In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) have made amendments to majority of modern awards. A new Schedule X entitled ‘Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic’ is now included in 99 industry awards, listed here. The schedule introduces two significant changes. The first relates to unpaid ‘pandemic leave.’ Where an employee is prevented from working due to a government or medical direction to self-isolate or any measure taken by the government or medical authorities in response to the pandemic, that employee is entitled to two weeks of unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ (commencing prior to 30 June 2020). The employee is required to give their employer notice, identifying the reason for the leave. An employer may require appropriate evidence to be supplied. The second change is that employees can agree with their employer to take double their annual leave entitlement at half of their payment rate, before 30 June 2020. As the coronavirus situation constantly evolves, the FWC may take additional measures in relation to employment rights and duties. Contact M+E for up to date information and assistance.

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