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Small Business Flood Information

Small Business Flood Information

The Queensland floods have generated a number of member enquiries relating to the obligations of employers to pay employees for time lost as a result of disruptions to operations and work caused by flooding.

Employer options in respect to permanent full-time or part-time employees are as follows:

  • Stand down employees without pay.  The Fair Work Act 2009 includes provisions which enable employers to stand down employees, without pay, where they cannot usefully be employed during a period because of any stoppage of work for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible, such as a natural disaster.  (Note that the provisions of the Act only operate where the employee's industrial instrument or contract of employment does not contain a stand down provision); or
  • Allow employees to use their annual leave entitlements; or
  • Exercise a discretion to pay employees as per normal for part or whole of their period of absence. As such payments would be discretionary employers can impose conditions on such payments if they wish.

As casual employees have no guarantee of hours, employers will not need to pay casuals for any cancelled shifts where the business is closed due to the floods.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has prepared answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding the use of leave entitlements and stand down provisions in the event of a natural disaster.  A link to this information is below for your reference.

Click here.