“We are seeking confirmation from the Federal Court that the way that we have been making payments under JobKeeper is correct so we can focus on responding to the biggest crisis the aviation industry has ever faced.”
The dispute comes after the Fair Work Commission found in May that Qantas had been unreasonably allocating the earnings of a monthly-paid employee to different fortnights in a way that allowed it to use JobKeeper to pocket parts of staff pay.
While Qantas has dropped the practice for monthly-paid employees, it is resisting applying the same standard for the hundreds of staff who are paid fortnightly.
The airline points out that its payment of penalty rates in arrears is in line with decade-old requirements in its enterprise agreements and argues ATO guidelines for monthly-paid staff do not apply to fortnightly-paid staff.
Shift penalties held over
Under the airlines’s practice, an employee can perform work that gives rise to shift penalties worth $200 but not be paid those penalties until the next fortnight.
In a case where the employee is stood down, the airline can then count the $200 towards the second fortnight’s minimum $1500 payment instead of the first where the worker may have earned more than $1500 and the $200 would have otherwise been paid on top.
Australian Services Union national assistant secretary Linda White said the union had been unable to reason with Qantas so it would be a relief for the court to decide the matter.
“This is the scab that keeps getting scratched and it’s about time it gets resolved,” she said.
“Qantas are just playing it for everything they can and litigation is now the only way to deal with them at the moment – they won’t change their view.”
Both the ASU and the Flight Attendants Association