Temporary reduction of hours under a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this happening?

Restrictions on international travel as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have significantly decreased refugee settlement numbers. This has had a negative impact on our organisation’s revenue. We have been in regular contact with our funders but, like us, they remain uncertain about when settlement will resume as normal.

As you are aware, SSI applied for the JobKeeper scheme in April. We were successful in this application and have been using this wage subsidy effective from early May.

Unfortunately, this subsidy has not been enough to offset our revenue decline, despite the additional budget restrictions and austerity measures we have introduced.

What does this operational change constitute?

The challenge facing our organisation is how we avoid job losses while maintaining our quality, client-centred services.

To avoid losing members of our highly valued workforce, we are introducing reduced hours in some areas of our organisation.

This will not affect all staff.

Your line manager will consult with you about what is happening within your function and how these operational changes will impact your role.

How will this affect staff?

Every situation is different, and these changes will affect different staff in different ways. Some staff may be asked to reduce their hours or days. Other staff will be asked to maintain their current hours due to factors such as funding arrangements, and client and business needs. If your hours are reduced, your pay will also be reduced accordingly (but you will always receive at a minimum $1500/fortnight (before tax) during the JobKeeper scheme).

For those of you whose hours have been affected, please know this is not a reflection on your work or the quality, ethics and innovation that every SSI staff member brings to their role.

Why is Access not affected?

As Access does not provide HSP, their revenue and program delivery has not been impacted significantly. 

When will these changes be effective?

These changes will be effective from Tuesday, June 9, 2020, as Monday June 8 is a public holiday.

How will SSI decide which roles will have reduced hours and which will not?

A staff member’s hours may be affected if they can’t be usefully employed for their normal days or hours because of business changes arising as a result of COVID-19. SSI’s Executive Team is undertaking a capacity assessment of each functional area and weighing this up against factors such as funding arrangements and client and business needs.

How will staff be consulted in this decision-making process?

If your role is affected, your line manager should have already been in touch with you to discuss your role and specific circumstances.

Why have I only been given a week's notice of this change?

Since the beginning of COVID-19, the Executive Team has been working in the background to establish the impact this will have on our business. We have taken actions to reduce this impact through applying for JobKeeper, reducing costs, freezing recruitment, adapting budgets and advocating for funding support.

We have also continued to diversify our revenue streams, in line with our strategic plan. An example of this is the recent LAC initiative win, which will come into effect in July and offset a small amount of the current revenue decline.

Our priority moving forward is to continue advocacy with our funders and, in the absence of that support, rigorously pursue new revenue streams.

The decision we have made to reduce hours is not a decision that has been made lightly. While difficult, it has allowed us to avoid job losses at this current stage.

When will I know how my own role will be affected?

If your role is affected, your line manager should have already been in touch with you to discuss your role and specific circumstances.

Will I be asked to take any annual leave?

We will be asking all staff receiving JobKeeper who have an annual leave balance of over two weeks, to reduce this amount to no more than two weeks by September 27, 2020. 

If you are not receiving JobKeeper, please speak with your manager. 

How will this change affect the hours and remuneration of SSI’s Executive?

The Executive Team will remain working their full hours, however, they will be taking a pay cut in negotiation with the CEO.

SSI has just won the LAC contract. Why hasn’t that offset this revenue decline?

HSP accounts for around 60% of SSI’s revenue in a given year.

While the LAC contract will make a substantial difference when it comes into effect on July 1, 2020, it will not fully offset the losses we have and will incur due to the reduction in refugee settlement.

What else is SSI doing to offset this revenue decline?

SSI has engaged in substantial advocacy with our funders for many months in order to avoid an outcome where we either have to reduce headcount or staff hours. We will continue to advocate to preserve our skilled, valued workforce because we know the resumption of refugee resettlement is not a case of if – it is a case of ‘when’.

SSI has also introduced budget restrictions and is advocating for support and different revenue options with the Department of Home Affairs.

How long will this change in operations continue?

This change in operations will be reviewed by September 27, 2020 when JobKeeper is expected to finish.

The Executive team are working on business continuity, we will be regularly updating staff.

What will happen when Job Keeper finishes?

We have been in regular contact with our funders but, just like us, they do not know when settlement will resume as normal.

As an Executive team, we have had to face the hard truth that the future of refugee resettlement currently remains uncertain. Our financial situation largely depends on the future of the JobKeeper scheme – which also remains uncertain -– and the evolving international travel situation.

We will provide clarity to you as soon as we have it.

Will this drop in revenue affect our members?

There will be no effect on our members as a result of SSI’s revenue drop.

Have we suspended hiring for new roles?

Yes, there is a hiring freeze in place across the organisation, with exceptions at the discretion of the CEO.

If I didn’t sign up for JobKeeper or wasn’t eligible for it, can you still make changes to my role?

Staff who didn’t sign up for JobKeeper or were not eligible for the scheme will need to follow a different process. Please speak with your manager and consult your People and Culture Business Partner about your specific circumstances.

Where can I find out more information about JobKeeper Enabling Directions?

The Fair Work Ombudsman website provides useful information explaining the JobKeeper scheme. If you have any questions, please raise these with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.