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Frequently Asked Questions
I am a small business owner. Do I need to still employ all my staff even if there's not enough work for them?
This can depend on whether your business has experienced a slowdown, or is legally required to stop operating.
Employees can be stood down without pay if:
- there is a stoppage of work
- the employees to be stood down cannot be usefully employed (which is not limited to the work an employee usually performs)
- the cause of the stoppage must also be one that the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible for.
If a business has experienced a slowdown but could legally keep operating (eg most retail and hospitality) then they may be obliged to either continue paying staff, or to offer redundancy.
This information comes from the Fair Work Ombudsman website and you can read more detail there.
How has the law changed because of COVID-19? How do I know what I'm allowed to do?
In Queensland, there are Public Health Directions covering various issues, including non-essential businesses, border restrictions, self-quarantine and aged care homes. You can read these at the Queensland Health website. You can also ask for clarification or an exemption.
Can I get JobKeeper?
Businesses that have experienced a 30% loss in turnover may be eligible for the JobKeeper allowance. This provides $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for a maximum of 6 months.
An employer may require employees to continue working while they receive JobKeeper, but they cannot reduce their hourly rate. If an employer wants an employee to keep working full-time, they must continue paying them at their existing rate.
More information is available from the Federal Government here.
Job Watch has prepared a Q&A with answers to frequently asked questions here.
Questions about family law issues
Caxton Legal Centre has a factsheet about COVID-19 and family law issues.
Questions about criminal law
For information about criminal law, contact Legal Aid Queensland.
Questions about tenancy and renting
Tenants Queensland has factsheets for renters, including examples of letters to write to lessors.
Questions about Centrelink
Economic Justice Australia has a factsheet about COVID-19 and Centrelink.