A hairdresser, who worked 15 hours a week before coronavirus, claims his employer has forced him to work full time in order to keep his JobKeeper payments.
Benjamin Pham reached out for advice on a Facebook JobKeeper group when his employer threatened to cancel his JobKeeper payments if he didn’t work more hours.
“I used to work (part-time) only 15 hours a week but from the beginning of May, the employer let me knew that I was suitable for JobKeeper, so they made me go to work 38 hours a week,” Pham wrote.
Pham told 7NEWS his employer threatened to “deregister him from JobKeeper” if he didn’t do the extended hours.
“I feel terrible because I am eligible for JobKeeper but I don’t want to work more,” Pham said.
Pham normally makes $300 per week before tax.
He’s now working 38 hours and taking home $700 a week on JobKeeper.
Fair Work Australia says employers can ask workers to do extra hours but cannot tie those hours to the provision of JobKeeper payments.
The “usual requirements” in the Fair Work Act apply.
“Any additional hours need to be reasonable and an employee can refuse a request to work unreasonable additional hours,” a spokesperson for Fair Work said.
In the video below: Your JobKeeper guide
“If the only reason for a request to work additional hours is to ‘match’ the amount of the $1500 (before tax) JobKeeper payment, that is not likely to be reasonable.”
Employers must also comply with any other terms and conditions of employment that apply to the employee under an award, enterprise agreement or employment contract.
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This could include overtime or other penalty rates for extra hours worked.
An employer can’t force an employee to work unreasonable additional hours or to tell the employee they must work additional hours as a condition of receiving the amount of the JobKeeper payment.
In April, more than 75 per cent of COVID-19 calls to Fair Work-related to JobKeeper payments and three-quarters of those were from employees.