JobKeeper Flexibility for WA State System Employers

The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) today issued a General Order that will take affect from 16 May: 

Electrical contractors in WA who are trading as sole traders and partnerships do not fall under the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) but are covered by the State system and the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA).

To provide such private sector employers with flexibility to manage employment arrangements in a manner that supports the JobKeeper Scheme established under the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No.2) Act 2020 (Cth), the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission today issued a General Order under s50 of the Industrial Relations Act.

The General Order will provide for the following specific temporary measures:

1.  A requirement that where a JobKeeper payment is payable, the employer is to provide eligible employees the value of the JobKeeper payment or the amount owed for work performed;

2.  Ability for an employer to stand down employees (either fully or partially) because they cannot be usefully employed arising from the COVID-19 pandemic or government initiatives to slow the transmission of COVID-19;

3.  Ability for an employer to alter the duties of work of an employee in order to continue employment of one or more employees of the employer; 

4.  Ability for an employer to alter the location of work in order to continue the employment of one or more employees of the employer; and

5.  Options for an employer and employee to agree to work being performed on different days and times, provided that the employee does not unreasonably refuse an employer’s request.  

The General Order also sets out the ways employees, organisations and employers can refer disputes about the General Order to the State Commission for conciliation and arbitration.  

These measures are likely to take effect from 16 May 2020 and will operate until 28 September 2020 and may be extended.

The General Order will apply to all private sector employers and employees in the State system, whether covered by an award or not. 

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For more information on employers’ obligations, call NECA Legal (WA) Pty Ltd on 6241 6129