Previous news & updates

Published 20 April 2020 | Updated 24 November 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.

November 2020

18 November 2020

Coronavirus restrictions in South Australia

The South Australian Government has introduced temporary restrictions to help stop the spread of coronavirus. These restrictions include the temporary closures of workplaces and schools.

If your workplace has been affected by these restrictions, find out your workplace entitlements and obligations. We have information on:

  • stand downs from work
  • taking leave (unpaid and paid)
  • quarantine and self-isolation pay and leave options
  • taking care of a child
  • alternative working arrangements.

Learn more at Information for South Australian workplaces.

Get more information and stay up to date on the coronavirus restrictions that apply at South Australian Government – COVID-19 external-icon.png .

6 November 2020

Returning to the workplace - a new interactive tool for employers

We've launched our Returning to the workplace - interactive employer tool to help employers get their businesses back up and running during coronavirus.

The tool gives tailored information to employers on returning to the workplace, scaling up operations and adapting to workplace changes. It can help to find the information you need when:

  • transitioning employees back to the workplace, including lifting a stand down
  • changing employees’ hours, duties or work location
  • introducing alternative working options for staff
  • keeping up to date with changes to workplace laws.

Use the Returning to the workplace - interactive employer tool now.

October 2020

30 October 2020

Unpaid pandemic leave and award flexibility extended in Health Awards

The Fair Work Commission has extended unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay in 9 awards in the health sector.

These are provided by Schedule X in the awards. Leave taken under Schedule X now needs to start by 29 March 2021.

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.

Paid pandemic leave extended for residential aged care employees

The Fair Work Commission has extended access to paid pandemic leave for residential aged care employees covered by the:

  • Aged Care Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Health Professionals Awards.

The entitlement now operates until 29 March 2021.

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

29 October 2020

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment available to some Qld. and SA workers

The Australian Government has extended the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to include eligible workers who live in Queensland and South Australia.

People who live in Queensland and South Australia are now eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they can’t work because of reasons relating to coronavirus and meet other criteria.

For more information about the payment and how to claim it, visit Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment external-icon.png on Services Australia's website.

13 October 2020

Face masks in Victoria

The Victorian Government now requires all Victorians to wear a fitted face mask when they leave home (with limited exceptions). This includes in workplaces. Looser face coverings are no longer permitted, such as bandanas or scarves.

We’ve updated our Information for Victorian workplaces and our Protecting employees and customers during coronavirus pages as a result.

Learn more about face mask requirements in Victoria on the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services – Face masks external-icon.png page.

7 October 2020

Annual Wage Review 2020 – 1 November increase

Minimum wages in the next group of awards increase from 1 November. The Fair Work Commission has announced they will be issuing the updated Group 2 awards on 31 October 2020. Find out which awards are in Group 2 and how it affects you at The Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. You can subscribe to get email updates and we’ll let you know when the new minimum rates are available in our pay tools.

1 October 2020

Extension of unpaid pandemic leave in many awards

The Fair Work Commission has extended unpaid pandemic leave to 29 March 2021 in many awards.

Eligible employees covered by these awards can access 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility until 29 March 2021.

Go to Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes to awards to see if your award is affected and to read our updated information.

Temporary changes to Vehicle Award and Clerks Award extended to 30 November 2020

The Fair Work Commission has extended Schedule I in the Vehicle Award and the Clerks Award. The Schedules provide increased flexibility to businesses covered by these awards during coronavirus and now apply until 30 November 2020. Read our updated information:

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September 2020

25 September 2020

Extension of the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions

Qualifying employers

We’ve updated our information for qualifying employers about the extended JobKeeper scheme. These are employers that qualify for the JobKeeper scheme and receive payments for their eligible employees. Read our updated information at:

Legacy employers

We’ve added new information for legacy employers about pay, leave and ending employment. Find out more at Pay, leave and ending employment for legacy employers.

Tools and resources

We’ve updated our Tools and resources during coronavirus page with new and updated templates for qualifying and legacy employers.

23 September 2020

Fair Work Regulations amended as part of JobKeeper extension

On 19 September 2020, the Fair Work Regulations were amended to support certain parts of the extension of the JobKeeper scheme for legacy employers. The new Regulations relate to:

  • the relationship between the 10% decline in turnover test for legacy employers and the actual decline in turnover test for qualifying employers
  • how certain employees’ ordinary hours of work are calculated in order for legacy employers to issue a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction.

You can read our updated information at:

21 September 2020

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment available to some WA and NSW workers

The Australian Government has extended the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to include eligible workers who live in New South Wales and Western Australia.

People who live in New South Wales and Western Australia are now eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they can’t work because of reasons relating to coronavirus and meet other criteria.

For more information about the payment and how to claim it, visit Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment external-icon.png on Services Australia's website.

16 September 2020

Extension of JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act

We’ve added new pages about legacy employers under the extended JobKeeper scheme. Some employers who don’t qualify for JobKeeper payments anymore can continue to use some of the flexibility JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act (with some changes). See:

We've also created a 10% decline in turnover template certificate for legacy employers, with other template documents being published soon. We encourage you to check back regularly for updates.

You can also subscribe to email updates and we’ll let you know when we’ve updated all of our information.

14 September 2020

Financial support announced for Victorian businesses

On 13 September 2020, the Victorian Government announced financial support for Victorian businesses affected by coronavirus. The financial support includes cash grants, deferral of some payroll taxes and waivers for some business fees.

Find out more at the Victorian Government – Business Victoria website external-icon.png.

You can learn more about your workplace rights and obligations if you’ve been affected by restrictions in Victoria at Information for Victorian workplaces.

7 September 2020

Victorian Government releases roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions

On 6 September 2020, the Victorian Government released its roadmap out of current coronavirus restrictions. This included announcements about the easing of restrictions for some workplaces. Learn more at:

Employers and employees needing information and advice about their workplace rights and obligations can go to Information for Victorian workplaces.

3 September 2020

Paid Pandemic Leave Scheme in South Australia

The South Australian Government has introduced a Paid Pandemic Leave Scheme for workers who don’t have access to paid sick leave and can’t work for reasons relating to coronavirus.

See South Australia – Paid Pandemic Leave Scheme external-icon.png for more information and to check eligibility.

1 September 2020

Extension of JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act

On 1 September 2020, legislation to extend the JobKeeper scheme passed Parliament. As part of this, the JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act were also extended with some changes. The extended provisions take effect from 28 September 2020. The last day that they apply is 28 March 2021.

We’re currently updating the information on this website and encourage you to check back regularly for updates. In the meantime, read more at Extension of JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act. You can also subscribe to email updates and we’ll let you know when we’ve updated our information.

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August 2020

31 August 2020

Temporary changes to Vehicle Award extended to 30 September 2020

The Fair Work Commission has extended Schedule I in the Vehicle Award. The Schedule provides increased flexibility to businesses covered by the award during coronavirus, and now applies until 30 September 2020. Read our updated information on Vehicle Award changes during coronavirus.

Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility reinserted into Surveying Award

The Fair Work Commission has reinserted temporary Schedule X into the Surveying Award.

Schedule X allows eligible employees under these awards to access 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility. It originally stopped applying from 30 June 2020.

The Schedule now applies from the first pay period that starts on or after 28 August 2020 until 31 October 2020.

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

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment available to some NSW and SA workers 

The Australian Government has extended the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to include eligible workers who live in NSW or South Australia and work in Victoria.

People who live in NSW or SA and work in Victoria are now eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they can’t work because of reasons relating to coronavirus.

For more information about the payment and how to claim it, visit Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment external-icon.png on Services Australia's website.

27 August 2020

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment available for Tasmanian workers

The Australian Government has extended the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to include some Tasmanian workers. Previously, it was only available to eligible Victorian workers.

Tasmanian workers that qualify can apply for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they can’t work because of reasons relating to coronavirus.

For more information about the payment and how to claim it, visit Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment external-icon.png on Services Australia's website.

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

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  • 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 Australia.gov.au 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

25 June 2020

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22 June 2020

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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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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

Added:

  • 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.

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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

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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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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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