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​JobKeeper direction to cut hours 'reasonable'

The FWC has ruled that a JobKeeper direction to reduce hours was reasonable.
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​JobKeeper direction to cut hours

​JobKeeper direction to cut hours 'reasonable'

18 June 2020

The Fair Work Commission has ruled that a JobKeeper direction to an employee to reduce his hours was reasonable.

On 2 June 2020, the employee lodged an application pursuant to section 789GV of the Fair Work Act 2009 concerning whether a JobKeeper direction given to him by his employer was reasonable.

The employer operates a recruitment business for accounting and finance roles in Australia and New Zealand. The business has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The employer qualified for the JobKeeper scheme and is receiving JobKeeper payments for the employee.

On 1 April 2020, the employer issued JobKeeper directions to its employees. The employer directed the employee to reduce his hours to 65% of the pre-pandemic arrangements. The employee’s dispute with his employer was not about this direction.

The employer gave the employee another direction on 3 June to reduce his hours of work to 12 per week, or a 71.5% reduction to his pre COVID-19 arrangements. The employee disputes this direction because he is the sole income earner for his household and does not believe that he can meet the requirements of his job if he is only working 12 hours per week.

Commissioner Platt accepted that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted and continues to impact the employer’s income stream and cashflow.  It appears likely that the employer will have a negative cashflow in June 2020. The Commissioner also accepted that the financial impact of the second direction on the applicant is significant.

The Commissioner decided that the direction was reasonable within the meaning of section 789GK of the Fair Work Act 2009, and that the employer was entitled to make the JobKeeper enabling direction. The employer must review the situation each month.

Read the judgment

Application by W.C. [2020] FWC 2928 (Commissioner Platt, Adelaide, 4 June 2020)

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