The 'no work-as-directed, no pay' principle has been derived from the common law. Since 1996, the Workplace Relations Act has prohibited employers from making a payment to an employee in relation to a period in which the employee takes industrial action. It is also prohibited for employees to demand or accept such a payment from an employer.
The Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 (Cth) introduced the four-hour rule which required that an employer must withhold four hours pay for a period of industrial action of less than four hours. For industrial action longer than four hours, the employer must not pay the employee for the total duration of the action on that day.
The four-hour rule for strike pay was retained in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Fair Work Act) for unprotected industrial action only. Additional options were also introduced to provide employers with flexibility and discretion in managing partial work bans.
It is unlawful for an employer to pay, or an employee to demand or to accept strike pay for any period of protected or unprotected action.