Updated 8 September 2021
Some employers are eligible for free independent legal advice for workplace issues arising from the coronavirus outbreak from our Workplace Legal Advice Program.
On this page:
Eligible employers can access the program by:
Employers may be referred to the Workplace Legal Advice Program if they meet criteria including:
- you’re not represented by a lawyer or paid agent
- you’re covered by the Fair Work system
- your enquiry relates to workplace impacts of COVID-19
- your enquiry is suitable for referral
- you agree to the Terms and Conditions, available at Workplace Legal Advice Program.
We’ll consider your request, the eligibility criteria and the nature of your enquiry in deciding if a referral to the program is appropriate.
If we refer you to the program, we’ll email you information about the program and its terms and conditions. We’ll also give you a reference number and allocate your enquiry to one of our partner law firms. You can’t choose your own law firm. We’ll provide the law firm with your contact details and your reference number. The law firm will then contact you within 4 business days.
If you don’t hear from the law firm in that time, please contact us my making an online enquiry through My account.
To meet professional legal requirements, the law firm will provide you with a letter explaining how legal services work and information on how they can help you.
You’ll have 3 business days to tell them if you agree to go ahead. If you don’t respond to the law firm in time, your appointment may be allocated to someone else.
The law firm will arrange a meeting with you by phone or video conferencing to discuss your enquiry. Meetings won’t be held in person during coronavirus restrictions.
The program only provides employers with advice about:
- the workforce impacts of coronavirus on their workplace, as long as the enquiry isn’t only about termination of employment, redundancy or unfair dismissal
- a mandated COVID-19 vaccination program or implementation of one in their workplace.
The advice is tailored to a particular situation, may not apply more broadly and doesn’t cover other topics like tax or insolvency.
You can’t provide health information, including COVID-19 vaccination status information, of an individual without their consent.
We’ll pay for a fixed amount of advice
In most cases, we’ll cover the cost of up to 4 hours of free advice to help you deal with the immediate needs of your business depending on their complexity. The law firm will let you know what your free service limit is when they contact you. You can use this time all in one appointment or over multiple appointments.
The program doesn’t provide ongoing legal assistance
You’re not obliged to use the law firm’s services once you reach your free service limit. If you choose to access further or additional services from the firm, you’ll be responsible for the costs and the law firm will provide you with new information about any further work and costs.
You can usually only access the program once
In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for an employer to access the program again. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as whether there is a new issue that has emerged since the first appointment.
It’s important to prepare for your appointment so that you get the most out of your free advice. Before your appointment, you should:
- read the letter you receive from the law firm so you understand how they can help you
- answer any pre-appointment questionnaire sent by the law firm and return it to them before the appointment
- write down any questions you have
- consider solutions that may support your business and employees now and after the coronavirus outbreak
- gather any relevant paperwork or information so you have it handy
- tell the law firm if you need an interpreter for your appointment.
Any legal advice you receive from a lawyer is private and confidential. The advice is covered by legal professional privilege, which means they aren't able to disclose it. We won’t get a copy or summary of the advice provided to you. If you share the advice, you may waive your legal professional privilege and the confidentiality of the legal advice.
We collect information from participating law firms to:
- confirm that they provided the services for the purpose of payment
- improve the referral process and service offering
- identify common themes and frequently asked questions – this de-identified data will be used to understand and address gaps in our information and resources.
We’re committed to protecting your privacy. We handle your information as set out in the terms and conditions of the Workplace Legal Advice Program referral and privacy statement.
For more information on how we protect your privacy, please visit Privacy.
For further help, you can:
- visit Business.gov.au for information about financial assistance and other government support
- engage a law firm or business adviser of your choice
- talk to or join an employer organisation.
We routinely survey users of the program to seek feedback on their experience. If you’d like to provide additional feedback, you can use our Feedback form.