Ending employment & redundancy during coronavirus
Find out what happens if employment ends during the outbreak of coronavirus, including what employers need to do, and what employees are entitled to.
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What if an employer needs to let employees go?
Some employers may need to make employees’ positions redundant in response to a business downturn. If an employee’s job is made redundant, their employer may have to give them redundancy pay, and any other entitlements owed to them like annual leave. The Fair Work Act has requirements that employers have to meet before they can terminate an employee’s employment, such as providing notice.
Under the Fair Work Act, an employee is protected from being dismissed because of a temporary absence due to illness or injury. The Fair Work Act also includes protections against being dismissed because of discrimination, a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable or another protected right. These protections continue to operate in relation to employees impacted by coronavirus.
What are employees entitled to if they lose their job during the coronavirus outbreak?
If an employee loses their job during the coronavirus outbreak, their entitlements will depend on why their employment ends. For example, if their employment ends because the business they work for closes down permanently, they may be entitled to redundancy pay.
Under the Fair Work Act, if an employer is ending the employment, their employee may be entitled to notice and redundancy pay and any other entitlements owed like annual leave. The employer should also check the applicable award, enterprise agreement, employment contract or workplace policy. See Dismissal - how much notice? and Redundancy pay & entitlements.
If an employee is ending the employment, they may need to give their employer notice of termination. They’ll also be owed entitlements like accrued annual leave. They should check their applicable award, enterprise agreement, employment contract or workplace policy. See Resignation - how much notice?
Example: Employee made redundant after a business closure
Ragnar has worked full-time as a level 3 employee at a manufacturing facility for 4 years under the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award. Ragnar's employer tells him that the business is closing and his and the other employees’ jobs are now redundant. His employer explains the steps they’ve taken to try to avoid closing and says they’ll be paid out their notice instead of having to work.
Ragnar's employer calculates the amount of notice and redundancy pay they need to provide to their 18 employees using the Fair Work Ombudsman's Notice and Redundancy Calculator. As Ragnar is over 45 years old and a level 3 employee under the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award, he is entitled to 4 weeks’ notice of termination and 8 weeks’ redundancy pay. Because Ragnar's employment ended without notice, the 4 weeks’ notice is paid out instead.
What support is there for employers and employees during the coronavirus outbreak?
The Australian Government has put support in place for employees who lose their job because of coronavirus. Visit:
- Services Australia - for information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus, including Centrelink payments and support
- Australian Government Treasury department - for information on the Federal Government's economic response to the coronavirus, including information on support for individuals, businesses and the economy
Redundancy pay & entitlements
Notice & final pay