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COVID-19 Update – 2nd April

1:24PM – Attorney General Christian Porter updates on Workplace & Industrial Relations changes.

Key changes made to the Modern Award system. Reforms are temporary and will last as long as official crisis does.

There are 121 Modern Awards and there have been very significant changes to three of these.

  • Restaurants
  • Hospitality
  • The Clerk’s Award

These 3 Awards cover over 2 million Australian workers. Agreement has been reached by employers and Unions in these sectors. Changes to these Awards include:

  • An individual worker who was performing one type of duty in one type of classification can now move to perform another type of duty in another classification.
  • Facilitated Working From Home Arrangements. Some of the Awards were so inflexible that is was previously unlawful to work from home.
  • Allowed for, by agreement, employees taking longer durations of annual leave at reduced rates.

Next steps to be taken:

AG praises the Fair Work Commissioner, Ian Ross, for the work he and the Commission has done to facilitate the reforms in record time.

It is proposed that the FWC will change 103 of the 121 Modern Awards to include the following 2 changes across the board to allow for:

  • 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave for all employees ; and
  • Allowing for double the duration of leave at half the pay.

These changes are intended to allow flexibility for businesses where that flexibility could mean the survival of the business and preservation of the jobs within that business or the failure of the business.

These changes are also critical to ensuring the supply lines of the vital goods and services that are needed at this time remain open.

1:17PM – PM indicates Attorney General, Union Leaders and Fair Work Australia are all working together to get the Job Keeper Package operational.

1.12PM: Childcare Package Announced – Childcare and Early Childcare Education will now be FREE for all parents who are having to attend work, support arrangements will be put in place for 13,000 childcare centres to remain open.

1:06pm – PM begins address. Outlines history of Australia’s response to the early news of COVID-19 Pandemic from the 31st of January.

Praises Chinese Australian community as setting an early example on how to best quarantining procedures and to contain the virus.

12:49PM – PM due address the media shortly. We can expect announcements re.childcare packages.

10am – NSW Government eases hours of work restrictions on construction sites, dark kitchens & food trucks.

Construction sites will now be permitted to operate on weekends and public holiday in a bid to encourage businesses to keep going during this health & economic crisis.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes introduced the “extraordinary orders” under the Planning Act on Thursday.


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