A decision issued by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) today in favour of an Ai Group-backed member has been hailed a win for the aviation industry.

The FWC held that the member, Menzies Aviation, was entitled to stand down an employee in accordance with s524 of the Fair Work Act.

The employee, who worked at the airline check-in at the International Airport in Perth, claimed he had not been stood down fairly, even though the international airline he was allowed to work for had cancelled its regular flights.

Senior Adviser Amber Roncoroni, who represented Menzies Aviation, said the decision would provide some relief to employers who had been required to make difficult decisions when managing the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, especially those whose businesses had been impacted by the reduction in international flights arriving and departing Australia.

“It’s been difficult for employers whose businesses are tied to the number of international flights,” Ms Roncoroni said.

“There has been uncertainty around when international borders will reopen and when international travel will be back to what is was pre-COVID.  

“This has meant that some employers have had to make difficult decisions to ensure that they can continue to operate in the long term.

“In some cases, this has meant relying on s 524 of the Fair Work Act to stand down employees.”

The implications of the member’s win are far-reaching.

“Section 524 of the Fair Work Act is an important provision for employers, as well as employees,” Ms Roncoroni said.

“It allows employers to navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 with a view to preserving employment in the long term.”

Section 524 of the Fair Work Act is triggered only in limited circumstances, so the decision helps employers understand what those circumstances may be, Ms Roncoroni said.

Head of Consulting & Legal Services Michael Mead said the ruling highlighted the exceptional work carried out by Ai Group.

“We worked hard to ensure we put the best case forward,” he said.

“It’s a good decision and we were happy to be able to support employers managing through these difficult times.”

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