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COVID-19: Responding to Even More Changes

Date: August 2020
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Planning for the future: what does business look like after COVID-19? 

  • Many businesses are planning to restructure. 
  • Consider how is COVID-19 related to your restructure? And your short, mid, and long term business plans. 
  • Explore the line between genuine redundancy and unfair dismissal, including what consultation means. 
  • Obtaining an order reducing redundancy pay will depend on the financial circumstances of the employer. 

Summary of new JobKeeper provisions 

  • The new legislation has not yet been finalised. 
  • The legislation will give continued, albeit more limited, flexibility for employers, that have previously qualified for JobKeeper but don't continue to meet the qualification tests. 

JobKeeper in practice 

  • Cases show that the Fair Work Commission is willing to uphold JobKeeper directions which are reasonable taking into account the individual circumstances of employers.
  • Directions should not disproportionately and unreasonably target particular classes of workers. 

Mental health: where to from here? 

  • There has been a significant increase in calls to support services like Beyond Blue. 
  • Given this information, what is the duty that employers owe to their employees to support them? 
  • There are mental health impacts of working from home, including uncertainty, disengagement, and fatigue increasing. 
  • Redundancy and restructures are increasing as the planned end to JobKeeper looms, and these measures compound the above impacts. 
  • Mental health concerns are manifesting in absences, sickness, and performance issues. Working from home makes the management of these issues more difficult. 
  • Proactive management of employees is encouraged. 
  • Exploring the divide between employees who are coping and those who are not. How do you target risk in this environment? 
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