Are you still working the same (or more) hours from home?

What should you do? Contact JFMLAW we will fight for your rights in the COVID 19 crisis

On 24 March 2020, the Prime Minister said for most Australians, 2020 was going to be their toughest year yet referring to the Australians who have lost their jobs, lost hours of work and businesses that have been forced to close. The Prime Minister continued to say that “these are heartbreaking events in our nation’s history and story”, and we agree.

There is no doubt that the cashflow of many businesses is threatened as a result of the COVID 19 crisis, and regrettably, many businesses will not survive.  However, with good planning many businesses can push through, if they reconfigure and make the most of the opportunities yet to come. Further, the Reserve Bank of Australia will also continue to “provide liquidity to Australian financial markets by conducting one-month and three-month repo operations in its daily market operations”. This will help to lower funding costs across the economy and support the provision of credit, for small and medium-sized businesses.

For employees, the next 6 months may be crucial as employers implement new changes that have a direct impact on your employment and working conditions.  What does this mean for you?  Possibly, loss of position, a reduction in working hours and a cut back on your pay.

So, if you are asked the hard question of ‘pay cut’ what should you do?

DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE A PAY CUT?

First, look at your employment contract.  Ascertain whether there is a clause in the contract allowing your employer to adjust your salary in accordance with the CPI or based on the yearly performance of the business.  If no, then your employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of the contract without your consent.

I DON’T WANT TO ACCEPT A PAY CUT BUT IF I DON’T ACCEPT THE PAY CUT, I WILL LOSE MY JOB OR BE STOOD DOWN.  WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Most employers will require you to sign an acknowledgment that you accept a pay cut.  If you sign this acknowledgment, you are bound by it.  Prior to signing the acknowledgment, you should discuss with your employer limiting the pay cut to maybe 6 to 9 months only.

I HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN EMAIL/LETTER TO CONFIRM THAT I WILL ACCEPT A PAY CUT.  MY MANAGER AND HR HAVE SAID THAT MY PAY CUT WILL HAPPEN ANYWAY WHETHER I SIGN THIS ACKNOWLEDGMENT OR NOT.

YOU HAVE DECIDED NOT TO SIGN THE LETTER. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

If your employer has decided to cut your pay but you do not agree to a pay cut, you have a good argument in the future to say that there was no mutual agreement to reduce your pay, and your employer has to make up the underpayment.  This means that you may have a breach of contract claim or an underpayment claim.  JFMLAW can help you with this.

I TOLD MY EMPLOYER I WON’T SIGN THE LETTER AND TAKE A PAY CUT.  NOW MY EMPLOYER HAS SACKED ME OR MADE MY POSITION REDUNDANT.  WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

You have a good General Protections claim.  The flawed nature of your termination may support the inference that the decision to bring your employment to an end was because you exercised a workplace right not to accept a pay cut.  Please note that this claim has a strict time limit and must be pursued within 21 days of the dismissal taking effect.

NEXT STEPS

JFMLAW is here to help executives and managers. We will work with you through this COVID 19 crisis to help you keep your job and get paid.

Talk to John Morrissey or Sladjana Skoric about how we can help you manage your career and employment during this terrible COVID 19 crisis.