The retail group behind stationery brand Smiggle, sleepwear chain Peter Alexander and fashion outlets including Portmans and Just Jeans will close all retail stores in Australia from tonight until late-April.
Premier Investments said all its employees in Australia would be temporarily stood down as a result, except for “a small number of employees required to perform limited essential work”.
“This means our team members will not attend work and will not be paid,” it said.“We have put in place special arrangements for employees to access accrued annual leave and long-service leave entitlements.”
Premier said the closures would affect 9,000 employees globally, following similar decisions in New Zealand, the UK and Ireland.
Being stood down isn’t the same as being made redundant — and quite a few companies who have stood down workers have come out and said they want them to return to their positions when things go back to normal.
Under the Fair Work Act, any employee (whether full-time, part-time or casual) can be stood down without pay if they can’t do useful work because of an “equipment breakdown, industrial action or a stoppage of work for which the employer can’t reasonably be held responsible”.
Some people who have been stood down have taken annual leave to try and ride it out.