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Employer’s Options in Natural Disasters

October 07, 2016

The thoughts of the NRA team are with all those members affected by recent severe weather that has impacted South Australia and parts of Victoria this week, and has forced many shops to shut down temporarily.

Unfortunately, this type of weather is not uncommon in Australia leading up to summer. As such it is important that members understand their rights and obligations while dealing with any sort of natural disaster.

We note some common employment related issues that can arise where:

  • employees cannot make it to work because their home is threatened;
  • access between employees’ residence and the workplace is blocked or unsafe;
  • there has been a direction by emergency services personnel to evacuate the premises;
  • the business premises has been damaged or destroyed; or
  • there are employees who are members of a volunteer emergency management organisation and are required to attend to such emergencies.

The NRA has prepared a factsheet for members to help with these issues.

Members can click here to login to the member resources area to view the fact sheet.

The fact sheet addresses the options available to an employer where work emergency services have ordered employers to evacuate a workplace or where employees cannot be usefully employed, including situations which trigger the stand-down provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009.

Employers should be aware that specific provisions included in Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements may vary. Employers should also be reminded to review their insurance policies to ensure they have appropriate coverage in cases of natural disasters and to ensure that their Workplace Health and Safety training, policies and procedures are up to date and compliant.

If you’re not sure if your WH&S policy is compliant, why not take up NRA Legal’s October Special on WH&S Policy & procedures manuals.

For further information or assistance about your rights or obligations during natural disasters and emergencies, please contact the National Retail Association Hotline on 1800 RETAIL (738 245).

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