Natural Disasters and Your Employees

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The recent natural disasters in Queensland and other areas have highlighted the importance of having clear and concise workplace policies dealing with extreme weather conditions, so as to prevent confusion as to who is entitled to what.

The situations outlined below provide a brief summary of an employer’s position in situations where a business is closed by a natural disaster or other unforseen event. It is important that the employer first consults any applicable award, employment or enterprise agreement, and seeks legal advice where appropriate.

1. An employee is unable to attend work due to extreme weather conditions
If there are no specific provisions in an applicable award or agreement, you may agree with the employee that they take either paid or unpaid annual leave.

2. The workplace is shutdown due to extreme weather conditions
Provided that there are no specific provisions in an applicable award or employment/enterprise agreement, employees may be able to be stood down without pay. If possible, have your employees take part in other paid work, such as cleaning up the workplace (please note that this should extended to those employees physically capable. Workplace health and safety requirements would continue to apply, and significant penalties can apply if these laws are breached).

Please contact me if you require any help or have any questions regarding natural disasters and your business.

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


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