The Fair Work Act was amended on 9 April 2020 to insert temporary new JobKeeper provisions at Part 6-4C. When the changes commenced, Part 6-4C applied until 28 September 2020. The temporary changes give the Commission power to deal with certain disputes. More information about JobKeeper disputes is available at fwc.gov.au.
Within hours of the legislation passing, the Commission:
developed an application form
developed case management processes and information resources about the jurisdiction and the Commission’s role, and
began receiving enquiries and applications.
Deputy President Gostencnik was appointed as the National Practice Leader for JobKeeper applications and a dedicated case management team was established. The Commission developed the JobKeeper Disputes Benchbook to provide employees, employers and representatives with detailed information about the Commission’s role in dealing with JobKeeper disputes. The Benchbook is available on the Commission’s website. The website received 17,488 page views about JobKeeper disputes and 2,109 page views or downloads of the JobKeeper benchbook.
In 2019–20, the Commission received 544 JobKeeper dispute applications and finalised 518. The majority of applications lodged (363) did not appear to be disputes about the operation of Part 6-4 and were either administratively dismissed or withdrawn. Of the applications about the operation of Part 6-4C, the most common applications related to stand down (72), days and times of work (68) and taking paid annual leave (61). Detailed information on applications received is available in Appendix C: Tables and figures reference data.
Finalisation of cases
The majority of JobKeeper dispute applications (386) were withdrawn. The most common reasons for withdrawal were that the applications did not concern a dispute about the operation of Part 6-4C, because parties reached an agreement without the assistance of the Commission or, after discussions with Commission staff, the applicant withdrew.
Of all finalised matters, 18 per cent (92) were resolved at conciliation or mediation with a Commission Member. A further 6.4 per cent (33) were dismissed by a Member, primarily because they were not about the operation of Part 6-4C. A small number of JobKeeper dispute matters were finalised by decision, including being resolved by arbitration, by substituting a JobKeeper direction or by being dealt with in conjunction with another matter. Detailed information on the finalisation of JobKeeper applications is available in Appendix C: Tables and figures reference data.
The Commission is committed to dealing with JobKeeper disputes as quickly as possible. Consistent with the high standard in benchmarks for other applications, on 5 May 2020 the President set ambitious timeliness benchmarks for dealing with JobKeeper disputes.