It seems like every day there’s another press conference, news story, or rumour at the (virtual) water cooler. With the news cycle moving so fast in the COVID crisis, it can be hard to keep on top of it all. But worry not, our good pal, lawyer and social commentator extraordinaire Simon Creek is here to decipher the news and break it down into bite sized chunks.
He joined Jeziel on the phone to discuss some of the latest developments. Here are some of the talking points, and some questions from listeners:
What’s the latest in government guidelines?
There’s a lot of guidelines, but here’s some of the biggest. In the last week, travel within WA has been restricted. Residents are no longer allowed to leave their home region, unless under approved circumstances. Due to geographical and social proximity, Perth and Peel are one region. While this is all good in theory, it does raise some questions and concerns in regards to split families and extended family units. As Simon explains, it’s a fast-moving situation, so each case will be an “as it comes” affair.
On a financial front, the government has announced the Job Keeper scheme. This is in addition to the job seeker scheme was already in place for those who may have found themselves out of work. The new plan is for employers, and is essentially a package to help pay wages to keep businesses running during this time.
What is the WA Government doing for the homeless?
Sadly, for the homeless, this is an even more trying time than usual. It’s extremely hard to self isolate without a space of your own. Additionally, forming groups is generally a good way to survive on the streets, and that cannot happen. Luckily, there are a lot of support groups and churches working hard to help, and many local governments have stepped up.
Can an employer cut my wages by 50% but make me work full time?
The short answer is, absolutely not. The slightly longer answer is that if the government has dictated that that employer cannot work (for example, a gym worker, bartender, or waitstaff) the employer is not obligated to pay the employee. However, a good employer would be wise to help out a good employee if they can. Simon’s advice is simple: “to all employers, please look after your workers, your professional staff, whoever they might be. At the end of this, your reputation will either be enhanced or damaged by the way you looked after people.”
Can you just fire someone for no reason right now?
If the business is going broke, then technically yes, but otherwise, no. The laws still apply, despite the unusual situations.
To hear all of Simon’s tips and advice, check out the podcast below: