Translate coronavirus & Australian workplace laws information into your language
We can help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work during the coronavirus outbreak.
We encourage you to talk with your employer to find solutions that suit your workplace and your own circumstances.
You can translate this page. Choose your language from the menu at the top of the page to translate the information. This tool uses Microsoft Translator
On this page, you'll find information about options for workplaces affected by coronavirus. This includes:
The Australian Government has made a number of changes to allow temporary visa holders to extend their visa arrangements during coronavirus. To find out more go to the Department of Home Affairs’ Staying in Australia page .
JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme
Under the JobKeeper scheme, qualifying employers significantly affected by coronavirus can access an Australian Government subsidy to help them to keep paying their employees.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) administers the JobKeeper scheme.
Qualifying employers can claim a reimbursement of $1500 (before tax) per fortnight from the Australian Government for each eligible employee who:
- was employed on 1 March 2020
- is currently employed by the business for the fortnights that the business is claiming the reimbursement for (including those who are stood down or re-hired).
If you’re already enrolled in the JobKeeper scheme, find information about how the JobKeeper scheme affects employee pay, leave, stand down and changing duties, location or days and times of work on the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.
Employees are eligible to be nominated by their employer for the JobKeeper scheme if they satisfy certain criteria.
As well as satisfying other criteria, eligible employees must be either:
- an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991) – visit the Services Australia website and read residence descriptions for more details, or
- an Australian resident for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa as at 1 March 2020.
If an employer chooses to participate in the JobKeeper scheme, they have to give all eligible employees a notice within 7 days of deciding to participate. This notice allows eligible employees to agree to be nominated.
An employer has to nominate all eligible employees who have agreed to be nominated.
Arranging flexible work
Employers and employees can agree to different work arrangements. These include changing:
- where work is done – for example, an employee might work from home
- the number of hours an employee works
- the time that work starts or ends
- the type of work done by employees.
Agreements about flexible work must follow the rules of any workplaces laws that apply. Workplace laws include:
- the Fair Work Act
- an award
- enterprise agreement
- employment contract.
Your workplace might also have a policy about flexible work that you should follow.
Don't know which award or agreement applies to your workplace?
To find the award that applies to you go to Find my award.
To find a enterprise agreement that applies to you, go to the Fair Work Commission website
Using paid leave
You can talk to your employer about taking paid leave during the coronavirus outbreak. Options might include:
- annual leave (holiday pay)
- other paid leave (for example, long service leave).
Sometimes, your employer can tell you to take annual leave. Your employer can also decide to keep paying you even if you’re not working and don’t have any paid leave left.
Using unpaid leave
If you don’t have any paid leave left, you can talk to your employer about taking unpaid leave.
Some employees won’t get paid leave or might use up all their paid leave, but they could still get unpaid leave. For example, casual employees might be able to take unpaid carer's leave. An employer and employee can also agree for the employee to take unpaid leave.
Stand down without pay
Sometimes an employer is allowed to 'stand down' employees. Employees don’t work and aren’t usually paid during a stand down.
For example, employers might be able to stand down employees without pay during the coronavirus outbreak if:
- a government tells the business to close, called an enforceable government direction
- too many employees of the business are absent because of coronavirus and this means the other employees can’t do their jobs
- work has stopped because of supply problems which aren’t the employer’s fault.
Enterprise agreements and employment contracts can have other rules about stand downs. For example, employers might have to talk to employees about it first.
A stand down doesn’t mean your employment has ended. You're still an employee during the stand down.
If there's no other option, an employer might need to end an employee’s employment during coronavirus. If this happens because the employer no longer needs the employee’s job to be done, it’s called ‘redundancy’.
If your employment ends because of redundancy, your employer has to follow the rules about redundancy. These rules are in the Fair Work Act, and may also be in your:
- enterprise agreement
- employment contract
- workplace policies.
Your employer needs to give you the correct notice and final pay, including any redundancy pay.
Casual employees do not get notice or redundancy pay.
You employer can’t end your employment for any of these reasons:
Business bankruptcy and insolvency
Some businesses may close because they're not profitable or have no money left. This is called ‘bankruptcy’ or ‘insolvency’.
If a business is bankrupt or goes into insolvency employees may lose their jobs. This is also called ‘redundancy’. Employers may not be able to pay their employees the wages and entitlements they’re owed, which may include redundancy pay.
If this happens, employees may be able to get help through the Australian Government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee
Financial and other support from the government
If your workplace is affected by the coronavirus outbreak you might be able to apply for financial and other support from the government.
- Services Australia
– for information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus, including Centrelink payments and support.
- COVID-19 and the border
– information about visa arrangements during coronavirus.
Translated information about other workplace laws is also available in our Language help section.
If you have an urgent enquiry about your workplace rights and responsibilities, you can contact us on 13 13 94 and select the prompt for the coronavirus hotline.
If you or someone you know needs an interpreter when contacting us, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
Please be aware that we're currently experiencing higher than normal wait times due to an increase in coronavirus related enquiries.
You can also submit an enquiry online through My account.
Know a workplace that isn’t doing the right thing but don’t want to get involved? Report it to us anonymously – in your language.
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