As previously outlined in our article here, as part of its response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on 8 April 2020 varied 99 modern awards to insert a new Schedule X. Schedule X provides for an entitlement to take unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ and flexibility to take twice as much annual leave at half pay.
At the time of varying the awards the FWC determined that the new flexibility provisions would operate until 30 June 2020. The FWC kept open the possibility that an employee, union or business might apply to the FWC for those provisions to be extended.
In response to a number of applications that have recently been lodged, the FWC has resolved to extend the operation of the flexibility measures contained in Schedule X in 64 of the 99 awards. The new expiry date for those measures is 30 September 2020.
A list of the 64 awards is available here.
The FWC also resolved to extend the operation of the Schedule X provisions in an additional 9 awards, but only until 31 July 2020.
A list of those 9 awards (which relate to the health sector) is available here.
In respect of the remaining 26 awards, the flexibility measures contained in Schedule X ceased to operate on 30 June 2020. In so far as an employee commenced a period of pandemic leave or annual leave at half pay prior to 30 June 2020 they are permitted to continue the period of pre-arranged leave.
For further advice on how these changes will affect your business or your employees, please contact our specialist workplace law team.
This article provides general comments only. It does not purport to be legal advice. Before acting on the basis of any material contained in this article, we recommend that you seek professional advice.
Paul Dugan, Principal in our Disputes Team
Direct Telephone: +61 8 8210 2266
Kylie Dunn, Senior Associate in our Disputes Team
Direct Telephone: +61 8 8210 2286
The authors would like to thank Lachlan Chuong for his assistance in preparing this article.