Topic: Asia Pacific

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Fair Work Commission considers award provision allowing employers to deduct pay where an employee fails to give sufficient notice

As part of its four yearly review of modern awards, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently considered whether a clause found in many modern awards allowing employers to make deductions from an employee’s termination pay (where the employee fails to give sufficient notice of resignation) should be removed, changed or … Continue reading

23 redundancies with no consultation? Federal Court says ‘that’s OK’

An employer decides to abolish 23 full-time positions due to a lack of funding.  Surely this is a major change likely to have a significant effect on employees which obliges the employer to consult with those employees as per the consultation term in their enterprise agreement? While many would say ‘yes, of course’, the Federal … Continue reading

Drug and alcohol testing: have you got your employee’s consent?

The idiom “I’m chained to my desk” is one familiar to many, but for the Queensland District Court the relationship between the workplace and incarceration may not always stop there. In Pere v Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service[1], a hospital fire safety and security officer brought an action against his former employer, Queensland Hospital … Continue reading

Beware of repudiating the employment contract of an employee who intends to jump ship and join your competitor

Your employee resigns to join your arch rival. You’re not worried because you know you have ‘water tight’ post-employment restraints in the contract of employment. But, if in reacting to the employee’s untimely resignation, you breach the contract and this breach amounts to a repudiation of the contract, then your restraints will be unenforceable. This … 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

A New Era in Franchising Compliance is Here

The Federal Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Workers Bill received the Royal Assent on 14 September 2017. With the exception of the provisions in relation to responsible franchisors (which commence on 27 October 2017), the Fair Work Amendment (Protection of Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 (Cth) (Act) commenced on Friday 15 September 2017. We recommend that franchisors take … Continue reading

$1.7 million in damages for victim of workplace bullying

The Queensland Supreme Court last month awarded $1,703,530 in damages against an employer, whose Chief Executive Officer’s “unjustified blaming, humiliation, belittling, isolation, undermining and contemptuous disregard” of the plaintiff employee resulted in serious psychiatric injury. The employer was found vicariously liable for the CEO’s actions and to have breached its own duty of care.… Continue reading

Protected species? Considering rights associated with pregnancy and parental leave in the event of redundancy

When an organisation is considering making redundancies, it is important to consider whether employees who are pregnant or on parental leave are afforded any special protections under Australian law. Both the Fair Work Act 2009 and anti-discrimination legislation include provisions particularly relating to pregnancy and parental leave, including the right to return to the same … Continue reading

2.5 million casual employees could soon have the right to become permanent

In a landmark decision, on 5 July 2017 a 5-member full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has accepted the primary proposition of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) that the “unrestricted use of casual employment without the safeguard of a casual conversion clause may operate to undermine the fairness and relevance of … Continue reading

Continuing reform of the Heavy Vehicle National Law – Now is the time to ensure you comply

There has been significant activity recently in the area of safety regulation for the heavy vehicle transport industry (see our previous updates) and further reforms are on the way. In particular, key amendments to the chain of responsibility (CoR) and executive officer liability provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) are set to commence in … Continue reading

Queensland introduces chain of responsibility legislation for non-conforming building products

The Queensland Government proposes to introduce comprehensive changes to its building and construction laws through the amendments to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act) proposed by the Building and Construction Legislation (Nonconforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017 (Amendments), introduced in to Parliament on 26 … Continue reading

Anti-bullying laws and the boardroom

Board members can occupy positions of high responsibility and power.  A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission has shed light however on whether they may also fall under the category of ‘worker’ for the purposes of anti-bullying laws.… Continue reading

Reinstatement of employees following disingenuous consultation

The Fair Work Commission has recently made orders reinstating four employees whose employment had been terminated for reason of redundancy. The decision is a timely reminder of the importance of employers ensuring that they consult in a meaningful and genuine way with affected employees in a redundancy situation, where those employees are covered by an … Continue reading

Enterprise bargaining – minor technical deficiencies can derail the whole process

If your business is considering making an enterprise agreement, you must strictly comply with the procedural requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) and ensure you use the newly amended Notice of Employee Representational Rights. For those who have already commenced bargaining, small mistakes made during the bargaining process may mean the parties’ … 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

Genuine Redundancy and Redeployment – Job Swapping Reasonable in All the Circumstances?

In the recent case of Skinner et al v Asciano Services Pty Ltd T/A Pacific National Bulk [2017] FWCFB 574 the Full Bench found that an employer breached its obligation to explore redeployment options under s.389(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 after making 7 of its employees redundant without properly considering job swaps and … Continue reading

Singapore Government-linked Company Faces Criticism for its Termination of Employees

Last month, 54 employees of a Singapore Government-linked company, Surbana Jurong, were terminated from employment. A local newspaper, Today, reported that the Group Chief Executive of Surbana had sent a firm-wide email explaining the firm’s decision to terminate these employees and labelling them as poor performers who could not be allowed to drag down the … Continue reading
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