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FWC pushes for pandemic leave in awards

The FWC has proposed varying 103 awards to include unpaid ‘pandemic leave’.
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FWC pushes for pandemic leave in awards

FWC pushes for pandemic leave in awards

2 April 2020

The Fair Work Commission wants to vary 103 awards to include unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ and the flexibility to take annual leave at half pay.

A six-person full bench has proposed varying awards to:

  • provide up to two weeks unpaid leave for an employee required to self isolate or is otherwise prevented from working because of measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • allow an employer and employee to agree to take double annual leave on half pay.

The changes could be introduced as early as next Wednesday and would operate until 30 June 2020.

The bench issued a statement outlining its provisional views of variations under s 57(3) of the Fair Work Act, saying it was "made in the context of the unique circumstances pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic".

It does not preclude other variation applications being made to modern awards to combat COVID-19.

Full benches of the Commission have recently made variations on an expedited basis to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010, the Clerks –Private Sector Award 2010 and the Restaurant Industry Award 2010. Those variation applications had the support of the major industrial parties. They were also supported by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Minister for Industrial Relations.


Submissions supporting or opposing the provisional views must be lodged by 4pm on Monday 6 April 2020. Submissions should be in Word format and sent to (including the matter number – AM2020/12 – in the subject line).

If a submission is received opposing the provisional views, the matter will proceed to a hearing. If a hearing is required, it will take place at 2pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020 by telephone.

If you wish to attend the hearing, email by 4pm, Monday 6 April, specifying your name and a contact telephone number.   

Read the FWC statement

Variation of awards on the initiative of the Commission (AM2020/12)[2020] FWCFB 1760

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