JobKeeper rorts by employers to be targeted by unions

Businesses that receive JobKeeper are already set to get broad powers to change employees’ rosters, locations and duties where necessary.

Ms McManus said that meant there was “no need whatsoever for any other changes to the Fair Work Act” in industries where most employers will qualify for JobKeeper.

Any employer that disregards safeguards in the scheme, which include requirements employees can keep two weeks of holidays and are allowed to work less if their pay drops, will be confronted with naming and shaming and legal action, Ms McManus said.

“The trade union movement is going to be all over any employer who tries to profit from the pandemic,” she said.


About 1 million casual workers and a similar number of migrant workers are ineligible for JobKeeper, but the eligibility criteria can be altered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, which Ms McManus said would be a focus for the unions.

Meanwhile, the Fair Work Commission said on Wednesday it would consider a push from unions representing frontline medical workers to give them paid pandemic leave, which could be used multiple times in the case of repeated exposures to the coronavirus.

Ms McManus said the unions were still negotiating with employers and governments but the states “understand very well the need for it”.

One area where unions are still open to negotiation with businesses, Ms McManus said, was where very high turnover businesses took a significant hit to their earnings, but not enough to meet the 50 per cent revenue loss condition for JobKeeper.


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