Together ASU win! Federal Court sides with unions in Qantas JobKeeper case.

Posted on September 28, 2020

On 24 September 2020, the Federal Court ruled that Qantas misinterpreted S 789GDA of the Fair Work Act when calculating JobKeeper payments. This is a landmark win for ASU members at Qantas.

The ASU, along with the FAAA and TWU, put forward the case after Qantas short-changed employees over penalty rates earned on the Easter Long Weekend. Qantas minimised the amounts paid to employees by counting penalties, paid on a later payday towards the $1500 JobKeeper payment, for that later fortnight.

Justice Flick’s ruling was that, only moneys that are both earned for work in a particular JobKeeper fortnight and paid in that same fortnight, can be counted towards the minimum payment guarantee. This is in many ways is a better outcome than we thought possible. It means that if you are not paid for the work you perform in one JobKeeper fortnight, in the same fortnight, then that money cannot be counted towards JobKeeper for any fortnight.

This table prepared by Justice Flick illustrates how the court says that JobKeeper works:

JobKeeper fortnight

Amount earned during fortnight

Amount payable in fortnight by Qantas for work performed (irrespective of JobKeeper)

Amount earned in the fortnight and payable in the fortnight

Total amount payable to employee for fortnight


$2,500 (payable next fortnight)

Nil (wages paid in second fortnight)


$1,500 (JobKeeper payment)


Nil – no work performed in this fortnight

$2,500 (for wages earned in previous fortnight)


$1,500 (JobKeeper payment)

$2,500 (amount payable for fortnight 3)






Qantas has 28 days to appeal this decision. We’ll fight this all the way if we need to.

The ASU is calling on Qantas to accept the Federal Court’s Decision, and not appeal. This is money that Qantas workers, who have been stood down, desperately need. Qantas should do the right thing by its workers and promise to pay you what you are owed as soon as possible. This is money that workers will spend in their local businesses, to help our economy bounce back as soon as possible.

We’ll be reaching out to Qantas to discuss our next steps. More information to come.

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