Virgin Australia has re-credited leave to staff forced to take time off when the coronavirus caused the airline to stand down thousands of its workers.
It comes after the federal parliament passed the $1500 fortnightly wage subsidy, which is expected to help pay aviation workers caught in the economic storm.
Transport Workers' Union secretary Michael Kaine has welcomed Virgin's move and called on Qantas to match it.
"Qantas has recently mortgaged its planes and forced staff to bail it out from their leave balances," he said on Thursday.
"With the government stepping in to subsidise wages and backdating this to March 1, Qantas should pay this back. We appeal to Qantas to reconsider its stance."
Last month, Qantas stood down 20,000 staff or two-thirds of its workforce, giving them the option to take paid annual leave or unpaid time off work.
Qantas will this month start paying the JobKeeper wage subsidy early, weeks ahead of receiving the money from the tax office.
"The government has said in cases where employees have been stood down and elect to take paid annual leave, the JobKeeper payment will subsidise part of that income," a Qantas spokesman told AAP.
"That's exactly how we are applying the payment."
Australian Associated Press