This week we continued to see a number of employers start planning their gradual return to work, while the Federal Court handed down an important COVID-19 related decision, finding that employees are unable to take sick leave during a stand down period.

As always, a reminder that at any time you can visit our Wellbeing and Culture page, view our webinar series, listen to our podcast channel or read the most relevant COVID-19 legal insights from across our global network.

More information on the various developments in the employment space this week are outlined below.

No right to take sick leave during stand down

The Federal Court of Australia has handed down its decision on the question of whether an employee should be allowed to access personal leave during a stand down. On 18 May 2020 the Federal Court, in dismissing the unions’ joint application, held that an employee lawfully stood down under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is not entitled to access paid personal leave during their stand down period.

Please follow this link to view the recent decision.

Employers unable to force workers to attend the workplace

NSW is easing its COVID-19 restrictions, but employers are prohibited from forcing workers to attend the workplace if they are able to work from home, under the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 2) 2020.

Please follow this link to view the new Order.

Queensland workers may soon be able to apply for long service leave payments

The Justice and Other Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Bill 2020 has been introduced into the Queensland Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend over 20 Acts and proposes to, amongst other things, permit affected registered workers to apply for payment of all or part of their long service leave.

Please follow this link to view the new Bill.

New elevator guidance from SafeWork Australia

SafeWork Australia has revised its advice on physical distancing measures in office elevators. The current guidelines are individuals must ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that they are maintaining physical distancing in lifts and lift waiting areas. There is no requirement to provide four square metres per person in lifts.

Please follow this link to view the guidance.

NSW Supreme Court to resume face-to-face trials

The NSW Supreme Court will be resuming some of its face-to-face civil hearings and criminal jury trials on 1 June 2020 and 29 June 2020 respectively. The civil hearings with a limited number of parties, witnesses and legal representatives may return to the courtroom at the start of June. However, matters with larger number of parties and witnesses will return in stage two.

Please follow this link to see the media release from the Supreme Court.

Weekly Webinar

This week, Danielle Kelly, our global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, interviewed Sue O’Dea, Leadership Advisor with McKinsey & Company as well as with Cultivating Leadership, on how we can cultivate psychologically safe cultures not only now when many of us are working from home during the pandemic but also when we return to more “normal” ways of working.

Click here to access the webinar.

In case you missed it, you can access last week’s webinar where we discussed preparing businesses to return their people to work here.

JobKeeper Navigation App: Update

We recently developed the JobKeeper Navigation App (which is designed to help you understand this scheme, whether you are eligible to receive this payment and what steps you should take next).

The latest version of the JobKeeper Navigation App incorporates new legislative changes and ATO guidance. These cover the new group service entity test, the application of the lower threshold for various charities, as well as updates to the decline in turnover calculations.

You can access the App here. We recommend using the Google Chrome browser to get the best web experience.

For more information, please contact:

Anna Creegan

Anna Creegan
Partner, Perth
+61 8 9211 7135

Kirsty Faichen

Kirsty Faichen
Partner, Brisbane
+61 7 3258 6492

Natalie Gaspar

Natalie Gaspar
Partner, Melbourne

Drew Pearson

Drew Pearson
Partner, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5492