Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

We’re here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work during the impact of coronavirus.

We encourage employees and employers to work together to find solutions that suit their individual workplaces and circumstances.

Click the links below for more information about your rights and responsibilities.

Check our News and updates section to see what's been updated recently.

Returning to work & the workplace

Pay & leave during coronavirus

JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme

Temporary changes to workplace laws

Health & safety in the workplace

Alternative working arrangements

Stand downs

Ending employment & redundancy

Other government information & assistance

Help in your language during coronavirus

Contact information

News and updates

12 August 2020

Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility added to construction industry awards

The Fair Work Commission has inserted temporary Schedule X into the Building and Construction Award, Joinery Award and Mobile Crane Award.

Schedule X allows eligible employees under these awards to access 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility. It applies from the first pay period that starts on or after 11 August 2020 until 30 September 2020.

Go to Unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes in awards for more information on Schedule X provisions.

7 August 2020

Changes to JobKeeper eligibility

On 7 August 2020, the Australian Government announced some changes to eligibility rules for the JobKeeper scheme. More information about these eligibility changes and extension of JobKeeper is available on Treasury’s JobKeeper extension external-icon.png page.

We've updated the information on this website. You can also sign up for email updates about the extension of the JobKeeper scheme.

6 August 2020


  • We’ve added a new Tools and resources during coronavirus page with helpful resources for your workplace during coronavirus. This includes templates for employers (including those accessing the JobKeeper scheme) and videos busting common workplace myths about work during coronavirus.

Flexibility in the Real Estate Award during coronavirus

The Fair Work Commission has varied the Real Estate Award by adding a new Schedule I. The new schedule temporarily changes the rules for commission-only arrangements and the calculation of an employee’s Minimum Income Threshold Amount.

For more information, see Real Estate Award flexibility during coronavirus.

5 August 2020

Work permits required for some Victorian employees

Victorian workplaces that are allowed to stay open during new restrictions need to make sure that all employees who are required to work on-site are given a valid work permit by their employer.

To learn more about work permits and how to issue them, go to the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety website – Permitted worker scheme external-icon.png.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Australian Government has announced a new Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, available from Wednesday, 5 August 2020. As a disaster payment, it only applies in Victoria, which is in a state of disaster. It’s available to eligible Victorian workers who don’t have paid sick leave. For more information about the payment including how to claim it, visit Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment external-icon.png on Services Australia's website.

You can also keep up-to-date with coronavirus news and support at external-icon.png.

3 August 2020

Information for Victorian workplaces impacted by new restrictions

If your workplace has been affected by restrictions in Victoria, we have information about your workplace entitlements and obligations. This includes alternative work arrangements, taking care of a child, pay and leave, and stand downs at work. Find out more at Information for Victorian workplaces.

Previous news and updates

To view a list of previous updates to our website, go to our Previous news and updates page.

About our information

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.