Business wants the federal government to extend exemptions which allow employers to cut employee hours and change their duties.
The government introduced the special exemptions to help businesses survive the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
Business wants exemptions extended
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox wants the exemptions extended until the end of the year.
He claims the short-term changes made to the Fair Work Act are playing a pivotal role in saving jobs and businesses.
The changes allow employers to cut employee hours and change their duties.
“It is in no-one’s interests for those measures to be discontinued at the end of September as that would be a certain way to extinguish the jobs of a very large number of employees.
“Clearly the COVID-19 crisis is continuing.
“If a business is currently eligible to access the measures in the Fair Work Act then they should continue to have access beyond the end of September, regardless of whether they lose access to JobKeeper payments.
“At the very least, the measures should be continued until the end of this year.”
Scott Morrison says he is considering extending the exemptions.
Victoria stage three restrictions
Meanwhile, Victoria is managing a major surge in virus cases.
As a result, stage-three restrictions are now in place in the Melbourne metropolitan area for the next five weeks.
Premier Dan Andrews has also flagged stage four restrictions.
This will result in the closure of all businesses except for supermarkets, chemists and essential infrastructure utilities, devastating jobs and the economy.
Currently in Victoria, all businesses deemed non-essential must close.
However, retail stores such as clothing outlets can to stay open with social distancing measures.
Restaurants, pubs and cafes can offer takeaway only.
New South Wales re-introduces tougher restrictions
Meanwhile in New South Wales, there is a limit of 10 people in all hospitality venues.
The restriction applies to clubs, cafes and also restaurants.
Weddings and corporate venues are restricted to 150 people with everyone seated.
There is a cap of 100 people for funerals and places of worship, with distancing of one person per four square meters.
The limit of 20 visitors per household and 20 people for public gatherings still remains.
Businesses on the brink
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan warns the on-going virus outbreaks are an ominous sign for businesses.
“So many employers are hanging on with the help of JobKeeper, however, if the government pulls the pin in September, I fear we’ll see a bloodbath,” he said.
“With on-going outbreaks and shutdowns, businesses will not survive, and unemployment will skyrocket.
“The government needs to continue supporting employers, however, businesses shouldn’t use the pandemic as an excuse to exploit workers.
‘We need smart people in Canberra to be making smart decisions to work our way through this crisis.
“Unfortunately, I’m not confident in the talent and skills of those currently in charge.
“Let’s hope they don’t drive our economy off a cliff and destroy people’s livelihoods.”
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