QLD Employment Law - Can Employer Stand Me Down and Withhold Pay?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


22 June 2016
I would like to know what my employee rights are. I have been stood down without pay by my employer pending an independent medical fitness to work report. Duty of care was mentioned as the reason. Prescription medication taken on doctor's authority for work related to the injury caused dizziness and consequently, a minor incident at work.

Can my employers stand me down without pay whilst waiting for a medical report they organised for me, to see an independent occupational physician to assess fitness for work under employment law?

No consultation or discussion prior to being stood down and I've checked with fair work and workcover re the situation. The information I was given is, the employer could stand me down but not withhold pay.

Can anyone help if my employer has this right?


Well-Known Member
1 June 2016
Hi Paulo,

Generally speaking, an employer cannot “stand down” or "suspend" an employee without pay. If the employer no longer wishes to pay the employee then the appropriate course is to terminate the employee. Generally, you can stand down or suspend an employee for almost any reason, providing the employer continues to pay the employee.

In some circumstances, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) allows for the stand down of employees without pay in the circumstances of:

1. Industrial action;

2. breakdown of the equipment, provided the employer cannot be reasonably held responsible for the breakdown; and

3. a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.

Option for employers to lawfully stand down employees without pay are quite limited. Employees cannot be stood down just because there is not enough work or because of a decline in the employer’s business. Employees on leave cannot be stood down while on leave.

You cannot be suspended without pay for misconduct or wrongdoing. However, you can be suspended with pay and be directed not to attend the workplace and to await further instructions from the employer. Employees are usually suspended on pay while an investigation takes place into misconduct alleged against the employee.

Having said the above, much will depend on what industry you are employed in and any specific legislative instruments that apply to your employment in that industry, as well as any applicable Award and the terms of your employment contract.

Hope the above helps.

If you need more assistance, I do a lot of employment disputes for employees on a "no win no fee" basis, so please give me a call by clicking this link: Benjamin Nicholson Law, Sydney NSW - LawAnswers.com.au Find a Lawyer.


22 June 2016
Thank you for the help Yevgeni

There has been no resolution to this yet, but your post confirmed what I researched, putting my mind at rest somewhat. I will be in contact if I can't sort this with my employer soon.