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Worried about workers' compensation claims? High Court confirms directions to employees must be reasonable. - Mar 2017

The High Court has clarified the administrative action exclusion under the Commonwealth’s workers’ compensation laws. In Comcare v Martin [2016] HCA 43, the Court unanimously held that the approach to whether an employer or insurer can utilise the exclusion and protect itself from a workers’ compensation claim is to be based on causation. Under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (Act), it is now clear that the sole question to ask is whether the employee’s injury or aggravation would have occurred had the reasonable administrative action not been undertaken. John Evans, Lawyer, discusses the key take-home points from this decision.

Independent Umpires, Merits-Based Applications and the Disutility of Sunday Work– A Guide to the Penalty Rates Decision - Mar 2017

On 23 February 2017, the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision on applications by employer organisations to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in six modern awards in the hospitality and retail industries.  Since then, there have been a lot of misconceptions floating around about the decision.  In this article, Emily Haar, Associate, and Professor Andrew Stewart, Consultant, explain its scope and impact.

An update on the proposed changes to paid parental leave - Mar 2017

On 8 February 2017, the Government introduced legislation into the Federal Parliament which proposes changes to the national paid parental leave scheme. This is the Government’s third attempt in recent years to implement changes to the government paid parental leave scheme and the changes proposed are broadly similar to previous iterations, with only a few notable changes. Partner, Erin McCarthy and Law Graduate, Shauna Roeger discuss the changes contained in the Bill.

Beware of errant signposting - Feb 2017

The Fair Work Commission Full Bench’s decision Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Sparta Mining Services Pty Ltd [2016] FWCFB 7057 (CFMEU v Sparta) has cast doubt over whether a reference to external documents (e.g. workplace policies)  within an enterprise agreement is merely a ‘signpost’ or actually incorporates those documents. Erin McCarthy, Partner, discusses the implications of CFMEU v Sparta for employers generally and consider how the decision may make the road to enterprise agreement approval even rockier.

Paid Parental Leave changes back on the parliamentary agenda - Feb 2017

On 20 October 2016 the Government introduced the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016 containing a revised proposal to remove “double dipping” from the federally funded scheme.  Erin McCarthy, Partner and co-author of Parental Leave: A User Friendly Guide discusses the major changes contained in the Bill.

Do we need an exemption to only advertise this job to women? VCAT says no - Feb 2017

As the pursuit for more substantive equality in society continues, many employers actively seek to employ people from groups that are disadvantaged in what is sometimes called “positive discrimination”.  A question that frequently arises is whether these proposals require a specific exemption for employers from anti-discrimination legislation, or whether such action is already covered by a legislative exception. The Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal has recently considered this issue in some detail in Re Waite Group (Human Rights) [2016] VCAT 1258.  Emily Haar, Associate, sets out the key take-home points from this decision.
 

South Australian Parliament passes the Surveillance Devices Act 2016 (SA) - Feb 2017

For many years, the regulation of surveillance devices in South Australia has been less comprehensive than in other Australian jurisdictions. Recently, the South Australian Parliament took action to bring South Australia in line with other States and Territories by passing the Surveillance Devices Act 2016 (SA) (the 2016 Act) and repealing the Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA) (the 1972 Act). Ahead of the likely commencement of the new legislation in or early 2017, Erin McCarthy, Partner and Shauna Roeger, Law Graduate examine the new Act and its impact on how employers can legally conduct workplace surveillance in South Australia.

Further developments in the implied term of reasonable notice of termination - Feb 2017

Late last year we wrote about the case of Kuczmarski v Ascot Administration P/L [2016] SADC 65 (Kuczmarski), in which the SA District Court held that a term of reasonable notice of termination is not implied into a contract governed by section 117 of Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Kuczmarski was appealed to the SA Supreme Court, but it is understood that the parties to that case have resolved their differences and that the appeal will not be proceeding. This means that Judge Clayton’s decision stands. Meanwhile, a recent decision of the Federal Circuit Court - McGowan v Direct Mail and Marketing Pty Ltd [2016] FCCA 2227 (McGowan) – has generated further uncertainty, with Judge McNab declining to follow the Kuczmarski reasoning. David Ey, Partner and Shauna Roeger, Law Graduate explain these decisions and the implications they have for employers.

The Fair Work Commission awards a 2.4 percent increase to minimum wages - Jul 2016

Is there still an implied term of reasonable notice on termination? - Jul 2016

It is generally accepted that where a contract of employment has no agreed duration and makes no provision for termination, the common law will imply a term that the contract may be terminated on the giving of ‘reasonable notice’.

Over the last two decades, this position has been supported by a number of higher court decisions. However, a recent decision of the South Australian District Court, Kuczmarski v Ascot Administration P/L [2016] SADC 65 (Kuczmarski), has thrown into doubt the correctness of this view. In this case, Judge Clayton held that the term of reasonable notice on termination was not implied into an employment contract where section 117 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) applies. Shauna Roeger, Law Clerk, and Professor Andrew Stewart, Legal Consultant, explain this case and its implications for employers.

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