Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

We're here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you have a question about workplace entitlements, you've come to the right website. We work with employees, employers and the community to educate and encourage compliance with Australia's workplace laws.

We encourage employees and employers to work together to find the most beneficial and workable solutions that suit their individual workplaces and circumstances. Working together, there are various options to help business and employment continuity through this time.

Continuity of business is a significant issue for employers and their employees during this unprecedented and difficult time. Our interactive graphic below outlines the options available to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the implications for employees. Click on each section below for information and links to relevant information.

Businesses and people affected by the coronavirus outbreak may also be eligible for government financial support. See Government information about coronavirus for links for further information.

See also Recent updates to this site.

New Government JobKeeper wage subsidy

The Australian Government has announced its intention to pass legislation to introduce wage subsidies for businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19. It is called the JobKeeper payment and is intended to be paid directly to employers by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), who then provide the payment to their employees.

For employers

You can register your interest through the ATO website JobKeeper payment page external-icon.png. Registering through the ATO website means you do not need to contact them – they will be in touch with you.

Learn more about the payment and read fact sheets with information for employers on the Australian Treasury website - JobKeeper payment external-icon.png.

For employees

Find out about the JobKeeper payment and read fact sheets with information for employees on the Australian Treasury website - JobKeeper payment external-icon.png.

Arranging flexible work

Using paid leave

Using unpaid leave

Standing down employees

Ending employment

Business bankruptcy & insolvency

In this section...

Recent updates

1 April 2020

  • The Australian Government has announced its intention to pass legislation to introduce wage subsidies for businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19. It is called the JobKeeper payment and is intended to be paid directly to employers by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), who then provide the payment to their employees. Employers can register their interest at Australian Taxation Office – JobKeeper payment external-icon.png.

Updated:

31 March 2020

  • On 31 March 2020 the Fair Work Commission made a determination to vary the Restaurant Award. The new Schedule applies from 31 March to 30 June 2020. The changes improve award flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus for classifications and duties, hours of work for full-time and part-time employees and annual leave. Find out more: Restaurant Award flexibility during outbreak of coronavirus.

30 March 2020

  • On 25 March 2020, the New South Wales Government amended the state’s Long Service Leave Act to allow for greater flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus. For more information, visit the NSW State Government website external-icon.png.

Updated:

28 March 2020

  • On 28 March 2020 the Fair Work Commission made a determination to vary the Clerks Award. The new Schedule I applies from 28 March to 30 June 2020. The changes improve award flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus for classifications and duties, hours of work for full-time and part-time employees and annual leave. Find out more: Clerks Award flexibility during outbreak of coronavirus.

Updated:

We'll continue to update the information on our website as the situation develops and as needed. The information provided is current as at the time of the last update. It is not legal advice but represents the views of the Fair Work Ombudsman based on the best available information. We encourage you to regularly check this page for more information.

Government information about coronavirus

Visit Australia.gov.au external-icon.png for the latest coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia.

Health advice

  • Australian Government Department of Health external-icon.png - for the latest information on the virus, including requirements and conditions for isolation and quarantine periods and when testing should be sought

Payments and services

Business support

  • Business.gov.au external-icon.png - for information about financial assistance, eligibility and timing for new government support for Australian businesses.

Health and safety in the workplace

Tax and superannuation

  • Australian Taxation Office external-icon.png - for information on early access to superannuation, providing cash flow assistance for employers and other government measures relating to tax and super.

Visa holders

  • Home Affairs external-icon.png - information for visa holders relating to coronavirus including new special arrangements for students who are in Australia.

Travel advice

Economic response

  • Australian Government Treasury external-icon.png department - for information on the Federal Government's economic response to coronavirus, including information on support for individuals, businesses and the economy.

Privacy and information

Public health unit advice

Online safety

  • Stay Smart Online external-icon.png - for information about COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails, including what to look out for and how to stay safe.