Global Workplace Insider Team

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“Casual” employee awarded 15 years of annual leave

The recent case of Apostolides v Mantina Earthmovers & Constructions Pty Ltd [2018] FCCA 279 serves as a useful reminder to ensure that your organisation’s award or agreement covered casual employees are “engaged and paid as such”. In this case the Federal Circuit Court determined that an employee whom the employer purported was a casual … Continue reading

Do you provide or use labour hire services? Important changes are coming for labour hire in Queensland and other jurisdictions

Do you provide or use labour hire services?  Important changes are coming for labour hire in Queensland and other jurisdictions A labour hire licensing scheme will commence in Queensland, and it is expected that other states will follow suit. The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Act) was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 7 September … Continue reading

Transitional arrangements for the 457 visa and next steps

Following the Australian Prime Minister’s announcement on 18 April 2017 that the 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa from March 2018, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has issued further information on the upcoming changes that will  impact the 457 visa programme.  Additional legislative and policy … Continue reading

Australian 457 working visa to be abolished – reforms to employer sponsored skilled migration programme announced

The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced yesterday afternoon that the 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa to better address genuine skill shortages and protect the Australian local labour force.  The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.… Continue reading

Private eye: using Facebook to discipline an employee

The Supreme Court of Victoria’s decision of Jurecek v Director, Transport Safety Victoria [2016] VSC 285 clarifies the application of privacy law to an employee’s social media account, specifically in relation to an employer collecting and using information gathered from an employee’s Facebook account when investigating misconduct.… Continue reading

New codes introduced – Contractors must be aware of enterprise agreement risks

The new national code for the tendering and performance of building work 2016 (Code 2016) commenced on 2 December 2016 to coincide with the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). The governing legislation is the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (Act). The Code 2016 applies to building contractors carrying … Continue reading

Misuse it and lose it

A series of recent cases demonstrates that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) will, with increasing frequency, revoke or suspend union entry permits following findings of contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).  So far this year, in 3 separate cases, the FWC has suspended or revoked the entry permits of 7 officials of … Continue reading

When is going running in the course of employment?

A worker who injured herself when she went for a run whilst working from home has had her application for workers compensation dismissed, but only on the basis that the injury did not occur during an ‘ordinary recess’. Background In Demasi v Comcare (Compensation) [2016] AATA 644 (26 August 2016), the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) … Continue reading

The latest from the Fair Work Commission on drug and alcohol policy breaches

Last month, the Fair Work Commission upheld a decision to dismiss an employee for breaching its zero tolerance policy on illicit drugs, confirming the importance of having a clear drug and alcohol policy that is effectively communicated and consistently applied. The employer, Coles Group Supply Chain Pty Ltd (Coles), summarily dismissed Shane Clayton who tested … Continue reading

When will an employee’s “out of hours conduct” be a valid reason for dismissal?

An employer generally does not have any right to direct how an employee conducts themselves outside of their employment.  For an employee’s “out of hours conduct” to be a valid reason for dismissal, the conduct must have a relevant connection to the employment relationship. In the recent decision of Kedwell v Coal & Allied Mining … Continue reading

Continuous service: Prior casual service counts

A majority of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has recently held that for the purposes of calculating notice of termination and redundancy entitlements for permanent employees under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act), a prior contiguous period of regular and systematic service as a casual employee will count as service.… Continue reading

Cashing out of annual leave now permitted by the majority of modern awards

In a recent ground-breaking decision, the Fair Work Commission has varied the terms relating to annual leave that appear in the majority of modern awards (being the instruments that set out minimum employment terms and conditions for millions of Australians). The most controversial variation being the ability to cash out annual leave.… Continue reading

Post-Election 2016 Briefing: Likely Amendments to the Fair Work Act

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed victory in the federal election, as the Coalition achieved the slim majority in Australia’s federal parliament. We briefly outline the likely key amendments to the Fair Work Act, as promised by the Coalition Government prior to the election, and other possible amendments to the workplace relations legislative framework.… Continue reading

Can internal investigations commissioned from third party investigators be kept confidential?

The recent decision of the Fair Work Commission in Kirkman v DP World Melbourne Limited[1]  illustrates the benefits to employers of taking care when commissioning investigations into alleged misconduct in the workplace.  If the commissioning of the report is handled correctly, and confidentiality of the report is maintained at all times, it may be possible … Continue reading

A watershed case on the frontiers of union turf

Earlier this month, a unanimous Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a decision that is set to lay the landscape for the interpretation of union eligibility rules into the future.[1] In its reasons, the Full Bench provided critical guidance on how union eligibility rules should be interpreted. In particular, the Full … Continue reading

FWC Annual Report for 2014/15 released

Last month the Fair Work Commission (FWC) tabled its Annual Report for 2014/15 (Report) in Federal Parliament, a copy of which can be accessed here. One aspect of note to be gleaned from the data within the Report is a continuation in the shift in the FWC’s workload away from more traditional collective dispute resolution … Continue reading

Covertly-Recorded Conversations in the Workplace

In a startling revelation, it has recently become public knowledge that a Fair Work Commission Vice President had covertly recorded telephone conversations between himself and the President of the Fair Work Commission.  The Fair Work Commission is Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal.  The Vice President said that he did so to protect his own lawful … Continue reading

Australian labour law changes important for the resources sector

Australian labour law is primarily governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). A central feature of the Australian labour law system is collective enterprise-based bargaining between employers and their employees, who are usually represented by trade unions. Recently, the Australian Federal Government has sought to introduce a number of changes to the … Continue reading

First bullying findings made by the FWC

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has handed down its first formal decision in relation to an anti-bullying order. This is only the second case since the introduction of the anti-bullying laws where orders have been granted under section 789FD of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). This is the first decision to provide us … Continue reading

Resources safety reforms on the way for Western Australia

The Western Australian State Government is currently seeking submissions from stakeholders on proposed reforms to safety laws in the resources industry. The resources sector in Western Australia (WA) has been given a preview of potential reforms to safety laws that are planned for commencement on 1 January 2017, with the release by the Department of … Continue reading

Unpaid interns? Time to reassess

In today’s difficult job market employers are often fielding calls from candidates willing to work for free just to get a foot in the door.  Accepting such an offer may expose the employer to considerable risk in light of the current focus on the issue of unpaid internships by the Fair Work Ombudsman.… Continue reading