This week saw the introduction of the COVIDSafe application, which is designed to speed up the process of contacting people who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19.
Further guidance has been released in relation to the JobKeeper legislation and by SafeWork Australia regarding work health and safety considerations.
More information regarding these developments in the employment space this week are outlined below.
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.
Introduction of the COVIDSafe App
The Australian Government has launched the new voluntary COVIDSafe App, which seeks to increase the respond rate to local outbreaks. The App tracks and identifies whether an individual has been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
The COVIDSafe App was passed under the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements – Public Health Contact Information) Determination 2020 (Cth) which provides privacy protection for data collected through the App. To read this determination, please follow this link.
From an employment perspective, it is important to note that a person (including an employer) cannot require another person (including an employee) to download COVIDSafe to a mobile device. There are also other similar prohibitions.
More information on the COVIDSafe App can be found here and on the Department of Health’s website.
JobKeeper ‘one-in, all-in’ principle
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced that the Government will update the JobKeeper rules to emphasise the “one-in, all-in” principle.
In a JobKeeper update issued on Friday, Frydenberg said the that this principle will ensure that employers cannot select which eligible employees will participate in the scheme. Rather, if an employer decides to participate in the JobKeeper scheme and their eligible employees have agreed to be nominated by the employer, the employer must ensure that all of these eligible employees are covered by their participation in the scheme.
The Treasurer’s full announcement can be found here.
JobKeeper extension and updated payment verification process
The ATO has extended the time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020. This means that, if businesses enrol by 31 May, they will still be able to claim for the fortnights in April and May, provided they meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights.
For the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), the ATO will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight provided it is paid by 8 May 2020.
Additionally, the Australian Government recently introduced the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 1) 2020. This instrument amends the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020 to require the Commissioner to verify JobKeeper payment information with authorised deposit-taking institutions.
Please follow this link to view the new instrument.
You can also find more information on the JobKeeper application process here and on the ATO website.
Release of the JobKeeper disputes benchbook
The Fair Work Commission has released the JobKeeper disputes (Coronavirus economic response) benchbook to assist parties lodging or responding to JobKeeper dispute applications under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (link here).
The FWC have now clocked over 120 applications to deal with disputes under the scheme, while a union-run ‘Jobscammer’ website recorded more than 250 responses in its first week.
SafeWork Australia has recently released new guidance material including:
- guidance that outlines key considerations when undertaking a risk assessment associated with COVID-19 (link here);
- a template with examples of a risk register to assist businesses in assessing the risks associated with COVID-19 (link here);
- a factsheet to provide guidance for Registered Training Organisations in delivering an introductory safety training course through connected real-time delivery (link here); and
- a template to assist businesses with drafting an emergency plan (link here).
JobKeeper Navigation App is now live!
We have 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).
You can access the App here. We recommend using the Google Chrome browser to get the best web experience.
This week’s webinar hosted by Merryn Quayle (Partner in our Disputes team) discussed how to manage supply chain issues. John Laing (Senior Expert, McKinsey) explores how businesses are coping with supply chain issues and what’s next, Kristin Stammer (Partner in our Corporate team) explores terms and products, Patrick Gay (Partner in our Competition team) discusses excessive pricing and ACCC relaxation of enforcement, and Nanda Lau (Partner in our Corporate team in China) looks at China, specifically shifting supply chains elsewhere and the state of China’s supply chain market.
Click here to access the webinar.