Generally, there is no legal right to stand down an employee even if there is a downturn in business. There is likely a right to stand down staff if the business is shut down by government (fitness centres, pubs, airlines).
The primary options are usually to discuss with the employee that they take annual leave or long service leave entitlements (possibly at half pay for double the time) or if that is not possible, the employee may need to be given notice of redundancy. In between these options is any lawful agreement the employer and employee can come to, such as the employee taking part paid leave and part unpaid leave or all unpaid leave; an agreement to reduce wages, whether temporarily or permanently; an agreement to reduce days worked. This last option can not be enforced on the employee by law, but rather it allows both parties to find a workable solution that avoids the need to consider redundancy, and then the employee can retain his or her job after COVID restrictions ease.
Employers also need to consider Jobkeeper payments which may allow them to avoid redundancies.
If you would like to discuss a possible unfair dismissal in these difficult times, we are here to help. Call our office on (03) 9642 0435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion with our team.
Nothing in this article should be relied on as legal advice. The contents of this article should be regarded as general information only, and for specific legal matters, independent advice should always be sought