The Australian government has implemented a number of schemes to promote and encourage gender pay equity in an effort to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for work of equal or comparable value.

As part of the Global Workplace Insider global theme for this month, we provide an overview of the key pieces of legislation that operate to address gender pay equity in Australia.

From 1 July 2015, changes to Australia’s employee share scheme taxation regime will reduce the risk of employees being hit with unfunded tax liabilities by:

  • permitting taxing points to be deferred for longer periods; and
  • introducing a significant tax concession for eligible start-ups’ employee share schemes.

For an overview of the changes, and what they

The Australian Government has released draft legislation which, if implemented, will boost the tax concessions for shares and options acquired under employee share and option plans on and from 1 July 2015.

In 2009, changes to the tax treatment of employee share and option plans saw the end of these incentive schemes in Australia.  The

A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) considered the meaning of “at work” in the context of an application for a stop bullying order.

The FWC found that “at work” encompasses:

  1. the performance of work at any time or location; and
  2. when the worker is engaged in some other activity which is authorised or permitted by their employer.

The FWC has the power under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) to make orders to stop bullying if it is satisfied that a worker has been “bullied at work”.

The FWC considered that the words ‘at work’ were intended to confine the operation of the substantive provisions of the Act, noting:

  • a worker is ‘at work’ at a time when the worker is performing work;
  • being ‘at work’ is not limited to the confines of a physical workplace;
  • being ‘at work’ includes when the worker is engaged in other authorised activities, such as when on a meal break or accessing social media while performing work;
  • individuals who engage in bullying conduct do not need to be workers but could, for example, be customers; and
  • these individuals do not have to be ‘at work’ at the time they engage in the bullying conduct.

A restraint of trade clause with 8,190 separate covenants was considered certain and not wholly unreasonable in a decision of the Supreme Court of Tasmania (Court).

In Australia, restraint of trade clauses are, on the face of it, void as a matter of public policy.  However, Australian Courts may enforce a restraint of trade clause to the extent it is reasonable to protect the former employer’s legitimate business interests.

The decision arose from an application made by Bulk Frozen Foods Pty Ltd (Company) in which the Company sought a declaration that the restraint of trade clause in its General Manager’s employment contract (Restraint) was valid and enforceable.  The General Manager had been with the Company for just over 6 months before resigning to take up a position with a competitor.

The Australia Institute (TAI), an independent public policy think tank, has published a report entitled Walking the tightrope which considers the question: Have Australians achieved work/life balance?  TAI’s research reveals the answer to this question is a definitive ‘no’.  Australian employees work approximately 58.8 million hours of unpaid overtime per year, equating to

Rights of employees upon redundancy of their position and in the case of any resulting termination of the employee’s employment will depend upon whether the employee falls into the Federal employment and industrial relations jurisdiction (National System Employees) or under the jurisdiction of the State in which the employee works.

National System Employees