Temporary reduction of hours under a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this mean we qualified for JobKeeper phase two?

Yes, we have qualified for JobKeeper phase two.

From April to June this year SSI suffered a 15 per cent decline in turnover. We are currently projected to suffer another 15 per cent decline in turnover for the July to September and October to December quarters this year.

This means SSI is eligible for JobKeeper.

Does this mean the stand down is continuing?

Yes, as our financial situation has not improved, we will continue to temporarily reduce staff hours under a JobKeeper enabled stand down direction.

Every situation is different, and these changes will affect different staff in different ways. Some staff will continue to be stood down. Others may have their hours reduced for the first time.

SSI has been successful in accessing JobKeeper since April.

Accessing JobKeeper has supported SSI through an unprecedented financial situation, and now a recession, triggered by the global pandemic.

Not only has this seen revenue decline for our settlement-related programs but it has also impacted many other programs and revenue streams.

Unfortunately, especially at the now reduced rate, JobKeeper 2.0 will not be enough to offset our revenue decline this quarter hence the need for us to maintain the stand-down and introduce other austerity measures.

When will these changes be effective?

JobKeeper phase two will commence on Monday, September 28.

How long will this change in operations continue?

The economic impact of the pandemic changes regularly, so we are working quarter by quarter.

At this stage we are expecting the stand down to continue until January 3, 2020. However, we will continue to assess, advise and update you on the situation.

SSI is eligible for JobKeeper as well as the provisions in the Fair Work Act, with extension periods until March 28, 2021.

The continued restrictions on international travel as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have ceased refugee settlement. As 60 percent of our revenue comes from settlement this has significantly impacted 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.

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

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

To avoid losing members of our highly valued workforce, we are continuing to reduce hours in some areas of our organisation.

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

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.

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

General managers will decide which roles will have reduced hours by prioritising business-critical work.

Business-critical activities are based on work that will drive the necessary outcomes to sustain the organisation and deliver on the strategic, divisional and contractual obligations.

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.

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

General managers and People leaders will decide which roles will have reduced hours by prioritising business-critical work.

Business-critical activities are based on work that will drive the necessary outcomes to sustain the organisation and deliver on the strategic, divisional and contractual obligations.

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

How much notice will I be given if I am being stood down?

We know it’s important to provide as much notice as possible.

Unfortunately, SSI was only made aware of our eligibility to Phase 2 of the JobKeeper scheme on the week of September 7 and have worked as quickly as possible to finalise details.

We will be providing staff with seven days’ notice when informing them of a continuing or new stand down. This includes the weekend.

How does JobKeeper phase two actually work and what does that mean for my wage?

This reduction in hours will be implemented through an element of the JobKeeper scheme known as a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction.

JobKeeper is a payment made to eligible businesses and not-for-profits affected by COVID-19 to support them in retaining employees.

JobKeeper extension 1 (the same as calling it Phase 2) starts from September 28, 2020 and finishes on January 3, 202. Eligible businesses will receive a payment of:

  • $1200 per fortnight (before tax) for tier 1
  • $750 per fortnight (before tax) for tier 2

Tier 1 and Tier 2 will depend on the number of hours an eligible employee works. Eligible employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020 (Tier 1), and those who worked less (Tier 2).

Tier 1 is now based at $1200 per fortnight (before tax) which is $300 less than JobKeeper Phase 1. JobKeeper Phase 1 paid $1500 before tax. SSI supplements the shortfall for all staff expect those on JobKeeper enabled stand down.

Do I need to sign up for this next phase of JobKeeper?

For current employees, if SSI is already claiming JobKeeper for you, eligibility will not need to be reassessed, and so you will not be required to complete a new nomination form agreeing to the JobKeeper Nomination.

From August 3, 2020, employers were able to nominate newly joined employees as eligible employees for the JobKeeper scheme.

These new employees must have been employed by SSI on July 1, 2020 and meet the eligibility criteria. This action has already been completed by the People and Culture team

Are the same people being stood down?

The decision for who to stand down is reached by prioritising business-critical work. This is the process we have followed for both this round and the last round of stand downs.

This means that staff who were stood down last time may continue to be stood down. There may be some exceptions were a team member is stood up due to changes since the last round.

Business-critical activities are based on work that will drive the necessary outcomes to sustain the organisation and deliver on the strategic, divisional and contractual obligations.

Will there be redundancies?

No, at this stage we are not considering or offering any voluntary redundancies as we are eligible for JobKeeper.

Will this include Access?

No, Access entities are not eligible for JobKeeper but will explore other opportunities to rationalise costs.

What are we going to stop doing with less resources?

General managers will work with their teams to conduct a ‘stop, start, continue or invent’ workshop to help all teams prioritise work and determine the key activities for the short and medium term until we can resume normal business activities in the future.

My workload has increased since the last stand down, what is going to be done to reprioritise work?

We appreciate the extra work you have been putting in but do not want any staff to feel pressured to continue working extra hours, especially when on reduced income.

General managers will work with their teams to conduct a ‘stop, start, continue or invent’ workshop to help all teams prioritise work and determine the key activities for the short and medium term until we can resume normal business activities in the future.

Have we suspended hiring for new roles?

Yes, there is a hiring freeze in place across the organisation, unless required to deliver services as per funding agreements. All roles that needs to be hired needs to follow the new Request to Hire Process. Please discuss with your People and Culture Business Partner.

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 have to reduce headcount. 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.

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

Accessing JobKeeper has supported SSI through an unprecedented financial situation, and now a recession, triggered by the global pandemic. Not only has this seen revenue decline for our settlement-related programs but it has also impacted many other programs and revenue streams.

While the LAC contract has made substantial difference, it will not fully offset the losses we have and will incur due to the reduction in revenue.

Is there a maximum reduction in days for staff?

Under a JobKeeper enabled stand down direction employee hours can be reduced to any hours, if an employee cannot usefully be employed.

Will this affect me being able to take leave? Can I take my annual leave rather than reducing my hours?

You are entitled to use your annual leave days on days you are no longer working to supplement your salary.

If you wish to do this, please speak with your manager. You will need to apply for Stand Down Annual Leave in ConnX to offset the days you are stood down.

How will this affect my annual leave and sick leave accrual?

Under the JobKeeper enabled stand down direction, leave must still accrue at the normal rate.

How will this affect my superannuation?

Your superannuation is payable on hours worked, per the legislation. For employees who are stood down, your superannuation will be paid on the reduced hours worked.

Which pay cycle will the changes to my wages start?

These changes are effective from September 28, which is the beginning of a new pay cycle. If your hours are reduced, your pay will also be reduced accordingly (but you will always receive at a minimum $1200/fortnight (before tax) if you are permanent staff and $750/fortnight if you are a casual or part time staff working 20 hours per week during the JobKeeper scheme).

What leave will I be required to take during the end-of-year shutdown?

This year we will be providing staff an additional three days ex-gratia leave during the end-of-year shutdown to complement the current two days we provide to all staff.

This will bring the total number of ex-gratia days to five days paid leave. This leave can only be applied during the end-of-year shutdown.

These changes will place me in particular financial hardship. Who can I contact for help?

The Australian Federal Government’s MoneySmart website has information and advice for Australians financially affected by COVID-19. View the MoneySmart website here.

We also have a number of Be Well messages sent out through In the Loop and recently had a number of financial sessions conducted by Commonwealth Bank. Be sure to scroll through all articles In The Loop, so you don’t miss any opportunity to know how to manage your well being including that of your financials.

Will this drop in revenue affect our members?

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

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.

Should we be looking for other work?

That is a decision you will need to make based your own personal situation. We are committed to timely, transparent communication with you when there is more to share about job security and the future of your role specifically.

We know that we have lost some valuable staff members already. Searching for other work in no way reflects on how much the organisation and the Executive Team values you and your contribution.

If you do find secondary employment, please notify your manager to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

Are there any opportunities at SSI for me to increase my hours to reduce the impact of stand down? If so, how do I find out about these roles?

Throughout this period, we have found opportunities for staff to fill vacant roles to reduce the impact of the stand down. We will continue where possible to do this.

If you have skills you think could be made useful in other areas of the business, please speak to your manager or explore our career website via the SSI intranet, or contact your People and Culture Business Partner.

What happens if I have staff currently on sick leave or annual leave this week?

If you have staff who are out on annual leave or sick leave this week and are affected by the stand down please notify your General Manager and People and Culture Business Partner.

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.