Stand Downs/Shut Downs

Q/ Our warehouse had its annual stocktake last Thursday and Friday. We required over 30 employees be ‘stood down’ during this time as there was no effective work for them to do. Are we allowed to stand them down without pay?
A/ According to the Fair Work Act, a stand down may only happen in the following situations:
524 Employer may stand down employees in certain circumstances
(1) An employer may, under this subsection, stand down an employee during a period in which the employee cannot usefully be employed because of one of the following circumstances:
(a) industrial action (other than industrial action organised or engaged in by the employer);
(b) a breakdown of machinery or equipment, if the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible for the breakdown;
(c) a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.
Your situation does not meet the criteria to be a “Stand Down” as the reason for employees not having work to do was entirely within your control.
What you are actually dealing with is a “Shut Down” – which most commonly occurs over the Christmas/New Year Period.
The Fair Work website has information about managing shut downs at the following link:
Depending on the Award or EBA that covers your employees, you may be able to direct them to take Leave Without Pay during a shut down, but it is unusual and you may need to pay your employees if you did not give them sufficient notice of the need to take time off.

Share this post

Send an Enquiry