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FWC sets out guidelines for JobKeeper disputes

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
01 May 2020 1 minute readShare
Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission has published a JobKeeper disputes benchbook, setting out a list of JobKeeper disputes that can be addressed to the commission.

The Fair Work Act 2009 has been amended to help employers who qualify for the JobKeeper payment to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Under the new provisions, employers eligible for JobKeeper can give an employee temporary stand-down directions, and alter the employees’ usual duties and times of work, but under specific circumstances.

In its latest benchbook, the FWC said it is able to assist with JobKeeper disputes relating to these changes in the act, known formally as Part 6-4C.

Disputes coming before the commission may concern whether a JobKeeper enabling stand down is because of changes to business attributable to the pandemic; whether an employee cannot be usefully employed for the employee’s normal days or hours; safety implications of directions; suitability of alternative workplaces; the reasonableness of employee refusals to work different days or times; and whether a direction to perform other duties is necessary.

But, while both employees and employers are able to apply to the commission, the commission is unable to deal with disputes arising from JobKeeper entitlements and eligibility. 

“The commission cannot assist with disputes about decisions of the Commissioner of Taxation as to whether an employer is entitled to receive JobKeeper payments,” the FWC said.

“Objections to such decisions are dealt with in the manner set out in Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

“This includes review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and appeal to the Federal Court of Australia.”

The FWC also confirmed it cannot assist where an employer refuses to apply for JobKeeper payments and disputes about underpayments.

“The commission can deal with disputes under the dispute resolution procedure in an enterprise agreement or modern award (see ss.738-739 of the Fair Work Act), but the commission cannot generally assist with claims for underpayment of wages and entitlements, including payments under the JobKeeper scheme.”

The FWC said applications to deal with a dispute about the operation of Part 6-4C of the Fair Work Act “can be made by lodging a completed and signed Form F13A”.

It confirmed that there is no fee incurred for making an application to the commission to deal with a JobKeeper dispute.

The whole benchbook can be found here.

FWC sets out guidelines for JobKeeper disputes
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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