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  • My Work Rights

Suspensions: Can my employer stand me down from work?

Let's delve into the intricacies of Australian employment law, particularly when it pertains to those complex scenarios involving suspensions, stand downs, and the enigmatic concept of "special leave." Understanding these matters is key to staying informed and empowered.

Empty desk from a suspended worker

Understanding Suspensions

Suspensions from work are no trivial matter. They come into play when serious issues are at stake. Imagine a referee stepping onto the field for a critical decision – that's what suspensions are like in the workplace. They're invoked during investigations into severe misconduct or when an individual's actions endanger the safety of others, like failing a drug test. However, it's crucial to note that suspensions aren't for minor issues or performance hiccups. They're reserved for significant instances.

A Last Resort Approach

Before a suspension is even considered, it must be the final option on the list. The intent isn't punitive; it's about maintaining safety – for you and your colleagues. Think of it as a precautionary measure during uncertain times.

Open Communication is Key

Here's the scoop: your employer can't simply suspend you without explanation. You have the right to know the reasons behind it. Prior to implementing a suspension, they should engage in a dialogue with you. Unless there's an urgent situation, they're obligated to allow you to share your side of the story. Fairness is at the core.

Financial Aspects

Let's touch on the financial aspect. In most cases, if you're suspended, you're entitled to your regular pay. If your employer decides on an unpaid suspension, this arrangement should be clearly outlined in your employment agreement. Should they choose the no-pay route, they must adhere to a reasonable process.

Taking Constructive Action

If you're questioning the legitimacy of your suspension, our team of employment law advocates is at your service. Unfortunately, unfair suspensions often occur when employers have already made up their minds. This is where our expertise comes in – offering guidance and assistance during uncertain times.


So, there you have it – a brief look at suspensions, stand downs, and "special leave" within the context of Australian employment law. Remember, when uncertainties arise, seeking guidance is a good idea.


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