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The Fair Work Commission awards a 3.3 per cent increase to the national minimum wage and minimum modern award wages - Jun 2017

On 6 June 2017, the Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel delivered its decision in the Annual Wage Review 2016-17 [2017] FWCFB 3500. The decision directly affects over 2.3 million Australians reliant on minimum rates of pay.

Shauna Roeger, Lawyer, summarises the key aspects of the decision. 

A call for licensing and registration in the labour hire industry - Jun 2017

The Victorian and Queensland governments have recently announced that they are committed to reforming the labour hire industry in their states. On 25 May 2017 the Queensland government introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (Qld), which seeks to establish a mandatory licensing scheme for labour hire companies operating in Queensland and create a number of offences relating to this scheme.

Irene Nikoloudakis, Law Clerk, discusses these announcements and the proposed legislative reforms.

Does Germany do it better? - Jun 2017

Visiting academic, Dr Christian Werthmueller, a lecturer at the University of Manheim in Germany, joined Piper Alderman’s employment relations team for a couple of months to learn about the Australian employment relations framework and undertake research into what overseas employers need to know when setting up business in Australia. During his time working with the Australian team, Dr Werthmueller noted a number of differences between German and Australian employment relations systems and summarises his key findings below. 

Changes to the Fair Work Act targeting the Franchise Sector - May 2017

The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 proposes a significant new direction by making Franchisors liable for the breaches of their corporate subsidiaries and Franchisees.

Jenny Needham, Senior Associate and Ben Motro, Senior Associate discuss the issues Franchisors need to consider. 

Hands off: Internal investigation documents and freedom of information - May 2017

The Freedom of Information Act 1985 (Vic) (Act) and its interstate and Commonwealth equivalents provide a means to access public sector documents in the name of open and transparent government.  However a recent decision affirms that the exclusions under the Act extend to protecting operational employees’ testimony taken as part of investigations and ensuring future potential witnesses will contribute to internal investigations. The impact of Country Fire Authority v McGregor (Review of Regulation) [2017] VCAT 582 will impact organisations subject to the freedom of information framework.  While “employee records” exemptions exclude many private sector employers, public sector and volunteer workforces are within scope.
Hannah Linossier, Associate and John Evans, Lawyer discuss the important implications of this decision.

Ezy as 123? More like section 550! - May 2017

A recent Federal Circuit Court decision in which Judge O'Sullivan held that an accounting business which provided payroll services to an employer, was accessorily liable for the employer's contraventions of the Fair Work Act.  The case demonstrates the pitfalls of being wilfully blind to the contraventions of another person. Ben Motro, Senior Associate reviews this decision.

Piper Alderman reports its 3rd annual Employment Relations survey findings - May 2017


National law firm Piper Alderman has announced the results of its 3rd annual Employment Matters Survey, ‘What’s keeping you awake at night?’  The survey invited over 2,500 HR Managers, General Managers, COOs, CEOs and legal teams across all industry groups nationally to reflect on their experiences in dealing with employment and safety related matters over the 2015/2016 financial year. The survey also asked for their expectations for the 2016/2017 financial year.

Dishonesty or merely an incorrect explanation? The decision in Qantas Airways Limited v David Dawson [2017] FWCFB 1712 - May 2017

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has overturned Deputy President Lawrence’s decision handed down last year in which a flight attendant who stole bottles of alcohol and then lied about it, was awarded the maximum compensation available.

Tim Capelin, Partner, and Amrita Howell, Associate discuss the decision and the key take home points for employers. 

Application for an order to stop bullying used to halt disciplinary action - May 2017

A recent order made by the FWC, in Lynette Bayly [2017] FWC 1886, preventing an employer from taking action in relation to an employee’s alleged misconduct until that employee’s application for an order to stop bullying had been determined. Penny Brooke, Senior Associate discusses this decision and considers the ramifications of this case for employers. 

Workplace Health and Safety Penalties – Potential to Increase - Apr 2017

The Queensland District Court has this week found that a fine of $90,000 imposed by the Queensland Magistrates Court in Williamson v VH & MG Imports Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 56 was “clearly manifestly inadequate” when compared with fines imposed in other harmonised jurisdictions under the model Workplace Health and Safety laws. The ruling affirms the importance of national consistency in penalties, with the Queensland District Court accepting that its WHS Act permitted sentencing courts to consider comparable decisions from states and territories subject to the harmonised legislation. This decision sets a precedent which may see more lenient courts increasing penalties to the level set by courts nationally.

Tim Capelin, Partner and Emily Setter, Law Clerk discuss the important implications of this decision.

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