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Can an employee ask to work fewer hours while receiving Job Keeper payments?
I.e. an employee asks to reduce hours per fortnight due to new health developments. The employee receives the $1500 Job Keeper payments and already works hours that are slightly "overpaid" under the subsidy (i.e. their pre-Job Keeper fortnight earnings were around $1400).
So, if the employee works fewer hours now while receiving the Job Keeper payment, other employees will have to cover those hours. These other employees already receive a "top-up" over the Job Keeper $1500 amount as they have always worked more hours than the subsidy covers.
Is it unreasonable/not in-line with the Job Keeper and Fair Work rules for the employee to ask to work fewer hours due to recent health developments in this context?
As far as I can tell, the pre-Job Keeper Fair Work rules would apply and a reduction in hours is up to the employee and employer to communicate and together decide on. While it would disadvantage the employer because they would be paying the other employees extra where they previously weren't because those hours and subsidised pay were covered by the enquiring employee, Job Keeper doesn't come into it in legal terms/terms of rules.
Can someone please confirm that my understanding is accurate or point me in the direction of information that says an employee can't ask for fewer hours while on Job Keeper?
Thank you! I'm really appreciating all the help available on this community board!
@KatieAcacia is correct, this would be a question for Fair Work. Here I have found some helpful links on their site for you:
All the best!
Thank you so much! A link really helps to find some information to start with and get some good search key words. I appreciate it! I really wish Fair Work had a community forum like this.
However, I'm still missing something. I can never find the things that people are directing me to! I can't see anywhere anything about employees who qualify for JobKeeper being paid in such a way that might also help the employer in my example. (To be clear, I'm an employee, not an employer, just trying to learn about it all.)
Is it at all possible for you to point me a bit more specifically towards something, if you were meaning to already? The only thing I can think of is for the employee to ask to be removed from the subsidy, which would probably help the employer even less.
In terms of taking it out of sick leave, etc., I don't understand how that might help either.
The problem I have with this (I know, maybe an uncommon problem or opinion) is the employees who feel unsettled to be earning more under Job Keeper than they were before, especially those with new health developments that need to ask to work fewer hours due to new health constraints but are simultaneously and unwillingly (effectively) asking to be paid more than usual/pre-Job Keeper while working less. It seems like such a strange thin line where health and job security is concerned. Are they risking being unfairly dismissed where otherwise (pre-Job Keeper/without Job Keeper) their employers would have been amenable to their request of reducing hours? They must be stressed about how that would affect the relationship those employees would have with their employers.
And yes, such a dismissal is able to assessed and disputed etc. But it's understandable that employees may feel hopeless to 'win' in that situation.
I see examples with employers offering agreements that are valid because hours haven't decreased. The only thing I have ever found about decreased hours is under a Job Keeper enabling stand down direction. In an enabling stand down direction, the employee gets at least the Job Keeper $1500 payment where their previous normal payments were more than $1500. But in my example, the employee's normal payments were less than $1500. So they would be earning more than normal under an enabling stand down.
A flexible working arrangement request under the NES also requires an employee to be paid the $1500 minimum of Job Keeper. Even in the first link, an employee that takes paid annual leave gets the $1500 as its the higher of the two 'options': usual annual leave amount VS Job Keeper amount because the Job Keeper amount is a 'minimum payment'.
Sorry for the long message. I tried to put the most important things at the top.
JobKeeper aside, the question is will the employer agree to the reduced hours requested by the employee. An arrangement will need to be negotiated and they may want to look to Fair Work for guidance.
Generally you can still be an eligible employee for the JobKeeper payment no matter how many or how little hours you work. The reimbursement is to help the employer keep their employees employed and they must satisfy the wage condition for each eligible employee.
What specific information do you want links to?