The Coalition’s Bill to establish a dedicated Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) to monitor and regulate unions and employer organisations successfully passed through the Senate today, after previously being rejected twice by Parliament.
The Federal Government has succeeded in abolishing the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) after the Senate voted last night to approve the legislation that repeals the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012. The legislation passed the Senate without the support of Labor or the Greens – with all but one cross-bencher siding with the Federal Government.
Further to our Snippet on Monday, the Federal Court has now lifted the stay on the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (Order).
The Full Federal Court dismissed NatRoad’s application for a stay pending the hearing of its substantive application as to whether the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal made legal errors in rejecting industry calls to defer the commencement date of the Order. The substantive application is set down to be heard on 9 and 10 May 2016.
This month we bring you the latest newsletter from the Employment, Industrial Relations & OHS team, Employment Essentials.
Employment Essentials reports on topical issues in HR and brings you the latest updates in employment law. Plus much more.
If you would like further information, want to ask a question or subscribe to receive Employment Essentials via email, contact us at email@example.com.
If you would like further information, want to ask a question or subscribe to receive Employment Essentials via email, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Melbourne accounting firm is being prosecuted by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) for its alleged involvement in the underpayment of two Taiwanese backpackers working for one of its clients, who operated a fast-food outlet.
The accounting firm provided payroll services for its client.
According to the FWO, the workers were paid a flat rate of $16.50 an hour, which was below the minimum hourly rate payable to the workers under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010 (Award). The workers were also not paid a casual loading or penalty rates when they worked on weekends, evenings and on public holidays. In just a little over 6 months, this resulted in an alleged underpayment of $9,549.
Christmas Essentials will guide on what you need to know about public holiday trading, employing Christmas casual staff and avoiding the legal hangover from the office end-of-year party.
Important amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 have now come into effect, resulting in significant changes, particularly for employers.
Greenfields agreements - new process for negotiating
A new process for negotiating greenfields agreements has been established, whereby employers now have an obligation to bargain in good faith when involved in greenfields negotiations. This new process includes an optional six month negotiation timeframe. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement within six months, the employer may apply to the Fair Work Commission for a determination.
The Fair Work Commission (Commission) has upheld a company’s smoking ban following a challenge by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). Commissioner Tony Saunders held that the employer’s direction to ban smoking at its workplace, a complex which was comprised of two open cut mines and a coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), was lawful and reasonable.
The ban meant that employees who wanted to smoke were required to drive 2.8km to the complex’s front gate to smoke.
Failure to pay to an employee proper notice resulted in a HR Manager and the company she worked for being fined in the Federal Circuit Court in Adelaide.
The employee was paid some notice, but not the whole of the notice period required by the Fair Work Act. This underpayment resulted in the employee being underpaid $181.66 (two days’ notice) as a result.
The HR Manager conceded in the hearing that she knew of the requirements to pay proper notice, but the company claimed confusion had arisen as a result of the interaction of the provisions of the workers compensation legislation in South Australia regarding termination of employment and the Fair Work Act. The Federal Circuit Court did not accept this as a reasonable excuse, stating the company should have paid the notice as provided by the Act.
The Senate has passed a number of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009, however the Government has been unable to attract sufficient support from cross-benchers for several key proposed changes, which have now been omitted from the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014.
The passed amendments are significant and include:
- establishing a new process for negotiation of greenfields agreements by extending good faith bargaining to the negotiation of these agreements and providing an optional six month negotiation timeframe for the parties to reach agreement (following which an employer can apply to the Fair Work Commission (Commission) for approval of its agreement);
- providing new requirements to prevent employees from taking protected industrial action unless bargaining has commenced (either voluntarily or because a majority support determination has been made);
- imposing an obligation on employers to discuss with employees a refusal to grant an extension to unpaid parental leave.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has found that a confectionary company directly discriminated against a 63 year-old production worker when it dismissed him because of a disability, and has ordered the company to pay him $20,000 compensation for the shock caused by the dismissal.
The worker had been employed by the company for almost 30 years and had previously suffered chronic “tennis elbow” (which had arisen as a result of his employment but had fully resolved at the time of dismissal). Relying upon a medical report that warned the company the condition could flare up if he maintained his regular duties, the company terminated the employee’s employment effective immediately.
The Workplace Relations Management Plan (WRMP) requirements under the Building Code 2013 (Code) have been amended to include a requirement that principal contractors have a fitness for work policy to manage alcohol and other drugs in the workplace.
Amongst other things, the policy must include:
- detection methods;
- substances tested;
- a requirement for frequent and periodic random testing of the workforce; and
- an outline of how workers affected by drugs and alcohol will be counselled, assisted and disciplined.