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 USU/ASU members at Qantas.

FEDERAL SIDES WITH UNIONS IN QANTAS JOBKEEPER CASEOur national union the ASU, along with the FAAA and TWU, brought 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 is 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 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 USU/ASU is calling on Qantas to accept the Federal Court’s Decision, and not appeal.  This is money stood down Qantas workers 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 Qantas workers will spend in their local businesses, helping our economy to bounce back as soon as possible.

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

Got a question? 

Speak to your organiser for more information:





Thomas  Russell

0419 761 320

NSW/ACT Services

Amanda Perkins

(02) 9310 4000


Aaron De La Torre

0427 813 821


Victor Jose

0425 753 756


Imogen Sturni

0433 339 656 


Glenn Desmond

0427 975 806

QLD Together

Billy Colless

0419 736 886


Lesley Till

0497 555 875


Yvonne Klaa

0417 969 767