What is it?
Stand Down is a provision that allows an employer to deduct monies for any time an employee cannot be usefully employed through certain stoppages of work occurring through no fault of the employer.
Does an employer have the right to stand down employees without pay?
A statutory right to stand down an employee without pay is provided by the Fair Work Act. No modern award provides for a stand down, although an enterprise agreement or contract of employment may include terms that require an employer meet additional requirements before standing down an employee, e.g. requirements relating to consultation or notice.
If an employer cannot stand down an employee under the Fair Work Act, they may be able to stand down the employee in accordance with the enterprise agreement or the contract of employment.
Under what circumstances can an employer justify standing down an employee?
Under the Fair Work Act, an employer may stand down an employee during a period in which the employee cannot be usefully employed because of one of the following circumstances:
- industrial action (other than industrial action organised or engaged in by the employer, e.g. a lockout by the employer);
- a breakdown of machinery or equipment, if the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible for the breakdown; and
- a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible (floods, fire, power failure).