Pay during inclement weather and stand down
22nd March 2021
by The Landscape Association
Employers may send employees home for reasons outside their control such as severe and inclement weather, equipment breakdown or industrial action. Read on for information about when an employer can stand an employee down, whether they need to be paid, and the difference between a stand down and a shut down.
Employees working outdoors have greater exposure to severe weather conditions. There are rules about working in inclement weather, including when an employee can be sent home and whether they need to be paid.
Inclement weather is when it’s unsafe or unreasonable for an employee to work because of severe weather conditions. Examples include heavy rain and storms, bushfires, extreme heat or cold, hail or high winds.
Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can set out what:
An employer can’t ask their employees to start or continue to work during severe and inclement weather if it’s unreasonable or unsafe. Employers don’t have to pay their employees when this happens, unless an award or agreement says they do.
The Gardening and Landscaping Services Award 2020 doesn’t say anything about inclement weather. If you pay your staff under this wage, you will need to find out when you can stand down employees. See information below or visit the Fairwork Ombudsman site for more information here.
A stand down is when an employee can’t do useful work because of:
Employers can’t stand an employee down just because the business is quiet or there isn’t enough work.
An employer can’t stand down an employee if they’re on approved leave.
During a stand down period, an employee:
Employers may consider other options instead of standing down employees.
These include letting employees:
Casual employees can’t be stood down if the business is quiet but they can be sent home after they’ve worked their minimum engagement period. For more information about casual employee pay and entitlements, see Fairwork’s Casuals page.
For more information please see the Fairwork Ombudsman website here.