The Federal Court of Australia recently decided in favour of a representative proceeding (more commonly known as a ‘class action’) brought on behalf of approximately 150 workers, and backed by the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Maritime Employees Union against Thiess Pty Ltd, on the question of payment for travel time at the end of a worker’s shift.[1] The case is part of the growing trend of class actions in the employment sphere.

The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, in conjunction with the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health and the Mining Industry Advisory Committee, has released a Code of Practice “Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in the resources and construction sectors” (Code).[1]  The Code recommends implementing a risk-based approach to prevent and manage harm from psychosocial hazards and risk factors in the workplace.

The Code is the first of its kind in Australia, and follows on from a research report provided to the WA Mental Health Commission in September 2018.[2] The aim is to provide guidelines for establishing, monitoring and maintaining the mental health of FIFO workers. Although it is targeted at the resources and construction sectors in Western Australia, the Code is relevant to any employer with a FIFO workforce or a long distance commuting workforce, and therefore provides a useful model for many employers across Australia.

The Code also highlights the importance of a mentally healthy workplace and the importance of leadership and workplace culture in developing and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace.

The recent Federal Court decision of Lacson v Australian Postal Corporation [2019] FCA 51 has reaffirmed the position than an employer is not liable for cumulative overtime and allowances where their employee performs different duties at two different locations and two different times. Justice Mortimer dismissed an appeal by an employee of Australia Post, who argued he was entitled to overtime, rest relief and meal allowances over a 4 year period while he worked two jobs for the same employer.