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AIRLINES – Stand Down Q&A

The JobKeeper scheme ended on Sunday, 28 March 2021. Despite this, employers can continue to stand employees down from work if the requirements of the Fair Work Act are met. However, your employer will now need to use the general power to stand down employees under the Fair Work Act in order to stand you down rather than the special powers they had during Jobkeeper. Your agreement may provide additional rights about stand downs.

This document responds to your FAQs about stand downs.

Can I be stood down by my employer now that Jobkeeper is over?

If there has been a ‘stoppage of work’ that means you cannot be usefully employed, your employer can stand you down. Your employer must be able to show that they did not cause the stoppage of work.

The current international and domestic travel restrictions are very likely to count as a ‘stoppage’ – but we will continue to review this as flying increases.

Will I be paid while I am stood down?

No – your employer is not required to make payments to you during a stand down period. You can request to take annual leave instead of being stood down, and your employer cannot unreasonably refuse this request. Your employer is not required to pay you for any sick leave you take while stood down.

You cannot be stood down on a public holiday. This means agreement rules about DIL accrual still apply on those days.

We also recommend checking your availability for JobSeeker payments. Contact Services Australia to find out what you are eligible for.

How long can I be stood down for?

The Fair Work Act does not contain any time limits regarding stand downs. You can be stood down until the stoppage ends or there is useful work for you to do.

However, if your employer introduces any permanent, structural changes to the way they operate their business, your position may become redundant.

Does my enterprise agreement continue to apply?

Yes – your enterprise agreement will continue to apply during a period of stand down because you remain employed. Your employer cannot force you to complete alternative duties or change your ordinary days or hours of work. Clauses regarding your minimum hours of work each week will not apply if you are stood down.

If your employer isn’t complying with your agreement, contact your organiser.

Can I be recalled to work from being stood down at short notice?

If there is no longer a ‘stoppage of work’, your employer must recall you to work from stand down. However, your employer must also comply with any rostering requirements under your enterprise agreement when recalling you to work.

The ASU recommends that employers should consider each employee’s individual circumstances (alternative employment/caring responsibilities) before recalling them to work. Employers should be looking for volunteers, not forcing people to work disruptive shifts at short notice.

Will I continue to accrue my entitlements while I am stood down?

Yes – you will continue to accrue annual leave and sick leave while you are stood down. A period of stand down also counts as ‘service’ for the purpose of long service leave and calculating any entitlement to redundancy pay. If your employer has not calculated your entitlements correctly, speak to your organiser.

Some of my colleagues have been asked to return to work while I am stood down. Is this allowed?

The answer will depend on the circumstances of your workplace. We will be working with members to make sure that employers treat all employees fairly.

What other support is available?

We know this is a very stressful time, if you or someone you know needs help do not hesitate to reach out to Lifeline 131 114 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

We’re by your side,

The Australian Services Union

If you would like more information or you think your employer has done something wrong, please contact your organiser. You can find their details by clicking here.

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