A stand down is when you temporarily stop working for your employer because you cannot be usefully employed due to circumstances which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.
This is different from being fired or being made redundant because you are still employed by them and still have some entitlements like annual leave.
In response to the economic effects of COVID-19, there have been some changes to stand down laws in Australia. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, employers can now stand their employees down during the pandemic for the following reasons:
- The business has closed because of enforceable government direction, e.g. lockdown restrictions
- There has been a stoppage of work due to lack of supply
- An employer is using JobKeeper allowing a stand down direction under the temporary JobKeeper changes to the Fair Work Act.
Payment during a stand down
Under industrial law, employers do not have to pay employees during a general stand down. However, if you are stood down under a JobKeeper stand down direction, you must be paid the higher of either the amount of the JobKeeper payment, or your usual pay for any hours you do work (see JobKeeper Payment for more detail).
If you have been stood down, you are still considered employed by your employer. This means you are still entitled to some of your minimum leave entitlements such as annual leave.
Under a stand down direction, full-time and part-time employees still accrue leave as normal. They can also take paid or unpaid leave as per their normal workplace agreements. You are not considered stood down during this leave period.
Employees stood down without pay are also still entitled to be paid for public holidays, if you would normally have worked on that day. Some exceptions do apply depending on your agreement or contract.
Funding for this factsheet was provided by the Victorian Government as part of the UTECH project. Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.