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Navigating leave on JobKeeper 2.0

By CCIWA Editor

JobKeeper 2.0 doesn't allow employers to request employees take leave, or agree to take double the leave at half pay. So what does this mean for business?

JobKeeper 1.0

The original JobKeeper, launched at the start of the pandemic, allowed an employer to request an employee take accrued annual leave. The employee couldn't unreasonably refuse this request.

Temporary flexibilities also allowed for an employer to agree with employees for annual leave to be taken at half pay. 

Both these flexibilities have been removed from JobKeeper 2.0.

This means that employers who are eligible for JobKeeper 2.0, or meet the Legacy Employer definition, will no longer be able to rely on these flexibilities to assist in managing their employees.

Any requests to take annual leave made by an employer under JobKeeper 1.0 that extend beyond the end of JobKeeper 1.0 (27 September), will cease to have effect on 28 September.

This only applies to requests of annual leave made under the temporary JobKeeper Fair work Act provisions, any other annual leave agreements between the employer and the employee in place at the end of JobKeeper 1.0 will continue unaffected.

Backtracking leave

Chris says employers are not obliged to accommodate staff requests to cancel holidays after the JobKeeper scheme was announced.

"If employees want to cancel their annual leave, it is something that is still only by mutual agreement between the employee and the employer," he said.

"JobKeeper itself hasn't impacted this.

"As with anything you would think about how reasonable that refusal [to retract the leave] was. But that said, if an agreement was in place to access that leave already, then generally the same rule applies in reversing it - you would need mutual agreement to cancel that."

Public holidays

Public holidays should be approached in the same way as you usually would, regardless of whether your employee is on JobKeeper.

Long service leave

In WA, the majority of employees are entitled to long service leave under the Long Service Leave Act 1958. Under this act, employees can't be made to take their long service leave. Chris says that JobKeeper hasn't changed this.

"Some employees may have long service leave entitlements, which are derived from a federal pre-modern award, that would have covered an employer and their employees before January 1, 2010.

And depending on that pre-modern award, some employers might under those preserved entitlements, be able to request their employees to take long service leave.

If they're doing this though we'd always recommend advice should be sought."

If you can’t get JobKeeper

Recently, some modern awards were amended so that employees can temporarily direct staff to take all but two weeks of their annual leave.

Members can contact the Employee Relations Advice Centre on 08 9365 7660 for advice on whether these changes affect their staff.

JobKeeper 2.0 doesn't allow employers to request employees take leave, or agree to take double the leave at half pay. So what does this mean for business?

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