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Qantas (ASX:QAN) didn’t rort JobKeeper, rules court

The airline is off the hook for the way it handled the government subsidy, after losing an earlier court case against the unions.
The post Qantas (ASX:QAN) didn’t rort JobKeeper, rules court appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

view from below of jet plane flying above city buildings representing corporate travel share price

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) has won an appeal to reverse an earlier court ruling that it had inappropriately pocketed JobKeeper payments meant for staff.

The full Federal Court on Thursday quashed the original September judgment made by a single judge. 

The reasoning was that adhering to that decision would have posed an excessive level of administrative burden on employers. The judges deemed that would not have been the intent of the government when it started the COVID-19 assistance scheme.

The dispute between the airline and unions was around wages paid in arrears. Qantas had been counting arrears payments towards the JobKeeper payment, whereas unions argued staff should be receiving both the wage owed and the government subsidy.

Qantas understandably welcomed the decision to uphold its appeal.

“We have always made JobKeeper payments to our employees according to advice from the Australian Tax Office,” said a spokesperson for the airline.

“Most of the JobKeeper payments Qantas has received went straight to employees who were stood down.”

The original decision was considered to have potential to affect other businesses that paid the subsidy out in a similar way to Qantas.

Qantas gets fired up

The airline on Thursday accused the unions of “making false claims and misleading our employees”.

“The court has found we are administering JobKeeper as the government intended,” the Qantas spokesperson said.

“Every Qantas and Jetstar employee, whether they have been working or stood down, was paid at least $1500 per fortnight in line with the requirements of the first stage of JobKeeper, and then the reduced amounts specified by the government.”

The Motley Fool has contacted the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and the Australian Services Union (ASU) for comment.

The spokesperson added the company had always paid penalty rates and overtime in the same manner as it did this year.

“This is not something we just started doing during COVID. Rostering arrangements during the stand down period was done in consultation with unions.”

This is not the only spat Qantas has had with its employees this year. The two sides engaged in a public slanging match over the decision to sack 2,000 workers and outsource their functions

That saga is headed to the courts after TWU decided it would take legal action. 

The latest good news for Qantas comes after it revealed Wednesday its budget arm Jetstar would be flying above pre-COVID levels by March.

The brand is now enjoying a monopoly in that leisure subsector with TigerAir having folded and Virgin intending to go mid-market.

Qantas shares were down 0.59% in late Thursday trade, to sell for $5.06.

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Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo owns shares of Qantas Airways Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

The post Qantas (ASX:QAN) didn’t rort JobKeeper, rules court appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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