Regarding the recent flooding in Queensland and New South Wales and with more rain forecast, many of our clients have queried what leave their employees are entitled to if they cannot attend work. Similarly, what happens if flooding affects the workplace and employees need to be stood down due to temporary closure? These events can often cause devastating loss and financial hardship to employees, employers and the community. When an employee cannot attend work due to a natural disaster, they may have entitlements under their award or agreement. Employers should also check and consider state or territory WHS advice and laws which provide a general duty of care to employees. Under the Fair Work Act, employees (other than casual employees) affected by natural disaster or emergency, may have the following leave entitlements or alternatives to standing down:
  • Pay the employee anyway as a gesture of goodwill
  • Compassionate Leave – 2 days compassionate leave can be taken per occasion
  • Offer the employee access to available paid annual leave
  • If the employee has suffered damage to their property, under some circumstances, it could be classified as Personal Leave; should they need to make personal arrangements and care for their family
  • Offer the employee leave without pay
  • Work on another worksite if applicable and the worksite is unaffected; or
  • Offer flexible work arrangements, i.e. work from home or remotely if possible.
  N.B. Any arrangements to alter an employee’s working patterns would need to be made in accordance with the Fair Work Act and any relevant award or agreement. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides further information on Employee Entitlements during Natural Disasters and Emergencies and can be found at You can also contact Business 360 at or 1300 287 360 to discuss the specifics of your situation and business needs with one of our consultants. If you have been affected by the recent QLD/NSW floods you may also like to visit: