Latest News In Workplace Law
Federal election and IR on the agenda
The Federal government finally named the date for the 2019 election, where IR is likely to be a key issue for the electorate. Amongst other policies, the ALP proposes to introduce a ‘living wage’ to replace the minimum wage for many, to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (commonly known as the building industry ‘watchdog’),to abolish the Registered Organisations Commission (who overseas unions), to introduce a federal labour hire licensing scheme, industry based bargaining (rather than employer-based), amongst other things.
Budget 2019/20: Fair Work Ombudsman crackdown on ‘sham contracting’
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) have been allocated $9.2M in funding over the next four years under the recent federal budget. The funding will be used to establish a specialised sham contracting unit. Sham contracting is the unlawful practice of knowingly or recklessly treating employees as independent contractors (and related conduct), with the consequent avoidance of employment related entitlements. Additionally, amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) will be made to increase the applicable penalties for serious sham contracting contraventions.
New legislation to affect insolvent companies
An amendment to the Corporations Act 2001 (see here) has been passed to deter company directors (and other relevant parties) from engaging in, or facilitating, transactions that are aimed at preventing, avoiding or significantly reducing employer liability for employee entitlements during insolvency. The amendment will strengthen the rights of employees, enabling them to access unpaid entitlements from an insolvent company.
Corporations Amendment (Strengthening Protections for Employee Entitlements) Bill 2018
Employee awarded damages for redundancy that did not meet all procedure requirements under Fair Work Act
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) awarded $7690 in damages to a former ACY Capital Pty Ltd (ACY) employee following dismissal for redundancy. The employee commenced employment at ACY Capital in September 2017. During the period of September 2018, ACY acquired Synergy Financial Markets Pty Ltd (Synergy) and subsequently, Ms. Hu’s position was made ‘redundant’.FWO Commissioner Ian Cambridge held “the dismissal was not a case of genuine redundancy” due to failures by the employer to comply with applicable consultation obligations and improper consideration of reasonable redeployment opportunities. Under the Fair Work Act, even if a position is legitimately redundant, a related dismissal will not amount to a genuine redundancy for the purpose of unfair dismissal laws unless Award or enterprise agreement consultation obligations are met (which typically require particular communications with affected employees in witting), and where reasonable redeployment opportunities across associated entities are not properly considered.
Churui Hu v ACY Capital Pty Ltd  FWC 1635
FIFO industry mental health code unveiled
The Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in the resources and construction sectors code provides practical advice for maintaining positive mental health in FIFO workplaces. The code clearly defined the importance of risk management and encouragement of positive mental health outcomes for all workers, specifically in the FIFO industry. For more information, please click here.
Code of Practice: ‘Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in the resources and construction sectors’