In what circumstances are workers entitled to sick pay during stand down?

Last week Qantas and Jetstar temporarily stood down two-thirds of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.

Workers who are stood down who subsequently become sick with COVID-19, or provide care to a sick family member regardless of the type of sickness, cannot access personal leave.

For those workers who are off work on sick leave at the time they are stood down the situation is the same but business owners must exercise caution standing down workers in that position, especially if staff are selectively being stood down.

Both types of workers should be able to access annual and long service leave, and some business like Qantas are even offering access to future leave.

Late last week Qantas are reported to have advised staff in this position that sick or carer’s leave would not apply during stand down, so they would be stood down but not entitled to any sick or carer’s leave payments. Not surprisingly, union leaders are threatening to lodge a dispute with the Fair Work Commission.

It is important to know that business owners have a number of options available to them, even during this difficult time. We can help your business navigate this challenging time which includes strategies to reduce risk of litigation.

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