more about Business SA Membership and the great benefits by calling (08) 8300 0000.

No problem is too big or too small and our Senior Consultants are also on standby to provide you with workplace advice and support in lawfully implanting the correct stand down provisions or any other workplace support you may need. Call today on (08) 8300 0000 and speak with one of our highly experienced Senior consultants.

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