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Marie Boland’s Review of the Work Health and Safety Laws, Part 3: Safe Work Australia‘s Consultation Regulation Impact Statement

On 24 June 2019, Safe Work Australia released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) seeking feedback on the possible impacts of implementing the recommendations of the Marie Boland independent review of the model Work Health and Safety Laws final report (Report). In February this year, Marie Boland (former Executive Director of SafeWork SA) delivered the Report which found the model … Continue reading

Crouch, bind, set: Folau to tackle Rugby Australia in the Federal Court

The termination of Israel Folau’s $4m playing contract has set the scrum for a Federal Court case which is likely to shape the landscape of religious expression and vilification in the employment context. Background Folau’s controversial “warning” on Instagram stated that “Hell awaits” those who are “homosexuals … thieves and atheists”, among others, telling them … Continue reading

Keeping your finger(print) on the pulse:  Employer’s warned of the risks associated with the collection of biometric data

The everyday use of biometric technology in contemporary society is nothing new. We live in a world where we regularly use fingerprint recognition for home security, facial recognition to open our phones and voice recognition to ask Siri to spice up a party by playing the latest Taylor Swift tune.  Despite the significant advancements and … Continue reading

Australian minimum wage to be increased by 3% to $19.49 per hour from 1 July 2019

The Fair Work Commission has determined to award Australian workers a 3% increase on minimum wages. In the Annual Wage Review Decision handed down today, the Fair Work Commission has determined that from 1 July 2019: The national minimum wage and modern award minimum wages are to be increased by 3%. The national minimum wage … Continue reading

New laws in force to prevent “sharp corporate practices” of employers in avoiding payment of employee entitlements

The Corporations Amendment (Strengthening Protections for Employee Entitlements) Act 2019 (Act) received Royal Assent on 5 April 2019.[1]  The Act amends Part 5.8A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) to discourage the use of “sharp corporate practices” used by employers to avoid paying employee entitlements when their business enters winding up, including improper … Continue reading

New code of practice for managing the mental health of FIFO workers

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 … Continue reading

New whistleblowing laws require a compliant policy

Amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) take effect from 1 July 2019 ushering in significant changes to Australia’s whistleblowing laws.[1] Chief among the key changes is a requirement on public companies and large proprietary companies[2] to have a compliant whistleblowing policy by 1 January 2020. A failure … Continue reading

Marie Boland’s Review of the Work Health and Safety Laws, Part 2: current status of industrial manslaughter provisions around Australia

As reported in an earlier article on this blog, Marie Boland (former Executive Director of SafeWork SA) undertook the first review of the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws and delivered her report on 25 February 2019 (Report). The Report concluded that the model WHS laws are operating as intended and the “three-tier framework” … Continue reading

Queensland director’s ‘flagrant disregard’ for safety methods leads to custodial sentence following reckless conduct conviction

Earlier this year Gary Lavin and his company Multi-Run Roofing Pty Ltd (Multi-Run Roofing) were found guilty by a jury of reckless conduct under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act), following the death of a worker in July 2014. Mr Lavin was sentenced to 12 months in prison (suspended after 4); … Continue reading

There’s a BEAR in there…

What is BEAR? The Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) is set out in Part IIAA of the Banking Act 1959 and took effect in February 2018. BEAR establishes accountability obligations for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and their senior executives and directors. The regime also establishes deferred remuneration, key personnel and notification obligations for ADIs. An … Continue reading

Model terms for annualised wages clause to be included in Modern Awards

As part of the Fair Work Commission’s (Commission) four-yearly review of Modern Awards[1], the Commission recently handed down a decision on 27 February 2019 (Decision)[2], to insert new model clauses for annual wages into Modern Awards. The Decision applied to 17 Modern Awards that currently contain annualised wage entitlements, and 2 Modern Awards that previously … Continue reading

Two jobs, one employer: Australia Post not liable for overtime pay

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 … Continue reading

Marie Boland’s Review of the model Work Health and Safety laws – industrial manslaughter, enhancing the Category 1 offence, and what it might mean for statutory safety duty holders

Since the start of this year, two directors have been sentenced to custodial terms for safety offences in relation to separate fatal incidents. In February this year,  Marie Boland’s Review of the model Work Health and Safety laws – Final report (Report) was released  which recommends including a new offence of industrial manslaughter in the … Continue reading

Update on case involving whether employee can be compelled to give evidence in a coronial inquiry

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court) handed down its decision on 15 February 2019 in Helicopter Resources Pty Ltd v Commonwealth of Australia [2019] FCAFC 25.  The case involves an appeal to the Full Court by Helicopter Resources Pty Ltd (Helicopter) arising from a decision of the Federal Court which … Continue reading

Recent changes to Modern Awards – What employers should know

As part of the Commission’s four-yearly review of modern awards[1], the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently handed down a number of decisions[2] which have the effect of inserting a model casual conversion clause (Model Clause) into 84 Modern Awards[3] from 1 October 2018.  This provides “regular casual” employees the right to … Continue reading

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
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