The Fair Work Act enables an employer to stand down employees without pay during a period in which their employees cannot be usefully employed. This may include circumstances where there has been a power failure or a gas leakage to the employer’s premises and where the cause for the stand down is out of the employer’s control.
Employers are not required to pay employees during a stand down period. However, from a best practice perspective, employers may decide to pay employees for the remainder of a shift that has commenced prior to a stand down. Further, employers can be flexible and consider other options that will allow an employee to be paid during a stand down period, such as:
- Take a period of paid leave (annual leave)
- Work at another location (home or another work site)
The fact that an employee is stood down does not break continuity of service with the employer and employees will continue to accrue leave entitlements during the period of stand down.
However, where an enterprise agreement or employment contract contains provisions regarding stand down, such provisions will override the provisions of the Fair Work Act regarding stand down. It is necessary for employers to consider relevant enterprise agreements and employment contracts as these may impose additional requirements which must be met before employees are stood down.
Employers that need to stand down employees are encouraged to contact HR Legal for advice prior to standing down.
This article was produced by HR Legal. It is intended to provide general information only in summary format on legal issues. It does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such.