USU/ASU members are rightly outraged by Qantas’ manipulation of the JobKeeper payment. They are using taxpayers’ money to deny penalty rates to hardworking and loyal workers. On your behalf, we wrote to Qantas last Sunday. On 23 April 2020 Qantas wrote to the union to confirm its position on payroll issues and stand downs.
But they still haven’t bothered to reply to us about your Easter penalty rates. We have also raised the need to increase the resources in Payroll to cope with all the issues we and other staff are facing ……response—SILENCE.
Here is a summary of where a number of issues are at currently:
Annual leave loading: Qantas will apply a ‘year to date’ averaging for shift penalties. This means an average of the penalties for the period 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020, and does not include any period you have been stood down. If you were wrongly paid loading at 17.5% in the pay period ending 14 April, this will be corrected by a top-up payment in the 28 April pay run.
JobKeeper nomination forms: All employees have been sent an email which allows for electronic completion and submission of the JobKeeper Nomination Form. Employees need to complete the Nomination Form by 23 April to be eligible for the Advance Payments.
JobKeeper and underpayments: Qantas will not absorb corrections to payroll errors into JobKeeper payments. If this is has happened to you, contact payroll to ensure that the issue is rectified. Make sure you correspond with payroll in writing – if you get nowhere please contact your local USU/ASU organiser Thomas Russell at email@example.com or 0419 761 320
Stand Down Work Rotation Periods: Qantas is willing to discuss one-month work periods during the stand down. More to come and we will make sure your USU/ASU delegates are involved in discussions to ensure we get what suits you the best.
Can I opt out of working during the stand down: Qantas says there is no need for employees to opt out of work rotations during the stand down because of the JobKeeper payments. Employees who don’t want to work can take annual leave or leave without pay, and still be eligible for the JobKeeper payment. Employees who are on leave without pay for less than one month will continue to accrue leave entitlements and will not be required to exhaust excessive leave or all forms of accrued leave prior to commencing LWOP. We will need to understand how this works in more detail in particular in dealing with a stand down work rotation period longer than 2 weeks as discussed above.
COVID Policy: Qantas has confirmed that employees self-isolating because of their potential exposure to COVID19 at Adelaide Airport will be paid the base rates and penalties for their projected rosters.
How low can Qantas go? Using JobKeeper payment to profit from the workforce
The Guardian reported on 22nd April 2020 on USU/ASU members’ concerns stating:
“Qantas believes that in a fortnight an employee did not work it can nevertheless use the $1,500 fortnightly jobkeeper payment to pay for penalty rates from the preceding fortnight.” Read the full article.
Unfortunately, Qantas has not had time to respond to the issues we have raised but they have had time to respond to the media. We cannot stand for this lack of respect for loyal workers — how hard is it to respond to our correspondence?
It’s not a surprise though, remember how hundreds of employees whose wages were stolen read about it first in the media? The same way that 20,000 Qantas employees found out they were to be stood down without pay.
The USU/ASU is preparing to take Qantas to the Fair Work Commission to expose their appalling behaviour. Read our latest letter to Qantas.
Have you been impacted by Qantas’ actions? We need to hear from you urgently.
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For more information contact your local USU/ASU organiser Thomas Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0419 761 320