The impacts of COVID-19 vary across businesses, resulting in a range of responses and workplace relations considerations.

Trying to make major changes in the workplace that will have an impact on your people is a complicated exercise, and workplace laws may determine what you can and can’t do.

Industrial instruments such as awards and enterprise agreements, typically set out rules about how you need to consult your employees and what flexibility might be available to you to adapt. You also need to be aware of what obligations you have committed to in your employees’ contracts of employment.

Whilst you will need to identify and consider the rules that apply to you in your specific circumstance there are some things to look out for as you answer common questions such as:

  • What are the alternatives to standing employees down or making them redundant?
  • When can I stand employees down?
  • When do the rules in my awards and enterprise agreements require me to consult about changes that will impact my employees? 
  • Do I need to reach agreement with my employees before I can make changes? 
  • What if the rules in my awards and enterprise agreements don’t give me the flexibility to make the changes I need to put in place now and possibly in the future?
  • How do I maintain engagement and a strong relationship with my employees during this period of uncertainty?

Our publication – Managing the Workplace Relations Impacts of COVID-19: Guidance for businesses in the context of COVID-19 – explores the different scenarios, the related workplace relations considerations and options for change.

Information accurate at the date and time published.


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