As many of you know, the ER Strategies office and our team are located in Sydney, NSW. Even though we are subject to the stay-at-home orders, we are still available to assist you with all things ‘employee relations’ during this time. We have a skeleton crew in the office answering calls as well as directing some of them to team members working from home.
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As Australian employment law develops, it becomes harder for employers to keep up with it. Employees are becoming more aware of their workplace rights too. Therefore, employers must ensure that they understand their obligations when it comes to dismissing employees, reducing the risk of an unfair dismissal or other claim, such as a General Protections claim.
Current Salary Cap and Compensation
The Fair Work Act sets limits to an employee’s eligibility for unfair dismissal redress where they are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement. This is called the High-Income Threshold (HIT), which is amended annually.
ER Strategies’ Interactive Guide to the Federal Government’s Casual Reforms Legislation is now available!
In late March, the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (Amendment Act) passed both Houses of Federal Parliament, which amended the Fair Work Act 2009 to include reforms to workplace rights and obligations for casual employees. The legislation has received Royal Assent and is therefore now in operation, with some transitional arrangements.
This month (March 2021) marks a full year since the Federal Government announced the JobKeeper scheme, providing unprecedented financial support to many employers and employees across Australia. Unfortunately, this month also signals the end of the scheme, along with the Fair Work Act flexibilities extended to eligible ‘Qualifying’ employers and ‘Legacy’ employers as part of the program.
With the first COVID-19 vaccinations under the federal government’s COVID-19 Vaccine National Rollout set to take place today, Monday 22 February 2021, employers around Australia will need to consider how the availability of COVID-19 vaccines may impact their broader Work Health and Safety obligations to their employees and persons who come into contact with their business.
Back in February 2020, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) decided to insert detailed annualised wage arrangement provisions into 16 modern Awards (e.g. Banking Finance, Clerks, Pharmacy etc).
As a result of COVID19, the Australian government has provided significant financial support to employers through the subsidy known as JobKeeper (‘JK’). The JK program commenced in March 2020 and will cease at the end of March 2021.
Work Christmas parties are a chance for employees to let their hair down, celebrate their achievements from the past working year, and it can also be a great chance for your employees to bond. However, although the work Christmas party can be fun, it can also be fraught with dangers.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) Full Bench has decided to remove the higher-level junior rates of pay under the General Retail Industry Award 2020 (GRIA). This will mean that the adult rate will apply to all juniors at levels 4 to 8 inclusive.
Disgruntled dismissed employees are increasingly lodging General Protections (GP) applications compared to Unfair Dismissal actions, despite unfair dismissals still being more common overall.
The Annual Wage Review 2019-20 listed 3 operative dates in which the 1.75% wage increase would take effect, with the operative dates categorised by industries who were least affected to most affected by the pandemic.
Business risks keep climbing as awareness grows of adverse action claims under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA).
Due to huge media attention over the past 1-2 years, you will be aware of the variety of large-scale employers underpaying their staff. Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings, respected universities, and IBM have all been guilty of it and faced the consequences.
On 22 October the Federal Circuit Court found that Barry Café in Northcote, Victoria, “deliberately contravened workplace laws and exploited staff”. The Court found the café exploited vulnerable workers by refusing to offer shifts of work to anyone that complained.
There is a common theme in many of the cases we read now, about getting the process right and following often simple steps, to avoid employee relations issues such as unfair dismissal cases. This applies to many situations, but more so with a transfer of employment situation.
In our recent article, we explained how the coverage under the Miscellaneous Award has been expanded by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). This has meant that ER Strategies is fielding a lot of questions from clients about this change and how award coverage works.
On 27 July 2020, the Health Sector Awards Full Bench issued a decision ( FWCFB 3940) granting an entitlement to paid pandemic leave for most employees working in the aged care industry who are covered by the following awards:
Does unpaid leave extend the minimum employment period (probation period) in relation to unfair dismissal claims?
Most employers now conveniently align the probation period under their contracts of employment to the minimum employment period under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act).
Annual Wage Review 2019-20 – 1.75% increase to be rolled out across three dates for different modern awards
This morning the Fair Work Commission released its decision regarding the Annual Wage Review 2019-20.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) – the independent statutory body responsible for enforcing compliance with workplace laws and education – has recently published a resource for franchisors providing guidance on their responsibilities and practical steps that they can implement to comply with the ‘reasonable steps’ requirements.
What is the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code?
The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (the ‘Code’) only applies to small businesses as defined under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which are those with fewer than 15 employees. In addition, for small businesses, employees are not entitled to claim Unfair Dismissal in the first 12 months of their employment. It is therefore important that small businesses ensure employee dismissals are consistent with the Code to avoid getting involved in an unfair dismissal case which may go against them.
Under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, employers have been required to make Super Guarantee Contributions (‘SGC’) to eligible employees at a minimum rate of 9.5% of their ordinary time earnings (OTE).
From 1 May 2021, Junior rates for classifications level 4 to level 8 under the General Retail Industry Award 2020 will no longer apply, although junior rates continue to apply to junior employees classified in levels 1 to 3. Junior employees under the Award classified as level 4 and above under the award must now be paid at least the adult rate of pay for their relevant classification.
Redundancy payouts can be a large cost to a business that may already be struggling, but there are ways to ease this threat.
In late March, the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (Amendment Act) passed both Houses of Federal Parliament, which amended the Fair Work Act 2009 to now include reforms to workplace rights and obligations for casual employees. The legislation has received Royal Assent and is therefore now in operation, with some transitional arrangements.
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