Pay during stand down & severe weather
An employer can send employees home if there is no useful work for them to do because of:
- equipment break down
- natural disaster
(including floods, bushfires, tropical cyclones)
- industrial action.
This is known as a stand down. This can only happen if the reason for the stand down was out of the employer's control.
Employees can't usually be stood down just because there is not enough work. However, some modern awards, registered agreements and contracts have extra rules about when an employee can be stood down without pay.
If an employee is on approved leave, they can't be stood down.
Pay during stand down
An employee is not paid during a stand down period but, except for casuals, they do accrue leave.
Best practice tip
An employee is not paid during a stand down period. However, an employer can be flexible and consider other options that will allow an employee to be paid.
The employer can consider letting employees:
- take a period of paid leave, such as annual leave
- work at another location such as from home or another work site.
Disputes about stand down
An application to deal with a dispute can be made to the Fair Work Commission
- an employee that has been, or is going to be, stood down
- a union
- a Fair Work inspector.
If the Fair Work Commission makes an order about the dispute, the disputing parties need to follow it. The Commission can impose penalties on them if they don't.
Shut down is when a business temporarily closes during slow periods of the year, such as Christmas and New Year.
Pay during shut down
Employees can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down and are paid annual leave entitlements.
Check out our Direction to take annual leave during a shut down page for more information.
Inclement or severe weather
Inclement weather is when it is unsafe or unreasonable for an employee to work because of severe weather conditions.
Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can set out:
- what inclement weather includes
- what employees and employers have to do when there is inclement weather.
If an employer stands down an employee because of a natural disaster, they don't have to make inclement weather payments.
Find information about inclement weather procedures in your award by selecting from the list below.
- Building, construction and on-site trades
- Contract cleaning services
- Don't know
- Hair and beauty
- Health support services
- Real estate
- Road Transport
- Social, community, disability and home care services
- Storage services and wholesale
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.524
Think a mistake might have been made?
Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.
Check out our Help for resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:
- figuring out if a mistake has been made
- talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
- getting help from us if you can't resolve it.
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