Topic: Asia Pacific

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Can an employee be compelled to give evidence in a coronial inquiry where the employer is facing a WHS proceeding?

A coronial inquiry being conducted at the same time as a criminal proceeding may constitute interference with the due administration of criminal justice amounting to contempt of court. A recent Federal Court decision[1] has considered whether the examination of an employee witness at an inquest will constitute ‘interference’ for the purposes of the criminal proceeding … Continue reading

Model term for family friendly working arrangements to be included in modern awards

As part of the Commission’s four-yearly review of modern awards,[1] the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (Commission) recently handed down a decision (Decision),[2] to insert a new model term (Model Term) into all modern awards, which will: complement the flexible working provisions contained in s 65 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act); and impose … Continue reading

Have your say on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The recent Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) national survey on sexual harassment has made it clear that sexual harassment in the Australian workplace is increasing.   In June 2018, the AHRC announced a National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in order to report, on other things, the prevalence and reporting of harassment and the … Continue reading

Australia introduces unpaid domestic and family violence leave into Modern Awards

Employees in Australia, to whom a Modern Award applies, now have access to 5 days unpaid domestic and family violence leave a year, following a ruling made by the Fair Work Commission earlier this year as part of its four-yearly review. All Modern Awards have now been amended to include a new clause about family … Continue reading

Accessorial Liability – Third Party Advisors

The recent case of EZY Accounting 123 Pty Ltd v Fair Work Ombudsman [2018] FCAFC 134 demonstrates the broad reach of the accessorial liability provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act).  In this case the Full Federal Court (FFC) dismissed the appeal of an accounting firm which was found by the Federal … Continue reading

Changes to Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law

Changes to Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will come into effect on Monday, 1 October 2018. The changes align the HVNL more closely with the model Work Health and Safety Act, by introducing: a new primary duty on every party in the “heavy vehicle supply chain” to ensure the safety of transport activities; and … Continue reading

Enterprise bargaining and the 7 day access period

There are a number of timelines under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to be aware of when making and applying for approval of a single enterprise agreement.  If these timelines are not complied with, it is likely that the agreement will not be approved by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).  One such … Continue reading

Personal/carer’s leave sweeter for shiftworkers

In Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 2140 the Fair Work Commission (Commission) confirmed shiftworkers are entitled to 10 days of personal/carer’s leave to be taken and accrued as a daily entitlement based on the hours ordinarily worked by a particular employee in a day. As a result, shiftworkers are entitled to payment for the … Continue reading

FIFO worker engaged as a casual entitled to annual leave

A FIFO worker who was purportedly engaged as a “casual” under an enterprise agreement has successfully claimed an entitlement to annual leave under both the National Employment Standards (NES) and the terms of the enterprise agreement. The full Federal Court decision in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131 opens the way for further … Continue reading

No “fair go” makes dismissal for a valid reason unfair

The Fair Work Commission will inevitably find a dismissal to be ‘unfair’ if, despite having legitimate performance concerns, an employer does not give the employee a ‘fair go’ to both respond to those concerns and improve their performance. In Cheek v ELB Pty Ltd,[1] the Commission took a close look at just what a ‘fair … Continue reading

AHRC launches national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australia

The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) has recently launched an inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (Inquiry). It seems that the ‘watershed’ moment that the #MeToo campaign was hailed as, has indeed driven the momentum to keep the issue alive and for meaningful action to come from it. There can be little argument that … Continue reading

Record penalties for health and safety breaches in WA are a sign of things to come

Penalties imposed under Western Australia’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (Act) have been kicked up a notch with the Perth Magistrates Court recently fining a company and its director more than double the previous record. In setting this new high water mark, the Court has sent a clear message that failing to ensure a … Continue reading

Singapore: Legal issues commonly faced by freelancers and self-employed individuals

An estimated 8 to 10% of Singapore’s existing workforce comprise freelancers and self-employed individuals.[1]  This percentage is likely to increase with the expansion of the gig and on-demand economy. In recent months, there has been increasing public concern as to the ‘employment’ rights and legal status of these freelancers and self-employed individuals. Are they employees … Continue reading

Visual contracts: Re-imagining the employment contract

We had the pleasure of assisting global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon become the first employer to launch a visual employment contract across its workforce in Australia. The brief?  To assist in re-imagining the standard written employment contract into an interactive and vibrant agreement, which governs the employment relationship and embodies the culture and … Continue reading

Legal representation in the post-Fitzgerald world – difficult but not impossible

In October 2017, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in Fitzgerald v Woolworths[1] challenged the common understanding of “representation” by a lawyer, by finding it involves a wide range of activities connected with litigation and is broader than just oral advocacy before the FWC.  As lawyers (and paid agents) must obtain the FWC’s … Continue reading

Freedom to tweet – no power to terminate public servant for anonymous political communication

The AAT has found that the termination of employment of a former public servant who tweeted anonymously trespassed on the implied freedom of political communication and was therefore unlawful, in a decision which examined the scope and application of the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) (PSA) in the context of reviewing a denied workers compensation … Continue reading

The long-awaited ‘Independent Review of Occupational Health and Safety Compliance and Enforcement in Victoria’

Despite being dated November 2016, the long-awaited report entitled ‘Independent Review of Occupational Health and Safety Compliance and Enforcement in Victoria’ (the review) was released on 18 December 2017, just in time for some light holiday reading.  At the same time the Victorian government response to the review was also released (the government response). The … Continue reading

Changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law coming in mid-2018

Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is changing in mid-2018.  The changes are not only relevant to businesses that drive or operate heavy vehicles.  They will also apply to any businesses that consign, pack, load or receive goods by heavy vehicles. Background to Chain of Responsibility Amendments As a result of concerns expressed by industry … Continue reading
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