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StreamlineHR Monthly HR News

Christmas shut down periods and JobKeeper payments

Last month we spoke about giving employees notice for the Christmas shut down period. There are also a number of things to note about employee entitlements during this time. In particular, Employers in the JobKeeper scheme need to follow certain rules in relation to pay for their eligible employees.

Employers receiving JobKeeper payments for an employee need to pay them the higher of the following amounts each fortnight:

  • the amount of the applicable JobKeeper payment, or

  • their usual pay for work performed (including any paid leave or public holiday pay).

This is known as the ‘minimum payment guarantee’ under the JobKeeper provisions. This means that employees who take annual leave during this period need to be paid the higher of the applicable JobKeeper payment or the amount they’re entitled to while they’re on leave.

For more information on entitlements see the Fair Work Ombudsman link here

Out of hours misconduct

A recent case brought to the Fair Work Commission determined that an ‘out of hours fight’ was not work related, and therefore the dismissal that followed it was deemed unfair. This is a reminder that if employees engage in out-of-hours misconduct and employers want to take disciplinary action, they need to establish a link to work before doing so.

This means the misconduct needs to:

  • be likely to cause serious damage to the relationship between the employer and the employee; or

  • cause damage to the employer’s interests; or

  • be incompatible with the employee’s duty as an employee.

If these links can’t be established and the employer terminates the employee, it could be deemed as unfair dismissal.

Christmas party conduct

It feels like we are all in need of a Christmas party to close out 2020, and for those teams who have been separated for much of the year a chance to get together and let your hair down will be welcomed. In the HR world Christmas parties can come with some risks. When planning for these events we recommend businesses take steps to limit their liability and look after their employees by doing the following:

  • communicate the standard of behaviour expected by employees and other attendees

  • advise Senior Managers of their responsibility to set an example of those standards

  • limit access to the amount and type of alcohol available at the event

  • define start and finish times for the event, and ensure that it is communicated when the event has finished

  • encourage employees to plan how they are going to get home after the event

The essence of a good party is fun and celebration, so we hope you and your team get to do that together this year!

If you would like specific advice and assistance to manage this within your workplace, please contact us on or +61 7) 5612 9914.

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