Previous news & updates

Published 20 April 2020 | Updated 14 August 2020

Find previous news and website updates relating to our information on coronavirus below. You can find the latest updates to our information on our homepage.

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August 2020

3 August 2020

Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award flexibility during coronavirus – expiry of Schedule J

Schedule J in the Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award stopped applying from 1 August 2020. This means that employers and employees can no longer use the temporary flexibility provisions in Schedule J for changes to full-time and part-time employees’ hours of work, or employees’ classifications and duties.

Go to Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award flexibility during coronavirus for more information about these changes and what applies now.

Fast Food Award flexibility during coronavirus – expiry of Schedule H

Schedule H in the Fast Food Award stopped applying from 31 July 2020. This means that employers and employees can no longer use the temporary flexibility provisions in Schedule H for changes to part-time work or annual leave.

Go to Fast Food Award flexibility during coronavirus for more information about these changes and what applies now.

1 August 2020

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July 2020

31 July 2020

Unpaid pandemic leave and award flexibility extended in Health Awards

The Fair Work Commission has varied Schedule X in 9 awards in the health sector.

Schedule X provides unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay. Any leave taken under Schedule X now needs to start by 29 October 2020.

Schedule X applies in these awards until a further order is issued by the Fair Work Commission.

See our updated information on Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes in awards.

Temporary changes to Vehicle Award extended to 31 August 2020

The Fair Work Commission has extended Schedule I in the Vehicle Award. The extended provisions of Schedule I now apply until 31 August 2020.

Read our updated information on Vehicle Award changes during coronavirus.

29 July 2020

Paid pandemic leave for residential aged care employees

The Fair Work Commission has added an entitlement to paid pandemic leave for residential aged care employees covered by the Aged Care, Nurses and Health Services Awards. The new entitlement starts from the first pay period on or after 29 July 2020, is up to 2 weeks’ paid leave on each occasion, and is available for 3 months.

Go to Paid pandemic leave in some awards for more information.

28 July 2020

Unpaid pandemic leave extended in 4 retail industry awards

The Fair Work Commission has extended Schedule X until 30 September 2020 for the following retail industry awards:

  • Fast Food Award
  • Hair and Beauty Award
  • Retail Award
  • Storage Services Award.

Schedule X gives eligible employees 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility.

Check our updated information on Unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes in awards.

27 July 2020

Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility reinserted into Manufacturing and Graphic Arts Awards

The Fair Work Commission has reinserted Schedule X into the Manufacturing Award and Graphic Arts Award after it expired on 30 June 2020. The reinstated Schedule X operates from the first pay period on or after 27 July 2020 until 30 September 2020.

This means eligible employees under these awards can now access 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility from the first pay period on or after 27 July 2020 until 30 September 2020.

Go to Unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes in awards for more information.

22 July 2020

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21 July 2020

Extension of the JobKeeper Scheme

On 21 July 2020, the Australian Government announced their intention to extend the JobKeeper scheme until 28 March 2021, with some changes from 28 September 2020 to the eligibility criteria and payment amounts. The current scheme will remain in place until 28 September 2020.

More information about the extension and changes announced on 21 July 2020 is available in Treasury’s Extension of the JobKeeper Payment fact sheet external-icon.png.

We’ll update our website when more information is available and encourage you to check back for updates. You can also sign up for email updates.

20 July 2020

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16 July 2020

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15 July 2020

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10 July 2020

Restrictions in Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced changed restrictions in response to the spread of coronavirus in Victoria. These new restrictions are now in place across certain parts of Victoria, and in some situations they replace previous restrictions issued for the state (including stay at home orders for some specific addresses within Flemington and North Melbourne).

See the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services restriction levels page external-icon.png for up to date information about current restrictions, including where and how they operate.

If your work or workplace is affected by these restrictions, you can find information about your workplace rights and responsibilities:

Border closures and restrictions

Due to the spread of coronavirus some state and territory borders have closures and restrictions in place for residents of Victoria. While these closures are in place, workers may not be able to attend work as usual.

For more information on border crossing closures and restrictions, check information for your state and territory through the Australia.gov.au website external-icon.png.

Find information about workplace rights and responsibilities:

3 July 2020

Extension of unpaid pandemic leave

The Fair Work Commission has extended unpaid pandemic leave in many awards. There are different end dates for Schedule X (which has the unpaid pandemic leave provisions) in each award.

Go to Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes to awards for more information.

1 July 2020 

Extension of temporary award flexibility for Clerks Award

The Fair Work Commission has extended and changed Schedule I in the Clerks Award.

The new Schedule I now applies until 30 September 2020. Go to Clerks Award flexibility during coronavirus for more information.

Annual Wage Review 2020

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages following its 2020 Annual Wage Review.

The increase applies to awards in 3 stages, with the first group starting from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020. This group includes frontline health care and social assistance workers, teachers and child care employees, other essential services and the National Minimum Wage.

You can find the new rates for the first group of awards in our Pay and Conditions Tool and Pay Guides. If you’re using the calculator, just set the date to 1 July 2020 or after.

Find out more and check which group your award is in: The Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages.

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June 2020

30 June 2020

Extension of some temporary award flexibility provisions

The Fair Work Commission has extended temporary award flexibility provisions in some awards that were due to end on 30 June 2020.

The affected awards are:

  • Hospitality Award – Schedule J now applies until 27 September 2020 and there have been some changes to the provisions
  • Restaurant Award – Schedule I now applies until 27 September 2020 and there have been some changes to the provisions
  • Vehicle Award – Schedule I now applies until 31 July 2020 and there have been some changes to the provisions.

These awards were temporarily varied by the Fair Work Commission to add award flexibility because of the impacts of coronavirus.

For more information about the changes, go to

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19 June 2020

Annual Wage Review 2020

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. This will apply to all award wages.

Increases to award wages start on 3 different dates for different groups of awards. Find out more at The Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages.

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16 June 2020

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12 June 2020

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10 June 2020

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4 June 2020

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May 2020

29 May 2020

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  • We’ve added a new page Returning to work and the workplace, with information about planning and managing the return to work, including lifting stand downs, alternative working arrangements and directing employees to return to the workplace.
  • We’ve added a new page Quarantine & self-isolation: pay & leave options, with information about paid and unpaid leave options for employees if they need to quarantine or self-isolate because of coronavirus.

27 May 2020

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  • We’ve added a search function to help you find the information you need.

22 May 2020

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  • We added examples to our Leave & the JobKeeper scheme page to illustrate:
    • interaction of leave periods with JobKeeper stand down directions
    • accrual of leave during a JobKeeper stand down.
  • We added examples to our Pay & the JobKeeper scheme page to illustrate:
    • requests for secondary employment
    • how directions and JobKeeper payments affect other minimum entitlements
    • public holiday pay.

20 May 2020

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  • We’ve added a new page Resolving workplace issues during coronavirus. It has links to resources to help you with resolving workplace issues, explains how to ask for help, and has information about disputes and enforcement relating to the JobKeeper scheme.
  • We’ve added our website translator to this website. You can now use the translator to read some pages in your language, including our JobKeeper wage subsidy section. More pages on this website will be available to translate soon.

19 May 2020

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  • We’ve added templates to our JobKeeper enabling stand down directions page and Stand down during coronavirus page that employers can use if they need to stand down employees. They include:
    • a letter to notify an employee of a JobKeeper enabling stand down
    • a template to issue an employee with a JobKeeper enabling stand down
    • a template to issue a stand down for employers not accessing the JobKeeper scheme.

13 May 2020

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11 May 2020

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8 May 2020

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7 May 2020

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6 May 2020

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5 May 2020

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1 May 2020 

We’ve updated our information about the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme and the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions, including:

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April 2020

28 April 2020

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24 April 2020

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23 April 2020

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22 April 2020

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21 April 2020

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20 April 2020

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17 April 2020

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15 April 2020

Updated Australian Capital Territory enforceable government direction on:

14 April 2020

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9 April 2020

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8 April 2020

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7 April 2020

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6 April 2020

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3 April 2020

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2 April 2020

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.

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March 2020

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.

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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.

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