Temporary changes to workplace laws during coronavirus

Published 30 March 2020 | Updated 3 July 2020

There have been a number of temporary changes to workplace laws due to the impact of coronavirus on workplaces.

A number of unions and employer associations have applied to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) to increase award flexibility in some awards. As a result, the Commission has varied a number of provisions in those awards to give employers and employees extra flexibility to agree on alternative working arrangements. The awards that have been varied so far are listed below.

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, including the Hospitality Award, Restaurant Award, Clerks Award and Vehicle Award. To find out more about these changes, go to the relevant page below.

Extension of unpaid pandemic leave in some awards

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.

There have also been changes to the Fair Work Act to support the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

In this section you’ll find:

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Variations to enterprise agreements

Some parties to enterprise agreements are also considering varying their agreements to enable extra flexibility to help address the impact of coronavirus. For more information and updates, visit the Fair Work Commission's COVID-19 and enterprise agreements page external-icon.png.

Change to access period for enterprise agreement variations

Between 17 April and 13 June 2020, access periods for enterprise agreements variations temporarily changed. During this period, employers who asked their employees to vote on varying their enterprise agreement only had to give those employees access to a copy of the variation for 1 day (instead of 7) before voting.

This change stopped applying on 13 June 2020. Employers now need to give their employees the usual 7 days' access.

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