QANTAS - We are off to Federal Court

Posted on July 27, 2020

Early on the morning of 23 July 2020, your union filed an application in the Federal Court seeking declarations, back pay and penalties against Qantas for breach of the JobKeeper Minimum Payment Guarantee (s.789GDA of the Fair Work Act). We are working with the TWU and FAAA, who are also involved in the case.

What is the case about?

Qantas says it calculates the JobKeeper top up by looking at what an employee has been paid in a particular JobKeeper fortnight. If the amount is less than the $1500 minimum payment, Qantas top it up so the employee is paid $1500.

This is in contravention of the Fair Work Act which guarantees that employees will be paid either the $1500 or ‘the amounts payable to the employee in relation to the performance of work during the fortnight’ in each JobKeeper fortnight.

As members know, the Qantas payroll fortnight (Wednesday to Tuesday) is different to the JobKeeper fortnight (Monday to Sunday). Worse still, Qantas delays paying shift penalties and overtime from the last week of the Qantas Payroll Fortnight until the next pay day.

This means that Qantas needs to look at when money was earnt, not when it was paid, to calculate the JobKeeper fortnight. It means looking at up to three different pay cycles.

It also means some employees have lost money when penalty rates and overtime from one pay period are paid in the next pay period and Qantas offsets that amount against JobKeeper.

What are union members are asking for?

Members are asking for the Federal Court to make a ‘Declaration’ stating that Qantas' interpretation of s.789GDA of the Fair Work Act is wrong.

Two ASU members have volunteered to be example cases. Your union is asking the Federal Court to order Qantas to backpay those employees for the penalties they missed out on.

To back this up your union is also asking the Court to order civil penalties against Qantas for their deliberate contravention of the Act.

What happens if union members win?

Your union will be calling on Qantas to accept the court’s decision and back-pay all underpaid employees.

As always, when there is more information on this – you will be kept updated by the Facebook group (click here to join) or email.

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