Q&A: Natural disaster issues for WA employees

This information resource is for private sector employees in Western Australia. It is general information only and not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. By using the information on this page, you agree to our full disclaimer.

There are two systems of employment law in Western Australia: a state system and a national system. While this information resource is suitable for both state system employees and national system employees, it will help you to know which system of employment law you are covered by. If you are unsure, please see our publication: “Q&A: State or national for WA employees”.


Quick Summary

Natural disasters, such as bushfire, flood, and cyclone can create issues for WA employees. The impact of natural disasters can sometimes prevent employees from doing their job. If an employer asks an employee to stop working due to interruption, this is normally called a “stand down”.

A stand down may be lawful, but it can depend on what is in an employee’s contract, as well as rules set out in employment laws like the Fair Work Act, and other industry or organisation rules – for example in awards or registered enterprise agreements.

Due to the impacts of natural disaster, an employer may be also able to direct the employee to work in a different location or do different duties to what the employee originally agrees to do.

The impacts of natural disaster can also affect an employee and their family both mentally and physically. There are a number of different leave options that may be available. Including personal leave, carer’s leave, compassionate/bereavement leave, and annual leave.