Ask an expert: Suspending an employee without pay

What if an employee has failed to complete their CPD or renew their Certificate of Registration? Can you suspend them without pay? REEF Workplace Relations Director Michele O’Neill explains.


We have a full-time property management employee who has failed to complete her CPD and renew her Certificate of Registration. Can we suspend her without pay on the basis that she’s unable to perform her duties because of failure to comply with statutory requirements?


There’s no general common law right permitting an employer to suspend an employee without pay. However, having established the loss of certification, you can’t allow the employee to perform their usual work as it may breach statutory requirements. Further, it may impact your insurance arrangements.

If you’re confronted with such a circumstance, the options available to the agency will largely depend on the period the employee will be unable to perform their usual paid duties. These options might include:

  1. Arranging with the employee to take any accrued annual leave to cover the period where the employee is not permitted to work due to the expiration of the certificate.
  2. Where possible, consulting with the employee about performing other duties for which the certificate is not needed (e.g. clerical or administrative duties). This requires the agreement of the employee.
  3. As a last resort (and only after discussing the matter with REEF), the employee’s employment may be able to be terminated due to ‘frustration’ caused by the inability of the employee to carry out the inherent requirements of the position.