HR News

Human Resources, Workplace and Industrial Relations News



23 May 2024



One in eight Australian workers quit during probation new research reveals
Improving productivity is a top priority for Australian businesses in 2024, but lack of employee engagement is the top barrier holding productivity back
Read more

First Impressions Matter: Almost 70% of Australian Workers Abandon Job Applications Due to Complicated Recruitment Processes
This alarming trend, where potential employees are disengaging from companies during, and sometimes before, their recruitment journey, poses a significant issue for employers operating in today’s extremely tight job market.
Read more

Employee vs Contractor: High Income Threshold Changes
This article provides a very useful summary of the changes in the legal framework relating to the use or employment of contractors, which become effective from August 26, 2024.
Read more

Accenture warned of ‘$40m back-pay risk’ for overtime
Former Accenture employee relations head Donna Young is suing the professional services firm over her dismissal earlier this year for allegedly shutting down a review into non-compliance relating to overtime, following claims of a $3 million liability. Ms Young denied shutting down the review and said she had been warning the firm about it's approach to overtime for four years.
Read more

Commission confirms inappropriate touching constituted sexual harassment warranting summary dismissal
In Tamaliunas v Alcoa of Australia Limited [2024] FWC 779, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) was required to consider the unfair dismissal application of an employee who was summarily dismissed from his employment for sexually harassing a female colleague.
Read more

Employers delay sinks bid for injunctive relief
When seeking to enforce a restraint, it is important that employers seek to enforce the restraint in a timely manner to prevent future or an ongoing breach. Any delay will be considered by the courts when assessing whether it is reasonable to enforce the restraint.
Read more

Benefits of contemporaneous notes in legal proceedings
Contemporaneous file notes can be used as documentary evidence to corroborate direct oral evidence of a fact. They can be extremely useful in a variety of different situations, including disciplinary, bullying or discrimination issues in the workplace, as they are generally regarded as a more accurate record of events than oral evidence given months or years after the events.
Read more

Senior Employees Personally Liable for Involvement in $3.89 Million Underpayment Penalty Case
In a recent penalty decision arising from a FWO prosecution, a prominent international restaurant chain has been fined more than $3.89 million for underpayment and breach of payroll obligations. The General Manager and HR Manager were also both ordered to pay significant penalties for their roles in the payroll scam.
Read more

Unraveling the unknown of wage underpayments
How do wage underpayments actually occur? They’re rarely deliberate. Let’s take an aspect of the Commonwealth Bank Group’s recent underpayment case as an example.
Read more

Unions and ‘Free-Riders’: avoid getting caught in the crossfire
For years now, union leaders have publicly decried the concept of ‘free-riders’. The pejorative term is used to describe employees who receive the benefits of an enterprise agreement, despite not being members of the union that bargained for it. This article discusses if and how unions will try to address their ongoing ‘free-rider’ concerns through enterprise agreements in light of the recent changes to the FW Act.
Read more


16th May 2024



Why it’s harder to sack bad workers
HR managers say they are finding it increasingly difficult to dismiss employees even when they have fair and valid reasons because of provisions protecting staff who exercise workplace rights.
Read more

Two-year post-employment restraint found to be unreasonable
A recent decision of the Magistrates Court of South Australia (the Court) provides an indication as to how difficult it can be to enforce a post-employment restraint if it goes beyond what is reasonably necessary.
Read more

Federal Court dismisses appeal against mobile phone right of entry refusal
The Federal Court of Australia (FCA) dismissed the employer’s appeal against a decision which found it had breached sections 501 and 502 of the FW Act by refusing entry to a union official and preventing him from exercising their right of entry because he sought to enter with a mobile phone.
Read more

Draft Model Delegates’ Rights Term
One of the most controversial changes coming out of the Closing Loopholes legislation is the newly enshrined rights and protections for workplace (union) delegates representing employees in the workplace under the Fair Work Act.
Read more

Canberra massage business fined nearly $1m for threatening and underpaying migrant workers
A Canberra massage business where workers were underpaid and told their families overseas would be killed if they complained has been fined nearly $1 million.
Read more

Hangover at Work: A Fireable Offence?
In a recent case before the Fair Work Commission, the employer sent an employee home for presenting as hungover on shift, subsequently dismissing him for a breach of their drug and alcohol policy which stated that an employee was not to be intoxicated on shift and should refrain, as an example of bad behaviour, from engaging in extended drinking the night before a shift.
Read more

Open Minds signs Enforceable Undertaking
Disability support charity Open Minds Australia Limited has back-paid staff about $4.2 million after breaching its own collective agreement and has signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Read more

Managing unconscious bias in the workplace
This APSC article highlights common types of unconscious bias and how to combat them.
Read more

Should you hire for equity or for excellence?
Should the focus of recruitment be on ensuring fairness and inclusion, or on securing the highest level of individual talent and achievement – and is there a way to hire for both?
Read more

Changes Coming to the Points Test System for Skilled Migrants
The federal government has signalled its intent to overhaul the points test system for skilled migrants, a decisive factor in determining who gains entry into Australia, amid a strategic move to scale down immigration figures.
Read more


9 May 2024



Unions torn on four-day work week agreement for thousands of Woolworths staff
Shop Distributive and Allied Employers Association NSW secretary, Bernie Smith, said delegates supported a four-day week proposal in the new Woolworths enterprise agreement. However, the Australian Workers Union and the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) have not yet signed off on the agreement, and their secretary Josh Cullinan said the proposed enterprise agreement won't help the vast majority of its part-time workers.
Read more

Increased protection for temporary migrant workers
The Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Act 2024 received royal assent on 20 February 2024 and commences from 1 July 2024. These changes are being introduced to try to curb temporary migrant worker exploitation and hold employers who conduct themselves this way accountable.
Read more

I spy: Can employers monitor their employee’s use of company property?
This article considers the case of Madzikanda v Australian Information Commissioner [2023] FCA 1445, which examines whether monitoring an employee’s use of company property breaches the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Act).
Read more

Risks considerations associated with businesses utilising third party AI products
Businesses are increasingly looking to use AI solutions to improve existing processes, create new business propositions and remain competitive, but in buying the technology they need to consider what internal and external controls they can exert over their use of those systems.
Read more

Three ways Aussie businesses can stay ahead of the changing IR laws
Whether you’re running a small business that’s running out of hands or a large enterprise struggling to have eyes over your whole operation, here are three ways to safeguard your company and always stay one step ahead of the game.
Read more

Managing Multiple Roles in Employment
This article briefly explains the requirements to safely employ the same person in two different roles.
Read more

Balancing the scale – the weight of expert medical opinion in workers compensation cases
The recent decision of Deputy President Snell in BGV v Waverly Council [2024] NSWPICPD 2 (11 January 2024) considered the weight to be given to medical evidence and confirmed the application of Paric v John Holland Constructions Pty Ltd [1985] HCA 58; 59 ALJR 844 (“Paric”).
Read more

Contracts or Onboarding: Determining Employment Commencement
In a recent unfair dismissal case, the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) faced the question of whether the applicant had ever commenced employment and, if so, when.
Read more

Will checking character references really help you find the best candidate for a job?
Finding the best person to fill a position can be tough, from drafting a job ad to producing a shortlist of top interview candidates. Nearly every employer does reference checks, but research suggests there are important limitations worth keeping in mind.
Read more

Unstable employment while you’re young can set you up for a wage gap later in life – even if you eventually land full-time work
Casual employment and underemployment often go hand in hand. But just how common are these experiences during Australians’ early careers, and what effect do they have on their future wage prospects?
Read more


2 May 2024



Super Retail Group Goes On The Offensive In A$50 Million Lawsuit Against CEO
Brisbane-based retail giant, Super Retail Group, has issued a scathing statement defending itself against a lawsuit alleging that its CEO and group managing director Anthony Heraghty had an undisclosed relationship with the company’s former chief human resources officer Jane Kelly.
Read more

Underpayment of Wages Fair Work: Australia Ombudsman scores huge penalty over $4 Million against Employer
This case demonstrates the potential trouble that some Employers may come across if wage reviews and wage audits are not undertaken to ensure correct payment of wages. It also shows all Employers and HR what the wage theft laws might look like and who may be prosecuted which includes Directors, managers, payroll, consultants and HR.
Read more

NSW worker’s compensation win after dog attack while working from home
The decision seems to points to the home being considered a workplace during working hours if a worker is permitted to work from home. This is an important consideration in the context of proving that an injury arose during the course of employment, as the location of an injury is one major factor in determining this.
Read more

FWC finds early notice of end to fixed term contract amounts to dismissal
Employers should avoid ‘jumping the gun’ when deciding on the non-renewal of fixed term contracts that could ‘sever’ the employment relationship.
Read more

Relevant contractor payroll tax provisions extended to financial services
In this recent case the NSW Supreme Court held that mortgage brokers were deemed employees under the relevant contractor provisions. The Court also classified a mortgage aggregator as an employer who was liable for payroll tax on commissions paid to mortgage brokers.
Read more

Australia’s core skills occupations list under review
Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) is currently reviewing the Core Skills Occupations List and inviting employers and industry groups to share their feedback on the draft lists. This is an important process for implementing the Migration Strategy released last year. Employers using the employer sponsored visa program are encouraged to consider making a submission before 31 May 2024.
Read more

Working every Sunday doesn’t mean you get an extra holiday – clarifying the definition of 'seven day shiftworker'
The Fair Work Commission recently found that dairy workers are not 'seven day shiftworkers' even though they work on weekends, if they do not work regular shifts rotating across all seven days. This decision is important, because in clarifying the ambiguous meaning of 'seven day shiftworker' it also clarifies who is entitled to an additional week of annual leave under the National Employment Standards (NES).
Read more

The EU AI Act regulates how employers can use AI systems to support the recruitment of new staff or internal decision-making
The AI Act will introduce new obligations for producers, deployers, importers and distributors of AI systems under a new risk-based system of regulation. The most stringent regulatory requirements will apply to AI systems that can be classed as ‘high-risk’ AI systems.
Read more

One in seven people admit to using tech to sexually harass colleagues at work, new data shows
More than 3,000 people across the country were surveyed, with men more than three times more likely to harass their colleagues using work email, social media and text. Perpetrators frequently admitted to doing this to humiliate and frighten their targets, rather than out of any desire to engage in a sexual relationship with them.
Read more

Woolworths fined $1.2 million for underpaying Victorian workers' long service leave
Woolworths admitted in a Melbourne court last week it had short-changed at least 1,227 Victorian employees up to $1.24 million due to an error in its payroll system, which went undetected for years. The underpayments ranged from a few hundred dollars up to $12,000, and occurred over multiple years.
Read more


25 April 2024



When does a dress code become 'unreasonable'? Here's what your boss can and can't ask
The newly legislated 'right to disconnect from work' has sparked much discussion around workers' rights in Australia. But when it comes to how you look at work, do you know what your employer can ask of you?
Read more

Can you dismiss an employee who fails to return to the office?
This article from a law firm looks at two different unfair dismissal claims at the FWC after employees were terminated after refusing to work from the office.
Read more

Full Federal Court rejects employers bid to quash decision which found employees were not genuinely redundant
In this decision, the Full Federal Court clarified the definition of 'genuine redundancy' and stated that employers must consider whether employees can be redeployed to positions which are not currently available but may soon become available.
Read more

Navigating Workplace Gender Equality and WGEA reporting
The WGEA was created as a vital entity in fostering and promoting gender equality within Australian workplaces. Overall, Australian employers have made progress, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
Read more

A quick look at the scope of the new criminal wage theft offence…
Whilst non-payment of superannuation was initially excluded from the new wage theft provisions, a last minute deal with the Greens secured amendments to extend the new offence to unpaid superannuation.
Read more

Fixed term employment contracts: ‘fixing’ the requirements
This article looks at a recent Fair Work Commission decision which considered whether an employee is ‘dismissed’ when their fixed term contract ends..
Read more

Obligations For Employers Under The Respect@Work Act: A Positive And Proactive Approach
This article looks at a landmark judgment in the Federal Court regarding sexual harassment in the workplace; provides a brief reminder of the changes to the sexual harassment laws, and key takeaways for employers.
Read more

Commissioner apologises after Border Force review finds widespread sexual harassment and discrimination among marine ranks
Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram has apologised to female staff within the ABF's marine unit, after a review found widespread sexual harassment and discrimination within it. A workplace review of the marine unit has found harassment and discrimination are so widespread, "immediate intervention" is needed to make it safe for the women working there.
Read more

Feel like what you do at work goes unrecognised? You’re not alone
In fact, 61 per cent of us don’t feel like we are being recognised for the work we do, and more than a third (34 per cent) of us believe their relationship with their manager is merely transactional.
Read more

Keeping up with Paid Parental Leave Changes
Paid Parental Leave has been a hot area for reform in recent years. With the recent passing of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Act 2024, it is an opportune time to ensure you are up to date in respect of prior amendments, aware of the new reforms, and prepared for future change.
Read more


18 April 2024



Work from home rights will fuel tension in the workplace, AHRI warns
The Australian Human Resources Institute made the unusual intervention in the Fair Work Commission’s review of awards to oppose the incorporation of a work-from-home right on grounds it would lead to splits in the workplace and more disputes.
Read more

Is this the end for non-compete and non-solicit provisions in employment agreements?
The Government has launched a public consultation process to determine whether additional regulation is required in relation to the ongoing use of non-compete and other restrictive covenants (including non-solicit, non-disclosure, no-poaching, and wage-fixing agreements).
Read more

Redundancy vs redeployment: avoiding unfair dismissals
Although employees may be dismissed in cases of "genuine redundancy", to avoid unfair dismissal claims employers should take care to consider other available options before making employees redundant. The Full Federal Court recently interpreted and clarified the definition of "genuine redundancy" ...
Read more

Australian solar energy sites face increased scrutiny over workers' health and safety
A recent media report addressing major safety concerns for workers on large scale solar farms in Australia has highlighted the need for the renewable energy industry to be proactive about its work health and safety (WHS) responsibilities.
Read more

WA teachers set to strike next week as union rejects latest pay and conditions offer
WA's teacher union rejects a second pay and conditions offer from the state government, stoking concerns of interruptions at schools as the union threatens to forge on with a potential strike on Tuesday next week.
Read more

The post-reform workplace: new trends, challenges and opportunities
Corrs’ Employment & Labour team has identified what it sees as the significant issues and trends employers would be well-advised to prepare for.
Read more

The changing tide: understanding human rights for business
This article discusses recent regulatory trends requiring businesses to manage and disclose their impacts on human rights and consider how evolving business and human rights regulation globally will impact on Australian businesses.
Read more

Responding to flexible work arrangements – getting the expanded rights ‘right’
Employees have always had rights to request flexible work arrangements under the Fair Work Act. However, changes to the flexible workplace arrangement regime came into effect in June 2023, which not only expanded employees’ rights to make such requests, but also opened the door to refusals being the subject of arbitration in the Fair Work Commission.
Read more

Early wayfinding in the intractable bargaining framework
New intractable bargaining framework provisions represent one of the most fundamental shifts to the industrial relations landscape in decades, as there is now a realistic alternative to impasse or agreement – with a readily accessible pathway for the Fair Work Commission to determine bargaining outcomes. The Commission’s approach to its new powers is important for all employers who engage in enterprise bargaining to be across.
Read more

Nurse awarded $1.6 million compensation after violent patient assault
The 2023 decision in Wilson v Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service sheds light on the employer's duty of care to its employees and the consequences of failing to meet that duty, particularly in high-pressure environments like healthcare.
Read more


11 April 2024



Mitigating and Managing Psychosocial Risks: Small Business Employer Obligations
Recent legal cases and legislative changes in Australia underscore the importance of managing psychosocial hazards. The High Court’s decision in Kozarov v State of Victoria [2022] HCA 12 highlighted an employer’s duty to manage mental health risks inherent to an employee’s job.
Read more

Bullying prosecution leads to conviction and fine for company and its director
WorkSafe Victoria was recently successful in its prosecution of a printing company and its director for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act) for the bullying of a subcontractor.
Read more

Australian small businesses facing insolvency may have redundancy pay obligations
A recent change to legislation, which took effect in December as part of the federal government’s ‘Closing Loopholes’ changes to the Fair Work Act, means small business employers – that is, employers of fewer than 15 employees – are required to pay redundancy pay in some situations where they are facing insolvency. Before this change took effect, Australian small business employers did not have any obligation to pay redundancy pay in any circumstances.
Read more

Rethinking BYO electronic devices under right to disconnect laws
In light of the new right to disconnect laws, this article looks at some of the pros and cons of employees using their own smartphone for work.
Read more

Companies are trying to convince staff to stop working from home, and the office perks are getting creative
Employers are stepping up their game to entice staff back into the office. But, not all perks are created equal, with some — like offering a longer holiday — proving more effective than others.
Read more

Service station chain OTR denied 1,500 staff $2.3m in entitlements, Fair Work Ombudsman says
Service station giant OTR has agreed to pay back - or credit - $2.3 million in annual leave entitlements to 1,500 current and former employees in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia after a Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) investigation.
Read more

Office gossip isn’t just idle chatter. It’s a valuable - but risky - way to build relationships
Gossip flows through the offices and lunchrooms of our workplaces, seemingly filling idle time. But perhaps, through these ubiquitous and intriguing conversations, we are influencing our workplace relationships more than we realise.
Read more


4th April 2024



From dance instructors to boilermakers: Labor says non-compete clauses are holding back wages
Assistant Minister for competition, Andrew Leigh takes aim at ‘agreements between competitors’ not to poach workers, saying regulating the practice could lead to bigger pay rises.
Read more

First successful SafeWork NSW prosecution for discriminatory conduct under the WHS Act
Employers will be familiar with Australia’s anti-discrimination laws. However, a lesser-known protection that often falls under the radar is in the anti-discrimination provisions of work health and safety legislation.
Read more

Overstepping boundaries: can you be dismissed for exceeding your duties?
A New South Wales employee recently challenged their termination after their employer alleged repeated disregard for company processes and designated roles.
Read more

Maximise the benefits of conducting forensic / investigative due diligence on employees
Hiring an employee who conceals background information critical to hiring decisions is a reoccurring issue that employers often discover only when it’s too late. In this podcast employment law specialists explore the forensic aspect of background checks.
Read more (podcast)

What is a digital nomad visa and which countries offer them? Here's a breakdown plus the barriers for entry
Once something that seemed unattainable, the digital nomad lifestyle has become more mainstream thanks to the remote work boom in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than 40 countries offer digital nomads remote work visas and they often last a year or longer.
Read more

How is Artificial Intelligence the way of the future for Lawyers?
With news that an increasing number of law firms are using artificial intelligence to assist with drafting advice, it begs the question of how artificial intelligence will change the legal industry.
Read more

6 Factors for Understanding “Reasonableness of Refusal” Under Australia’s Right to Disconnect Law
This article delves into what constitutes reasonableness of refusal and offers guidance for HR teams to implement this principle effectively.
Read more

Australia’s regulatory super-squad says it wants to be friend, not foe, to SMEs
From their different vantage points, the assembled regulators had a unified message: small businesses should reach out for advice, guidance, and support before they are required to take compliance action.
Read more

Business wants pay rises for Australia’s lowest paid workers limited to 2% – but what about executives?
As business groups increase calls for wage restraint for Australia’s lowest paid workers, their voices turn largely silent when asked about their own executive pay plans.
Read more


28 March 2024



The push against wage rises has begun again – it’s an argument for Australia’s poorest workers to become poorer
What did the RBA governor, Michele Bullock, say when she was asked a leading question about the impact of a 23% wage rise for aged care workers on inflation?
Read more

Government pushes for minimum wage increase to keep pace with inflation
The government says its tax cuts were designed to be in addition to a wage improvement, not a substitute, as they call for the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation to ensure real wages do not go backwards.
Read more

Enforcing restraints of trade: Three month delay dooms employer's case
A recent high profile decision has highlighted that time is of the essence for employers seeking to enforce restraint of trade provisions against former employees, with a three-month delay in commencing proceedings deemed sufficient to thwart an employer’s application for interlocutory relief.
Read more

Two in five Australian SMEs admit to payroll errors, as wage theft criminalisation looms
Almost 40% of small Australian businesses admit to making a payroll error in the past two years, data from workplace management platform Rippling shows, exposing the compliance challenges facing local businesses ahead of new wage theft criminalisation rules.
Read more

Injured workers - what medical evidence is needed to get a job back?
Part 8 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) allows workers who are dismissed as the result of a work-related injury to seek reinstatement (or reemployment) within two years. In the first instance, an application is made to the employer. If the employer declines, an application may then be made to the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales.
Read more

CFMEU penalised for breaching right of entry laws
The Federal Court has imposed a total of $44,500 in penalties against the CFMEU and one of its officials for unlawful conduct at a construction site in Adelaide.
Read more

Building and construction labour-hire company in court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a labour-hire company operating in the building and construction industry, as well as the company’s director and payroll manager.
Read more

The post-reform workplace: new trends, challenges and opportunities
The next 12 months are shaping up to be full of challenges and opportunities in many workplaces, following two significant rounds of workplace reforms in the last 14 months. Meanwhile, other trends impacting workplaces include growing economic headwinds, a stabilisation in hybrid work and technological developments including artificial intelligence (AI).
Read more

The regulatory connections involved in enacting the Right to Disconnect
There are those who have lauded the introduction of a statutory Right to Disconnect and opined that in general terms, it won’t be a significant issue and not much will change when the new workplace right comes into effect on 26 August 2024 (or 26 August 2025 for small business employers and their employees). But how true is that?
Read more

Non-compete clauses in employment contracts – is time up?
In Australia, momentum is gathering to follow the overseas regulators’ lead. Treasury’s Competition Taskforce’s review will consider non-compete and related clauses, with an intent to increase competition and productivity. A consultation paper is likely to be released in April.
Read more


21 March 2024



Coles pay offer labelled ‘insulting’ as staff say they can’t afford to shop at own workplace
Some Coles workers say an offer from the supermarket giant of in-store gift cards if they vote to accept a new enterprise agreement is “insulting”, and the agreement doesn’t give them a meaningful pay rise despite the company’s increased profits.
Read more

Employer found liable for workers compensation despite worker’s unreasonable perceptions
A recent decision of the New South Wales Personal Injury Commission (NSWPIC) serves as a reminder of the differing standards of proof when determining liability for claims of bullying and/or harassment under workers compensation laws and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Read more

FWO secures penalties against bar operator and external accounting firm for failure to keep records
In Fair Work Ombudsman v J.D. Chapel Nominees Pty Ltd (in liq) [2024] FedCFamC2G 85 the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) recently made orders requiring the Director and the General Manager of several hospitality venues to pay penalties for not keeping employee records.
Read more

India's former high commissioner to Australia must pay penalty to domestic worker who earned less than $10 a day for a year's work
The former Indian high commissioner to Australia has been ordered to pay a penalty of almost $100,000 to a former domestic worker, who he had paid less than $10 a day for more than a year's worth of work. The penalty comes on top of a previous order to repay the worker about $136,000, plus interest, for work she completed at the then-high commissioner's residence in Canberra.
Read more

Jobs surge sees unemployment rate tumble back to 3.7 per cent
A shock surge in employment last month has seen the unemployment rate tumble back to levels not seen since September last year. The unemployment rate has dropped back to 3.7 per cent with more than 116,000 extra Australians in employment last month, compared with January, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Read more

Rachel was sexually harassed in her workplace, but she was the one who had to leave her job
For three years, Rachel* was allegedly stalked and intimidated by a male colleague. She reported his actions to the company's management, but her perpetrator's life remained largely unchanged. He kept his job and maintained an untarnished reputation, whereas Rachel was encouraged by employment lawyers and union leaders to leave the organisation and seek work elsewhere.
Read more

Millions of Australians have a chronic illness. So why aren’t employers accommodating them?
Our research found 73% of people believed their chronic illness was at least partially caused or worsened by their job. Almost one in five people believed work entirely caused or worsened their illness.
Read more

‘Just a mum’: pregnant women and working parents feel overlooked and undervalued in the workplace
Pregnant women and workers with children are often unfairly treated by their bosses and colleagues, despite laws to protect against workplace discrimination in Australia, according to a new study.
Read more

Companies vying for government contracts could soon have to meet gender targets. Will we finally see real progress?
Under proposed procurement policy changes announced earlier this month, large companies that wish to bid for government contracts will first have to meet some gender equality conditions. How exactly will these measures work across Australia’s huge private sector, and what kind of an impact could they have?
Read more

Why the RBA's 3.7% unemployment figure is misleading
The Treasurer says when an economy's operating at full employment, workers should be getting the hours they want, with fair pay. It shouldn't take long for people to find a job, or to switch jobs. Long-term unemployment should be minimal, and barriers to youth employment should be few. Clearly that is not the case.
Read more


14 March 2024



Negligent bosses in NSW to face 20 years in jail for industrial manslaughter
NSW Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis has said she will bring in new industrial manslaughter laws which will significantly increase penalties for negligent employers. The move comes after 263 workers died on worksites between 2017 and 2022. In 2023, 41 workers died doing their job in the first six months of the year.
Read more

Jobseekers asking more questions about gender pay gap after WGEA data
Recruiters say the publication of large employers’ gender pay gaps has already affected job candidates’ behaviour in the labour market, encouraging some to ask more questions about prospective employers’ pay gaps and others to consider quitting their jobs.
Read more

Australian women are chalking up some wins in the workplace – yet our male leaders remain out of touch
Do the men running most businesses even understand the contribution women make to the economy?
Read more

Fair Work Commission rejects argument that an unwritten employment agreement existed concurrently with a written director agreement
Earlier this year, the Fair Work Commission dismissed a general protections application on the basis the applicant was solely a director – and not an employee. Consequently, the applicant could not have been “dismissed” as that term is defined within the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and his general protections claim failed.
Read more

‘He said, she said’ in workplace investigations - Can you make a finding without evidence?
When it comes to workplace investigations, few things are as difficult to get right as a ‘he said, she said’ scenario. Picture this: two people present completely different stories about an allegation of sexual harassment, with no witnesses to corroborate either account. There's always more to the story, but uncovering the complete picture requires a nuanced approach.
Read more

Near $100,000 penalties for Toorak mortgage broking business and manager
The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $99,900 in penalties in court against a Melbourne mortgage broking business and its manager for failing to take steps required to backpay workers.
Read more

Childcare and transport 'deserts' are creating a $20,000 postcode gap for Western Sydney women
Women earn less than men in almost all areas, but in Sydney, women out west are losing out on an average of $20,000 a year compared to their inner-city counterparts, and it's all because of where they live.
Read more

Menopause costing thousands of women tens of thousands of dollars in lost super
Women who are unable to continue working due to menopause and are forced to retire five years early, could forego as much as $60,000 from their retirement nest egg.
Read more

Ever been on a lousy leadership course? Good leadership training needs these 5 ingredients
Many of us have done leadership training for work, come back to the office and thought: “That was a huge waste of time”. Or returned with the best of intentions but realised, six months on, we never actually used any of skills we learned on the course.<

So, what makes leadership development programs effective?
Read more

2024 could be the year the Fair Work umpire properly values women’s work – here’s how
With recent changes to the Fair Work Act, the Fair Work Commission has been given the tools to address the undervaluation of women’s work. If it uses these tools to their full potential, 2024 will be a landmark year in the genuine achievement of equal pay for equal work.
Read more


7th March 2024



Autistic people held back by job interview questions - report
Ambiguous interview questions and application forms are keeping autistic people out of work, a report has found.
Read more

Victoria to limit WorkCover compensation for stress after deal struck with opposition
Under the changes, workers suffering stress and burnout will no longer be able to access weekly WorkCover benefits. They will instead be eligible for 13 weeks of provisional payments to cover medical treatment, along with access to enhanced psychosocial support services.
Read more

Gender pay gap data to drive where super funds and governments spend their money
Recently released gender pay data will increasingly be used as governments and superannuation funds make decisions about where to invest and which suppliers they use. Firms with high pay gaps are on notice to improve or face tough questions.
Read more

How to sponsor overseas workers in Australia
Sponsoring employees from overseas to work in Australia can be a beneficial way to address skill shortages and bring unique expertise to the country. However, employers looking to sponsor overseas workers should be aware of several challenges that can arise during the process...
Read more

Tripwires of flexible working arrangements
Changing attitudes and legislation means we are likely to see more legal disputes in 2024 concerning working from home arrangements. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the potential tripwires which may arise...
Read more

Know the new workplace laws, FWO urges
Now that the ‘Closing Loopholes’ changes have now received Royal Assent after passing the Parliament in February, the Fair Work Ombudsman is encouraging workplace participants to get educated and compliant with the further changes to workplace laws, or risk facing the new significantly higher penalties.
Read more

Worker required to have a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine awarded workers compensation following adverse effects
After initially having his workers compensation claim declined, the South Australian Employment Tribunal has awarded a public servant with weekly payments of income support and medical expenses after suffering post-vaccine pericarditis following a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which was required under emergency management directions to enable him to work for his employer. The Tribunal was readily satisfied that the injury arose in the course of employment, and dismissed the argument of the State that they were shielded from liability due to the Emergency Management Act (SA).
Read more

Reckoning by records - injurious falsehood claims by disgruntled employees
This article discusses the importance of record-keeping and other governance practices for employers in the context of tortious claims against aggrieved former employees. In doing so, the authors reveal the importance of robust record-keeping and its capacity to allow employers to reckon with disgruntled employees early, before court proceedings are required.
Read more

Bullying at work – your workplace rights
This article explores what behaviour constitutes bullying under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and explains the formal complaint pathway to apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop bullying at work..
Read more

Super to be added to paid parental leave from next year
Labor will move to pay super on government-funded paid parental leave after the next election.
Read more


29 February 2024



Which big employers have the largest and smallest gender pay gaps? New data reveals all
The gender pay gap — the difference between what men and women are paid in the same organisation — is a stubborn problem. Now, explosive new data from a government agency lets 5 million workers know the gap at their employer.
Read more

The companies that take lots of money from women, but don't give so much back
How can brands that market to women, sell to women, exist on the goodwill and support of women, pay them so much less than men?
Read more

Managing unconscious bias in employment decisions
The Surpeme Court, the Court of Appeal of Victoria has confirmed that a court or tribunal can make a finding of unintentional discrimination or unconscious bias under the Equal Opportunity Act.
Read more

Burke hoses down fears that Canberra is seeking a blanket WFH right for award workers
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is not asking whether award workers should have the blanket right to work from home, and lawmakers are not currently seeking that right, claims Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke.
Read more

Hourly gender pay gap is highest for Managers
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) media statement.
Read more

Is the age of paid overtime dead?
Overtime is an increasingly vexed issue, with some workers pushed to the brink by unreasonable unpaid work. But how many additional hours are too many? When should employees be paid for extra work?
Read more

Evolution of Contractor Agreements – a return to a Multifactorial Approach
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 introduces significant amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009, including a pivotal section that redefines the criteria for distinguishing between employees and contractors based on the actual nature of their working relationship.
Read more

Options if you need a medical certificate for sick or carer's leave
Shae McCrystal, a Professor of Labour Law at the University of Sydney Law School, specialises in employees' rights and responsibilities and advises workers to make sure they are familiar with their enterprise agreements and industrial awards.
Read more

‘We’ve seen the culture change’: how one Australian work site increased its female workforce fivefold
Kimberly-Clark’s toilet paper mill was looking down the barrel of a 100% male workforce when they decided to shake up their strategy – and culture.
Read more

What does Queensland’s Covid-19 mandates ruling mean for other vaccines and other states?
The state’s supreme court found the vaccine rules for police were unlawful and those for paramedics were ineffective. Here’s what the judgment means
Read more


22 Feb 2024



Working from home is producing economic benefits that return-to-office rules would quash
In April last year, female unemployment fell to what is almost certainly an all-time low of 3.3%. WHY? WFH!
Read more

Australia records 4.2% annual wage growth, outstripping inflation for the first time in three years
Treasurer says highest annual growth since 2009 ‘encouraging’ but expresses concern over non-compete clauses for employees.
Read more

Employment growth slows but wages set to rise in 2024, say HR professionals
Employment intentions are at their lowest levels in at least a year, but businesses are not yet planning mass lay-offs and are expecting to pay workers more in a bid to retain the staff they do have.
Read more

How to appeal a Fair Work Commission decision
This article briefly explains the possible grounds for appealing a Fair Work Commission decision and the process for appealing the decision.
Read more

Update: Industrial manslaughter offences across Australia
This article provides an overview of the status of industrial manslaughter legislation in each of Australia’s States and Territories.
Read more

Fulfilling the positive duty to prevent sexual harassment: Guiding principles
This article unpacks the guiding principles from the Australian Human Rights Commission to assist employers in reviewing and implementing measures to fulfil their positive duty to prevent workplace sexual harassment.
Read more

Can my employer cancel approved annual leave?
Imagine you have booked annual leave, paid for flights for your holiday, and then received notice from your employer that they are cancelling your approved leave...
Read more

FWO secures record $10.34 million penalties against Commonwealth Bank and CommSec
The penalties were imposed after CBA and CommSec admitted multiple breaches of the Fair Work Act, including some ‘serious contraventions’ committed knowingly and systematically, which attract a tenfold increase in applicable maximum penalties.
Read more

Investigating the investigators: Unmasking the Flaws in Workplace Investigations
The Fair Work Commission has delivered a judgment about a workplace investigation which was conducted by a law firm, and relied upon by an employer to terminate. The Commission recorded various problems with what transpired which are important reminders for employers to consider.
Read more

Workplace Law Breaches a Recipe for Big Penalties to Republic of Italy
In a recent decision the Fair Work Commission ordered the Republic of Italy to pay a penalty of $94,000, compensation of $6493, interest of $1074, and legal costs to an employed administration assistant for breaches of workplace law. The case is a reminder of the importance of complying with workplace laws and responding quickly and effectively to concerns about non-compliance.
Read more


15th Feb 2024



Does the right to disconnect fit the bill?
It’s official. Australian employees have been granted a legal right to disconnect. The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes No. 2) Bill 2023 (the Bill) has successfully passed through both houses of Parliament. This new legal right to disconnect is a divisive change, with businesses expressing concerns it is unnecessary and is likely to lead to increased disputes between employers and employees.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the new right to disconnect, assesses its implications on the broader workforce, and proposes measures for employers to adequately prepare for the legislation's enactment.
Read more

FWO: $137,435 in penalties against former director, manager, and accounting firm
The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $137,435 in penalties in court against a former director and a general manager of Melbourne-based La La Bar Group companies and the companies’ former accounting firm, for deliberately breaching workplace laws.
Read more

(Updated) Contracts: Casuals and Contractors
This article details significant changes to employment of casuals and contractors contained in the latest tranche of landmark IR reforms in the form of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill No 2 2024.
Read more

QIRC finds injured worker unable to meet genuine occupational requirements
The QIRC has dismissed a discrimination complaint, applying section 108 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) , and finding that the worker was unable to meet the genuine occupational requirements of their role because of their injury.
Read more

Right to disconnect - an unnecessary bad law (a practical perspective)
This article looks at the new provisions providing a “right to disconnect” and explores what it means for business in a practical sense.
Read more

NSW case highlights need to manage mental health risks on construction sites
A recent case, FWO v CFMMEU and ors (No 2) (2023), which saw the Australian federal court consider the psychosocial risks of bullying on a construction site in Queensland, highlights the emerging importance of managing psychosocial risks effectively. It also demonstrates that unions won’t hesitate to bring legal proceedings on behalf of their members if they perceive any psychosocial risks in the workplace.
Read more

Heard AI is coming for your job? For these copywriters, that 'future' arrived months ago
In 2023, with artificial intelligence (AI) hype at fever pitch, white-collar workers were told that maybe one day soon, their roles would be automated. A year later many workers are wondering what all the fuss was about, but for some professions the impact has already happened.
Read more

Pay and Unions Update - (Same Job, Same Pay)
A detailed look at the newly introduced ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ Regime and how it affects labour hire .
Read more

Breaking the ‘permanent casual’ oxymoron: will Labor’s new laws make a real difference for workers?
Experts say pathway to sick and holiday pay a ‘huge win’ for Australia’s 2.5 million casual workers but industry groups are not convinced.
Read more

“Extremely problematic”: Back to office push harming those with caring responsibilities
Linking office attendance to salary reviews, bonuses and promotions severely disadvantages anyone with caring responsibilities and an inability to get to work easily — ie women and remote workers — and must be carefully examined, experts say.
Read more


8th Feb 2024



From the 'great resignation' to the four-day week, will work culture change in 2024?
In 2023, many Australians felt a shift in workplace culture. Some offices moved to a four-day work week, while others had employees quitting in droves. What will the 2024 hold?
Read more

Sign attitude to work is changing as huge amount of Aussies plan big 2024 move
There’s a sign that Aussies’ attitude to work is changing in a major way, with a huge amount of professionals planning on making a big move in 2024.
Read more

Employee receives $26,000 in compensation for ‘unfair dismissal’ over working from home
Tomaso Moro, a sales rep who worked for e-commerce support firm Insider AU, brought the case to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) following the termination of his employment at the company last year.
Read more

When does an employee’s social media comment cross the line?
The public attention around Antoinette Lattouf's dispute with the ABC has brought into sharp focus the right of an employer to take action if an employee posts social media comments contrary to the policies, directions or interest of the employer. But what are the rules? When will there be valid grounds for an employer to dismiss an employee for such conduct, including other behaviours that take place outside of the usual work hours?
Read more

Understanding employment contracts: The importance of an effective set-off clause
A well-drafted employment contract will set out the terms and conditions of employment in a concise way with clearly defined protections for the employer. However, issues can arise where an employer adopts a ‘set and forget’ strategy where one employment contract template is used for all employees regardless of their employment status or position, both of which could impact how their employment contract should be drafted e.g., an employee’s modern award coverage.
Read more

Feeling tired after returning to work? Here are some possible reasons why
Working long hours can be stressful. While a break can help, what happens when the holiday is over, you've returned to work, and that sense of tiredness still lingers?
Read more

Explainer - Closing loopholes bill: the right to disconnect and five other changes coming to Australian workplaces
Labor’s closing loopholes bill is set to pass the Senate on today (8th Feb), with a Greens amendment creating a new right for employees to disconnect from work emails and calls. This article summarise how the bill will change Australian workplaces, and what it means for workers and employers.
Read more

HR bosses reveal this year’s biggest people problems
Being the head of human resources must be one of the hardest and most thankless jobs in the corporate world. And it’s only getting harder. Once it was all about hiring and firing. But in today’s world, you also have to worry about the company’s purpose and culture, a skills shortage, the mental health of your workers, and whether they are coming to the office at all. It means that HR has a bigger say at the executive table on the direction of the business than ever before.
Read more

Gig workers to benefit from minimum standards as government secures support for industrial relations reforms
A quarter of a million Australians will soon have access to minimum standards at work for the first time after the federal government secured the final vote needed to pass its latest industrial relations reforms.
Read more

Stay on top of workplace rules in 2024
The Fair Work Ombudsman offers some tips to help you stay up to date with your workplace rights and obligations.
Read more


1st Feb 2024



Opinion: It’s high time economists and politicians take note of the rapidly feminising workforce
The impacts on female employment of the government’s revamped Stage 3 tax cuts continue to attract less debate than notionally more glamorous subjects such as the push for more “tax reform”.
Read more

Return-to-office mandates branded sexist for their impact on working mums
HR Director, Sarah Novelli has no doubt that without the freedom to do some of her work as a human resources director for 3000 people from home, she would not be in the job.
Read more

3 Simple Steps HR can take right now to better protect the business
There are so many issues to consider in the current environment and sometimes we can lose track of the small wins. If you are in HR and are currently dealing with an unfair dismissal claim, underpayment of wages issue, breach of contract dispute or workplace bullying claims understandably there is a lot to digest. There are also a few simple steps that can be taken now which can demonstrate a few small wins for the HR team.
Read more

Extended Work Rights for Working Holiday makers from 1 January 2024
In Dec 2023 the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs decided that from 1 January 2024, Working Holiday Makers (Subclass 417 and 462 Visa Holders) in some circumstances will have access to extended work rights for work with the same employer for more than six months.
Read more

Navigating the Landscape of Employer-Sponsored Visas in Australia
This article explores the key aspects of employer-sponsored visas in Australia and the opportunities they present for both employers and prospective employees.
Read more

WorkSafe NSW report submissions expose shocking stories of nurses and tradies dying at work and a regulator accused of inaction
When a workplace safety regulator is accused by workers, inspectors, unions and victims of being timid, ineffectual and suffering from systemic cultural and operational issues, it's time for a massive overhaul.
Read more

Is there a “standard of proof” that applies to workplace investigations?
The answer is “yes”. In Australia, the findings in a workplace investigation are made on the ‘balance of probabilities’, that is the civil standard of proof. A fact is proven, on the balance of probabilities, if its existence is more probable than not, or if it is established by a preponderance of probability.
Read more

Is linking time in the office to career success the best way to get us back to work?
Working from home introduced in response to the harsh pandemic lockdowns in 2020 was expected to be a short term arrangement with staff returning to the office as soon as restrictions were lifted. Yet, almost four years later, most office workers are still following hybrid arrangements - splitting their week between home and office, with no plans to return full-time to the workplace anytime soon.
Read more

Larry was paid $4.20 an hour in Australia. It’s not enough to live on – but it’s completely legal
People with intellectual disability are getting hourly wages that don’t even cover their bus trips to work. Advocates believe it’s time for a radical overhaul.
Read more

Hungry Panda delivery rider launches legal action against company claiming loss of work after protesting pay
Data seen by Guardian Australia shows Zhuoying Wang gets between 30 to 70 orders per shift but this dropped down to zero around the protest.
Read more


25 January 2024



Requests for Flexible Working Arrangements: What are Your Obligations as an Employer?
Under the Fair Work Act 2009, certain employees have a right to request flexible working arrangements. Below, we break down who can make a request – and what you need to do if you receive one.
Read more

ABC denies sacking Antoinette Lattouf and attempts to have termination case thrown out
The ABC has claimed it did not sack the journalist Antoinette Lattouf from her casual radio role, paving the way to attempt to have her termination case thrown out. It comes as pressure mounts on the broadcaster’s management, with union members passing a vote of no confidence in the managing director, David Anderson..
Read more

Confidentiality, Restraint and Non-Compete Clauses: The Marble Recruitment vs Fetch Recruitment Case Analysis
In a pivotal ruling that resonates across professional services and in particular the recruitment industry, the Western Australian Supreme Court shed light on the complexities of contractual compliance in the case of Marble Group Services Pty Ltd v Blenkinsop [2023] WASC 464 (6 December 2023) – Marble Recruitment versus Fetch Recruitment.

This case, focussed on accusations of a breached non-compete agreement by a former employee, and has emerged as a crucial benchmark for understanding the legalities surrounding key employment contract clauses.
Read more

Australian Public Service Commission's Statement of Common Conditions represents breakthrough for enterprise bargaining
In late 2023 the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) finalised the Australian Public Service (APS) Statement of Common Conditions (the Statement). This represents a breakthrough for enterprise bargaining within the APS as it now creates greater commonality for APS employees and increased equity in their pay and employment conditions.
Read more

FWO urges compliance with Closing Loopholes law changes
Employers and employees should educate themselves on the new Closing Loopholes workplace laws and make sure they are compliant, the Fair Work Ombudsman said. “There can be significant penalties where the laws are not followed – including jail time for the new criminal offence – but we want employers to get it right in the first place and are here to help with free information and advice to ensure they do.”
Read more

Salary Record Keeping: The sleeping landmine hiding in the new Federal wage-theft laws
The Fair Work Act 2009 and Fair Work Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) have long imposed very specific record keeping obligations that are largely unknown or misunderstood by employers.

The most forgotten of these obligations pertains to Regulation 3.34, which requires employers to keep a record of each ‘overtime hour’ worked by an employee on each day that might attract a penalty or loading for overtime hours.
Read more

Is a full-time return to the office on the cards for workers in 2024 as employers gain 'more power'?
Would you quit your job if your boss told you that you must go back into the office? Or would you adhere to the new rule, especially if it meant a potential pay rise?

More workers may be asked that in the coming months, as some of the country's biggest employers are urging staff to return to the office at least partially.
Read more

ACU confirms $3.6m underpayment of casual staff, denies taking part in wage theft
The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has confirmed it underpaid approximately 1,100 casual staff around $3.6 million between 2016 and 2023. ACU is the latest in a long list of Australian tertiary education organisations which have been found to have underpaid their staff.
Read more

Australia could be stumbling into biggest waterfront dispute since the 1990s. Here's what it might mean for you ...
The current row between a Dubai-owned stevedore, DP World, and the Maritime Union of Australia could reignite inflation and cause the Reserve Bank to continue lifting interest rates, experts say. There are calls for federal minister Tony Burke to intervene.
Read more

Stage 3 tax cuts calculator: See how the changes will affect you
If you're a taxpayer, you will be paying less tax from July. The federal government has committed to shifting tax cuts that were legislated half a decade ago to provide more benefits to low- and middle-income workers.<

It breaks an election promise not to touch the stage 3 tax cuts, and it will mean the highest income earners will get half the benefit they were due to receive. But every worker will see a little bump to their pay slips from July 1.
Read more

Jobseekers say Australia’s employment system forcing them into jobs with ‘terrible hours, conditions and pay’
Jobseekers say their employment providers have put them in positions where they have been given just one shift a fortnight, had to clean up large amounts of human faeces, and have been cut off payments after a close family member died.
Read more



18 Jan 2024



Centrelink staff claim toilet breaks are being timed by management in crackdown
Centrelink call centre staff claim they are being monitored minute by minute, including the length of their bathroom breaks, as part of a management-led crackdown to improve average call wait times that have blown out to nearly double in the past year.
Read more

Victorian Labor at odds with federal party on industrial relations bill
The Victorian government and employer groups have raised the alarm about amendments to Labor’s industrial relations bill, warning they will embolden unions to refuse to bargain with industry.
Read more

Australian Workers Short Changed: Unsatisfactory working hours and unpaid overtime.
This is the latest report from the Centre for Future Work and the Australia Institute on their annual survey to investigate overwork, unpaid overtime, and other instances of time theft in Australia. It paints a damning picture of the Australian labour market.
Read more

South Australia passes industrial manslaughter laws
On 29 November 2023 the Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill passed the South Australian Parliament. If convicted of Industrial Manslaughter individuals face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, whilst an offence committed by a body corporate is a maximum of $18,000,000.
Read more

A sign that attitude to work is changing as huge amount of Aussies plan to change jobs in 2024
A survey of 1000 professionals in full or part time employment across Australia revealed the need for higher wages in a challenging economic time and a better work-life balance were the biggest motivators for respondents looking to get a new job.
Read more

Workplace wellness programmes have little benefit: study
Employee mental health services have become a billion-dollar industry. New hires, once they have found the restrooms, are presented with a panoply of digital wellness solutions, mindfulness seminars, massage classes, resilience workshops, coaching sessions and sleep apps. But a British researcher who analysed survey responses from 46,336 workers at companies that offered such programmes found that people who participated in them were no better off than colleagues who did not.
Read more

What’s it worth to work from home? For some, it’s as much as one-third of their wage
A significant proportion of Australian workers – about one-fifth – would be prepared to sacrifice between 16% and 33% of their salaries for the right to work from home, which works out at A$12,000 to $24,000 of those workers’ salaries.
Read more

6 questions you should be ready to answer to smash that job interview
If you have been invited to a job interview, congratulations, as it likely means you have been shortlisted for the role. However, for many people, interviews can be an unnerving process. Not only do they require candidates to think on their feet, but also to create a positive impression of themselves as a potential co-worker. With that in mind, it always pays to prepare by anticipating what will be discussed and practising your answers. Here are six types of questions you may be asked...
Read more

Employees lack sense of sustainability culture: Gartner
Less than one-fifth of employees believe their organisation has the necessary knowledge, mindset and behaviours required for a strong culture of sustainability, according to a recent Gartner survey.
Read more

Australians Will Find Out The Gender Pay Gap Of The Nation’s Biggest Companies
On February 27 2024, the gender pay gaps of every large Australian company will be made public. This means Australians will be able to find out the difference between how much the average male and female employee are paid at some of Australia’s biggest corporations.
Read more



11 Jan 2024



Reminder: Fixed Term Contract Information Statements
Just a quick reminder that there is now a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman which must be given to new fixed term employees when they start work. It was updated in Dec 2023. You can find it here https://www.fairwork.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-12/is-fixed-term-contract-information-statement.pdf

What is a 'personality hire'? And what does the trend say about modern workplaces?
Do employers really hire people for their personality? And what does the trend say about the skills we value in the workplace?
Read more

Employers should look at AI’s impact on workforce through ESG lens
The ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) agenda reflects the growing focus of policymakers, regulators, investors and other stakeholders on not just what businesses do but how they do it – including the impact they have on people and the environment they operate in.

The May 2023 future of jobs report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) identified frontier technologies, like AI, as potentially more transformational to businesses than the transition to a ‘green’ economy. There are, however, different views on the extent to which AI will impact the labour market.
Read more

The Gender Pay Gap - a UK perspective
In less than 7 weeks everyone will be able to look up the gender pay gap for all businesses in the Australian private sector with over 100 employees, as calculated by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). Time will tell if it is the 'game changer' that some people are predicting. In the meantime, you may be interested in a detailed article about the gender pay gap in UK universities, why closure of the gap is slowing, issues that cause the pay gap, and how some universities are tackling the issue.
Read more

Can My Employer Spy on Me at Work?
The proliferation of technology has contributed to a rise in unfair dismissal claims and complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman, some of which have resulted from unlawful surveillance. Employment lawyers are therefore encouraging employers to ensure they understand the rules that apply and the rights of employees before implementing ‘big brother’ measures.
Read more

Paid Parental Leave - employer obligations
Parental Leave Pay (PLP) continues to evolve and employers have an important role in administering and delivering paid parental leave pay. This article explains how PLP legislation is changing and what employers need to be doing to meet their obligations.
Read more

Failure to address subminimum wages for people with disability in national plan ‘disappointing’
A new national plan to improve conditions for people with disability working in supported employment acknowledges their human rights but fails to substantively address the issue of subminimum wages, with advocates labelling the omission “disappointing”.
Read more


4th Jan 2024



Workplace Wellbeing Resources (free)
Recently, the Global Wellness Institute’s Workplace Wellbeing Initiative organized a 24-hour online Summit covering the trends, insights, case studies and thought leaders shaping workplace wellness around the world. This is a list of links to the video recordings of each session.
Read more

Major Change to Federal Wage Theft Laws: Positive Obligation on Employers
There’s a major change in the new federal wage theft laws. The new laws will make it an offence to intentionally underpay someone. But how do you attribute intention to a company?
Read more

Workplace Romance and Dishonesty Lead to Justified Dismissal
When personal and professional lines blur with romantic relationships in the workplace, a conflict of interest can be career ending. This is the stark reality echoed in the Fair Work Commission’s latest ruling, where a director’s hidden affair leads to a justified dismissal.
Read more

New Rules for Employer Sponsored Migration & Visas
This article explains the latest developments in the employer sponsored space and shares insights into the government’s migration strategy.
Read more

Being filmed by customers while working is becoming an industrial issue
This article is primarily about airline crew being filmed by passengers without permission, but unions are voicing concerns and it applies to many other workplaces.
Read more

These Australians work remotely while travelling overseas. But are they really living the dream?
Not everyone is satisfied with an office or working from home — they'd prefer to be operating from white-sand beaches and tropical rainforests. These Australians share the advantages and disadvantages of being a digital nomad.
Read more

Switching off from work has never been harder, or more necessary. Here’s how to do it
Your choice of activity outside work can be crucial to this process of psychological detachment. To learn more about what strategies are most effective, my research surveyed nurses who were working shifts in hospital emergency departments in 2020, a highly stressful work environment.
Read more

Demystifying Workers Compensation: Myth, Misconceptions, Fears, and Facts
This blog aims to debunk the workers compensation myth and misconceptions, address concerns, and provide accurate information, simplifying your understanding of this essential protection mechanism and enabling confident navigation through the system.
Read more

Deceptive Legal Tactics in Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation claims are meant to provide support and protection for employees who suffer workplace injuries. However, what happens when employers, their insurers, or their legal representatives employ deceptive tactics to hinder the process? The case of Francis v MSF Sugar Limited sheds light on the concerning issue of deception by defendants and the role of insurance companies and their lawyers in such cases.
Read more

Older workers still struggle with work-life balance – and there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy
As the number of older employees in the economy grows, it’s important to understand what will help keep them satisfied in their work as they move towards and beyond retirement age.
Read more



21 December 2023



When will retrospective backpay be payable to former employees under enterprise agreements?
Several important lessons arise from the recent decision in Murtagh v Corporation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba [2023] FCAFC 172 in which a Catholic school employer in Queensland, Australia was held liable to back-pay to two teachers whose employment ended prior to the approval of an enterprise agreement.
Read more

Court allows employer access to employee’s personal accounts on work laptop
In the case of Madzikanda v Australian Information Commissioner [2023] FCA 1445, the Federal Court addressed the the employer’s rights to lawfully access employees’ personal accounts through their work devices.
Read more

Workplace Bullying Checklist – 10 Questions Every HR and People and Culture Team Needs to Know the Answer to
A useful summary of what constitutes workplace bullying and how policies and training can help employers to meet their obligations.
Read more

Staying safe this summer: Steps to avoid workplace risks
Summer is here and the heat has already shown itself across the nation. The hotter months bring with them work health and safety risks that you need to manage, such as bushfires, extreme heat and solar UV radiation (UVR).
Read more

Industrial Relations Bill sees return of NSW Industrial Court
The Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2023 passed in the final sitting week of NSW Parliament, resulting in significant amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW).
Read more

Is downloading confidential work documents on personal devices grounds for dismissal?
With the rise of remote working arrangements, the ability to keep confidential or sensitive company files secure is a new challenge for employers and their workers to navigate.
Read more

What is disability discrimination in the workplace?
A concise description of what constitutes disability discrimination in the workplace.
Read more

CFMEU penalised for unlawful conduct
The Federal Court has imposed a total of $171,000 in penalties against the Construction, Forestry and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU) and two of its officials for unlawful conduct at a construction site in South-East Queensland.
Read more

Western Australian blanket public sector wage policy dismantled, individual union negotiations reinstated
Premier Roger Cook said moving away from all public sector workers being offered the same pay rise would deliver greater flexibility in the bargaining process, to ensure unions can have industrial issues affecting their members better addressed.
Read more


14 Dec 2023



Deed of release protects an employer from million dollar litigation
This article looks at deeds of releases with reference to a recent Federal Court Case in which a former employee had his litigation thrown out of court after it was found that the deed of release he had signed acted as a bar from bringing any proceedings.
Read more

NSW paramedics secure 25% pay rise after bitter dispute with government
The bitter dispute has plagued the Minns government for more than eight months as paramedics pointed to higher salaries offered to their colleagues in the ACT, Queensland and Victoria.
Read more

Farmers 'get creative' with bonus incentives to keep key workers
The worker shortage across Australia is one of the big challenges facing farmers as they strive to become a $100 billion industry by 2030. Some farmers are looking to adopt bonus payments to attract and retain key workers and to drive innovation in their business.
Read more

Inappropriate Behaviour and the Workplace – It’s all about Connection
It’s now well accepted that the boundaries of the “workplace” are wide but, in practice, blurry. Sometimes the precise location of the boundary is not overly important. Other times, it is.
Read more

Bullying and Unreasonable Behaviour – Both Sides to Blame
A recent case before the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) provides a case study on how bullying and unreasonable behaviour is not limited to employers in the context of an anti-bullying claim. The assessment of whether bullying and unreasonable behaviour has occurred requires an assessment of the specific circumstances of each case.
Read more

Bullying Results in Damages for Future Economic Loss
In a significant general protections decision, the Federal Court has ordered a software company to pay more than $5.2 million in future economic loss, compensation, general damages and penalties to a senior employee who was fired after he made bullying complaints.
Read more

Vicarious liability and applying legal professional privilege to council’s workplace investigations
While the repercussions of the alleged sexual assault of a Federal Government employee continue to make its way through the civil courts, the legislation that the Ministerial staffer’s experience inspired is now in force across Australia.
Read more

Weeding out workplace hazards: Is medicinal cannabis safe in your workplace?
The increase in doctors prescribing medicinal cannabis to treat a variety of medical conditions is a budding issue for workplaces. The central question is, can an employee use medicinal cannabis and still safely perform their role?
Read more

Record high damages awarded for sexual harassment
Australia’s sexual harassment framework has been subject to significant law reform as part of the implementation of the Respect@Work report recommendations. Now, a new benchmark for general damages awards has been set in a recent Federal Court of Australia judgment in Taylor v August and Pemberton Pty Ltd [2023] FCA 1313. Boards and employers should be aware of this benchmark when considering their approach to the new positive duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Read more

Positive duty for employers: AHRC powers commence
Commencing on 12th Dec 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has introduced major reforms in workplace regulations, marking a new phase of responsibility and cultural shift for businesses and organizations throughout the country. From this point forward, the Commission possesses enhanced regulatory authority to ensure that workplaces, organizations, and businesses in Australia adhere to their obligations of proactive duty.
Read more


7th Dec 2023



Tax considerations for mobile and remote workforces
Companies are increasingly working across borders as business travel returns and the demand for remote work arrangements increases. Are you aware how these arrangements can impact upon your tax obligations?
Read more

Reasonable and necessary to protect health and safety – WHS exemption applied to discrimination on the basis of presumed mental illness
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found a business had acted reasonably to protect health and safety by requiring an employee, presumed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to produce a medical certificate following a workplace altercation.
Read more

Closing Loopholes just keeps getting better and better
This week, the Australian Government tabled proposed amendments aimed at a tidy up. But key amendments fail to resolve the issues they purport to address. And others introduce new significant measures not contemplated by the initial Bill. We explain below.
Read more

More American schools are switching to four-day weeks. Could Australia follow their lead?
Four-day weeks are becoming more popular in Missouri, and across the United States, as schools grapple with widespread teacher shortages. Teacher shortages have become a major issue in many Australian schools, with the federal government describing the situation as "unprecedented" and many arguing the situation has reached a crisis point.
Read more

Leave loading means you could get paid extra for taking time off. Here's how it works — and who should get it
A summary of the rules around leave loading, how it's calculated, when it is paid and to who may be entitled to it.
Read more

How HR professionals manage the largest APS agency
While many HR departments are structured the same across agencies, managing a workforce of 30 is vastly different to managing over 30,000. We interviewed Sally Martin, acting General Manager of Workplace Relations at Services Australia about the unique challenges, development opportunities, and retention issues the size of their workforce provides them.
Read more

School cleaners in Victoria face jobless new year after contract shake-up
Hundreds of staff could be out of work when the state’s contract with ISS comes to an end, prompting calls for reform.
Read more

Almost two-thirds of ASX300 board directors not ready for new sexual harassment laws
The Australian Human Rights Commission will from Tuesday crack down on companies that do not take proactive steps to prevent workplace harassment and sex-based discrimination, known as positive duty, which was a key recommendation of the landmark Respect@Work report led by former sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins.
Read more

Back to work like it’s 2018, and the pandemic never happened
Organisations have reverted to type. The pendulum has swung right back to where it was before the pandemic when people were often described as “significant costs” in organisations. The sudden switch has left many employees reeling while leaders are equally bamboozled.
Read more

The Deceptive Realities of Unpaid Internships and Work Experiences: A Closer Look at Legal Implications and Ethical Concerns
We all at some point have been stuck in the work experience paradigm; that is, where a person is not able to apply for positions due to lack of experience but cannot obtain such experience for the same reasons. Hence in today’s competitive job market, Internships have always been key to getting a foot in the door. These arrangements, where the employer incurs low expense and risk in exchange for training have raised significant legal and ethical debates. While some argue that such experiences provide invaluable learning opportunities, others contend that they exploit vulnerable jobseekers by sidestepping fair compensation practices and labour laws.
Read more


30th Nov 2023



Why should you have written employment contracts in place? Two Words – Reasonable Notice!
In the absence of a formal written employment contracts, especially for long-serving, senior employees, and well-paid employees, there’s a possibility they might claim ‘reasonable notice’ upon termination. Reasonable notice can range from 6 to 12 months termination pay, and in some cases, up to 24 months pay.
Read more

Remote work environment risks and considerations
The relocation of the workplace to a person’s private premises exposes employers to outside factors, such as an employee’s personal circumstances, which may give rise of risks that hinder the employer’s obligation to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
Read more

Superannuation obligations for independent contractors
A recent decision of the Federal Court of Australia – Full Court has provided some clarity to employers in relation to when the obligation to pay superannuation will or will not arise.
Read more

Greens and Government proposal will likely make bargaining arbitrations one-sided
A Greens proposal to amend the Closing the Loopholes Bill proposes to change how arbitration will work. The effect of their proposed amendments will likely make arbitration one sided and heavily restrict the Commission’s ability to arbitrate the merit of any bargaining dispute.
Read more

New Bill set to protect Applicants in unlawful discrimination proceedings
The cost of defending discrimination proceedings in court, including sexual harassment claims, is about to become a whole lot riskier and potentially expensive for business, with the Federal Government this week introducing the last of its Respect@Work reforms.
Read more

Employer required to pay penalties of $163k for underpayment of employee entitlements
The Court held that by failing to pay the annual leave entitlements, the employer and its director contravened four distinct provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) regarding the payment of annual leave, annual leave loading and superannuation and its employer record keeping obligations.
Read more

Changing employment conditions requires consultation
The constantly changing legal framework for employers often results in employers changing employment conditions, but it is crucial that consultation requirements are carefully followed.
Read more

What is a “major change” triggering an obligation to consult?
This article explains when the obligation to consult over major workplace change arises, and what "consult" means.
Read more

‘De facto wages cap by stealth’: NSW Greens seek to change Labor’s workplace bill
New law would restore sweeping powers to the Industrial Relations Commission, including giving it the ability to act like a court.
Read more

The legal odyssey of a borderless workforce
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the newfound flexibility and mobility of employees, coupled with the rapid advancements in technology, have opened doors to remote working. However employers may well find that Australian labour laws still apply to the digital nomads on their payroll. Further, these arrangements can impact upon the employers’ tax obligations .
Read more


23 Nov 2023



Queensland University of Technology defends removing 'merit' from hiring policy
Vice-chancellor Margaret Sheil told ABC Radio Brisbane the suitability assessment would consider factors such as gender and ethnic backgrounds.
Read more

Rising Tide of Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces: A Call to Action for Employers
This article published on November 22, 2023, discusses significant developments in the legal landscape of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, highlighting landmark court decisions and legislative changes.
Read more

AI in Australia must be human-rights-centred says Commission
The Q&A article with a Sydney lawyer looks at the ways in which employees might be using AI in their work and how that may be managed by line Managers and HR.
Read more

CEOs say remote work is a disaster for productivity. Goldman’s chief economist says that can’t explain the last 15 years
A recent Goldman Sachs report, written by a team led by chief economist Jan Hatzius, points out that productivity growth has either stalled or dropped over the past five years. It’s not because of remote work, or rapid executive turnover, or any other modern plight. “Trend productivity growth simply tends to fall over time,”
Read more

Union criticises BHP for poor communication, transparency, over employee compensation
Six months after BHP admitted to underpaying workers and incorrectly deducting leave, the union has called on the mining giant to directly engage with employees and offer a realistic repayment timeline.
Read more

Retailers and workers fear abuse by customers will rise during the stressful Christmas trade period.
A union survey found 76 per cent of members had experienced regular verbal abuse over the past year and 12.5 per cent had suffered physical violence. Business owners, retail groups and workers are setting up a new industry council to help stamp out retail abuse.
Read more

The global impact of AI on equality, diversity and inclusion in employment law
The legal sector, and employment law in particular, has not been immune from being altered by the introduction of AI. The technology has had significant impacts, both positive and negative, on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) efforts.
Read more

Are you affected by the zombie agreement 7 Dec deadline?
The FWC has released an interactive checklist to assist employers to check whether they or their employees are covered by a zombie agreement which continues to operate.
Read more

Watch your step! Neither employer nor principal contractor liable for worker’s failure to watch where they were going
In the recent District Court decision of Morris v Evolution Traffic Control Pty Ltd [2023] QDC 195, an employer and principal contractor were both found not liable for a trip and fall on a raised section of bitumen at a traffic site. This case serves as an important reminder that the duty owed by employers and principal contractors is only to act reasonably in all the circumstances, and that employees themselves must remain alert and vigilant to all hazards while on a worksite.
Read more

Workers of Australia, let us celebrate the strongest wages growth in over a decade
Economists sometimes like to think we can never have good things, and the news – even if good – is never as good as you think. So let us celebrate the strongest annual wage growth since 2009. Strong wages are a good thing – especially when driven as they were in the September quarter by raises for the lowest paid.
Read more


16th Nov 2023



Victorian premier suggests businesses could pay more if Coalition votes down WorkCover reforms
The Victorian premier has threatened to increase premiums paid by businesses to fund the state’s workers’ compensation scheme. This comes after the Coalition party room, along with the Greens and other crossbenchers, opposed the current form of the WorkCover bill.
Read more

Senate passes split to the Labor government's workplace relations bill after crossbench push
The Senate on Thursday passed a proposal to split the Labor Party's 'Closing the Loopholes Bill', and make four changes to the Fair Work Legislation Amendment, with a start date of January 1. They include better support for first responders with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), by requiring insurers to presume PTSD was caused by the job. There are protections for workers experiencing domestic violence, so their employers cannot discriminate against them. The remit of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency will be extended to cover silica and silicosis in an attempt to better protect workers who use the materials. The fourth change will ensure employees will not miss out on their redundancy payments, regardless of the size of the business.
Read more

Left to its own devices: Human oversight remains necessary with use of human resources technology
Senior manager or HR professional sitting at a desk holding a document. She is speaking and gesticulating to a man seated in front of her. As HR departments increasingly employ automation to streamline day-to-day tasks, some employers are turning to precedent software to draft letters to employees ? including in relation to the termination of their employment.
Read more

Social media policy not enough to prevent posts about industrial action
Employers need to be mindful that employees have a wide range of industrial actions open to them when negotiating an enterprise agreement. In addition, the fact that a workplace policy prohibits specific actions such as posting on social media may not be enough to prevent industrial action.
Read more

Make them an offer they can’t refuse: retaining staff with a great employee value proposition
Some sobering stats on employee turnover, why you need and EVP and how to go about creating one.
Read more

Dismissal upheld for paramedic’s negative social media after COVID-19 protest
The dismissal of a paramedic for her use of social media after attending an anti-lockdown protest when required to self-isolate was recently upheld by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
Read more

Australian workplace protections may extend to overseas employees
Australian employers who use email to employ foreign nationals working overseas could inadvertently cause Australian employment laws to apply to them, according to a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
Read more

'Childcare desert' adding to dwindling female workforce concerns in regional areas
Mikaela Reading loves her job, but she is one of many regional mothers scared her career is being jeopardised by what she calls a "childcare desert" in north-west Victoria.
Read more

Wokrplace Investigations: Just as important as right and wrong is proof
When an employee brings an inappropriate behaviour allegation against a workmate, sometimes it seems everybody suffers.
Read more

Can employers advertise a job as work from home and then change their mind?
Employers who misrepresent a role as being remote not only damage their credibility but also open themselves up to legal issues under the Australian Consumer Law. Section 31 specifically prohibits a company from doing anything likely to mislead people about the availability, nature, terms or conditions of employment – such as promoting a role as remote or hybrid with no intention of allowing the employee to work from home.
Read more


9 Nov 2023



ANZ-Indeed Job Ads: momentum fades
ANZ Economist, Madeline Dunk said: “ANZ-Indeed Australian Job Ads has declined 3.5% over the last two months, taking the series to its lowest level since January 2022. The number of Job Ads, however, is still elevated compared to historical levels. Slack is slowly creeping into the labour market. Hours worked have been falling, recent jobs growth has been driven by part-time employment, youth unemployment has been rising and the underemployment rate has been moving up. This, along with the modest unwinding in job ads numbers, suggests the unemployment rate will rise further.”
Read more

Coles subjecting employees to bag checks in crackdown on some of Australia’s lowest paid workers
Those who refuse to have their bags checked can be fired, according to the Coles policy which was updated last year but only recently routinely enforced, according to worker representatives.
Read more

Why am I being asked about my sexuality when applying for jobs?
Nobody should be ashamed of their gender or who they love. But if, when and how they publicly talk about these things should be entirely up to them. They shouldn’t be prompted or encouraged to do so by a corporation.
Read more

Public sector meat inspectors and vets strike over pay
Plant veterinarians and food safety meat assessors — from the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAF) respectively — will strike for the last hour of their shifts today.
Read more

Teacher strike to go ahead after SA education union rejects government's latest pay proposal
South Australian public school teachers will strike again this Thursday after rejecting a revised pay and conditions offer from the state government, which the union says is "meagre" and an expression of "contempt".
Read more

Milestone Stolen Wages decision just another marker on a long road still ahead
Western Australia's government has agreed to a historic $180.4 million settlement to address the decades-long injustice of wages stolen from thousands of Aboriginal workers between 1936 and 1972. So where and how were wages stolen, who stole them and what is being done about it now?
Read more

Junior doctors feel unsafe at work in Queensland's hospitals
More than 30 per cent of respondents felt their safety had been compromised at work due to verbal or physical intimidation or threats from patients or other staff.
Read more

Court body fined almost $380,000 for deadly work culture
Court Services Victoria has been convicted and fined $379,157 over a toxic workplace culture at the Coroners Court of Victoria that contributed to the suicide of one worker and numerous others taking stress leave.
Read more

HSF 2023 edition of the Future of Work Report
Employers and staff are edging towards a post-pandemic settlement but recession, regulation and tech-fuelled upheaval threaten the new equilibrium. Can business walk the tightrope?
Read more

Fair Work Commission appeal against ‘sleeping on the job’ decision
On 1 September 2023, BS (Applicant) succeeded in an appeal in the Fair Work Commission against a decision of Deputy President Boyce issued on 25 January 2023. BS had applied for an unfair dismissal remedy against his former employer, Active Crane Hire Pty Ltd (Respondent). The Respondent’s reason for dismissing the Applicant was unsatisfactory performance involving sleeping on duty.
Read more


2nd November 2023



$290,000 in fines for first sexual harassment conviction under VIC workplace safety laws
WorkSafe Victoria said the offending behaviour occurred as far back as 2014, and that while the businesses had policies related to sexual harassment and online bullying, they failed to provide sufficient information to employees hoping to make a complaint.
Read more

Employee Assistance Programs: what are they and do I need one?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your meet your legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.
Read more

Victorian government wants Labor’s wage theft bill to cover ‘reckless’ underpayments
The Victorian government has urged federal Labor to expand its proposed wage theft laws to include “reckless” underpayment and warned it not to override its state offence.
Read more

Qantas claims it ‘likely wouldn’t be here’ if it had paid subsidiaries’ staff same as direct employees
Qantas has warned it could have gone bust if hadn’t been able to offer new staff of its subsidiaries lower pay than the “legacy” conditions of the main airline.
Read more

Push for more workplace heat awareness ahead of El Niño summer
There are no government-enforced ?temperatures that force outdoor workers to down tools when it gets too hot experts believe there needs to be more regulation. Death from occupational heat stress ?is rare but 17 Australians died from heat-related causes between 2000 and 2015.
Read more

IRL career coach vs. ChatGPT: Who offers the better advice?
Young professionals are struggling to find mentors since they graduated into a remote workforce and have struggled to boost their soft skills. A majority (67%) of 18-to-21-year-olds can remember a time where they needed a mentor but didn’t have one, compared to 62% of Gen Xers and 55% of millennials, per a study from nonprofit MENTOR. The acceleration of generative AI is helping plug some of those gaps.
Read more

Tony Burke calls on states to act on recommended ban on engineered stone benchtops
The Australian workplace safety watchdog has recommended a national ban on engineered stone and a special licensing scheme for the handling of existing benchtops, finding no level of cancer-causing silica is “safe” for tradies.
Read more

SafeWork warning follows upward trend in failure to notify and disturbance of scenes
SafeWork NSW is warning businesses they will face fines and potential prosecution if they fail to report incidents after the workplace regulator this year issued 140 compliance notices and over $55,000 in fines for breaches with one-third of all offences occurring in the construction industry.
Read more

Principles that apply to WHS duties – new case studies
Safe Work Australia has published 2 case studies for the franchising and outsourcing industries. The case studies practically demonstrate the 4 model WHS Act principles that apply to work health and safety duties and the duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other duty holders.
Read more

Employer unlawfully discriminated against employee with breastfeeding responsibilities
In a unique decision, the Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal was recently required to determine a complaint of discrimination based on the protected attribute of breastfeeding. It is a timely decision noting that the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was recently amended to include breastfeeding as a protected attribute under its general protections provisions.
Read more

Understanding employment contracts: Key considerations for policy clauses
Standard clauses within an employment contract are regularly scrutinised before courts and tribunals and a seemingly innocuous clause can have a serious adverse effect for the employer in a dispute.
Read more


26th Oct 2023



Women in Iceland Go on Strike Against Gender Inequality
Tens of thousands of women and nonbinary people in Iceland were expected to join a one-day strike on Tuesday, which organizers called the country’s largest effort to protest workplace inequality in nearly five decades.
Read more

Children and babies ‘at risk’ as childcare centres scramble for staff, insiders say
Childcare centres across the country are struggling to fill thousands of available positions as educators leave due to post-pandemic burnout and the sector’s notoriously low pay..
Read more

Remote employees don’t ‘work as hard’, says private equity billionaire
Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, claimed that workers were refusing to return to their office desks partly because they enjoy a lighter workload at home.
Read more

‘It’s a privilege, not an entitlement’: Medibank to trial four-day work week
Medibank is preparing to trial a four-day working week, dubbing the time off as a “gift”, as the health insurer becomes the latest ASX company to experiment with a scheme being increasingly embraced by employers across the country. At the end of October, 250 Medibank employees will move to a 100:80:100 model.
Read more

Drafting commences for a harmonised labour hire regulation scheme
It is proposed that the Federal Government establish a single national labour hire licensing scheme that would take over from the existing labour hire licensing schemes in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory to ensure a single set of regulatory obligations apply to labour hire providers across Australia. .
Read more

It’s about the ‘I do’, not the ‘who’ – the protected attribute of relationship status
A recent decision of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has confirmed that the protection against discrimination on the basis of ‘relationship status’ under Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) (Act) does not extend to unfavourable treatment with the identity of someone’s relationship partner.
Read more

Important High Court decision re labour hire contract wording
In JMC Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation [2023] FCAFC 76, the High Court solidifies the importance of comprehensive written contracts in determining employment status.
Read more

Understanding Public Holiday Entitlements
This article summarises some key considerations for employers related to public holidays, including the recent case of CFMMEU v OS MCAP Pty Ltd .
Read more

Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers targeted for boosted workplace support in new government initiative
The Carer Inclusive Workplace Initiative is a new, carer-friendly workplace framework for employers that includes a self-assessment tool and e-learning modules to help businesses become more inclusive of people who are balancing caring responsibilities in their lives alongside their paid jobs.
Read more

Taking the ‘silly’ out of ‘silly season’: Managing employee conduct at end of year functions
Recommended actions for HR managers in the lead up to the festive season.
Read more


19th Oct 2023



Australia enters ‘reverse brain drain’ as smart workers make a break for it
Australia is in the early stages of a transformational “reverse brain drain” thanks to a combination of our enviable lifestyle, high standard of living, and improving digital infrastructure.
Read more

With the rise of AI, getting a job shouldn’t rely on a uni degree
The likes of ChatGPT and other generative AI is changing the workplace more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. Consequently, industry-focused knowledge and traditional credentials are becoming less valued by organisations compared to the soft skills candidates possess like critical thinking and problem-solving.
Read more

Uber warning that food delivery prices could spike 85% shows gig workers are underpaid, experts say
Uber’s warning that Australians may pay up to 85% more to have a meal delivered if gig economy workers are treated as employees under proposed workplace legislation is an admission that delivery rider workers are being woefully underpaid, experts have said.
Read more

Gartner HR Survey Shows Australian Organizational Culture is at an All-Time Low
Australian employee sentiment around workplace culture and inclusion continues to fall, despite the efforts of organizations to bring diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into the spotlight, according to Gartner, Inc.
Read more

David Pocock joins Greens in push to criminalise non-payment of super
The independent senator David Pocock has joined a push by the Greens and unions to criminalise the intentional non-payment of superannuation, after the measure was omitted from Labor’s industrial relations bill.
Read more

$550,000 penalty for Sydney company’s “obnoxious” conduct impacting migrant workers
The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $558,190 in penalties in court in a case that involved a Sydney-based company deliberately and systematically underpaying migrant employees.
Read more

Menopause policies are being adopted in workplaces. Is Australia ready for 'the change'?
Ethical superannuation fund, Future Super, is leading change in Australia with its menopause and menstrual employee policy. They want you to steal their policy ...
Read more

Grateful office manager doing 'whatever I can' to make four-day work week stick
Regional Victorian businesses trial four-day work week to help recruit, retain staff
Read more

Cautious optimism new 15% pay deal will help address hundreds of nursing job vacancies in Tasmania
A new pay deal for Tasmania's health workers is struck — but while welcomed by unions, is cautioned as not being "a silver bullet" to the sector's problems.
Read more

Tradie says all businesses should invest in the device that saved his life
Dylan Holmes was not meant to be at work when he went into cardiac arrest but is glad that he was. A last-minute decision to do some overtime and an automated external defibrillator (AED) are the reasons he survived.
Read more


12 Oct 2023



OnlyFans and the Changing Landscape of Employment Law: Can an Employer Terminate Employment?
In today’s digital age and with many more employees looking to increase their potential income through secondary employment, the lines between personal and professional lives are becoming increasingly blurred. With platforms like OnlyFans offering individuals a means to monetize their content and pursue their passions, traditional notions of employment are being challenged.
Read more

FWC confirms accepting a repudiation does not constitute a ‘dismissal’
The recent case of Muhammad Ali Qureshi v Spotless Services Australia Limited [2023] FWC 2411 (Spotless) serves as a useful reminder that employers have the option to accept an employee’s repudiation when an employee abandons their employment, as opposed to proceeding with dismissal. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) reiterated that accepting a repudiation does not constitute a “dismissal” at the initiative of the employer, for the purpose of the unfair dismissal regime.
Read more

Variation Of Professional Employees Award 2020 Came Into Effect On 16 September 2023
This Award covers a wide range of employees who work in information technology, medical research, quality auditing, engineering and telecommunications. This article summarises the changes to the award.
Read more

Independent’s day – the next chapter in independent contracting
In early 2022, the High Court handed down its decisions regarding Personnel Contracting and Jamsek. This decision attracted a significant amount of interest and provided some much-needed clarity in ensuring the primary importance of contractual terms in defining the scope and nature of a particular work-related engagement. However, contrary to some commentary that followed the decisions of the High Court, the old common law ‘multi-factorial’ test has not been totally disregarded, but the High Court has clarified and limited the circumstances in which it is to be applied.
Read more

Another Reason to Check Your Employment Contract
A recent case raised the question of where the line is to be drawn between the activities an employee is permitted to undertake in preparing for future competition with an employer and those that are not permitted, and whether the employee crossed that line. The case also highlighted the risks to employers of failing to have effectively written employment contracts.
Read more

Make HR happy this Halloween
Halloween, traditionally an American holiday, has been gaining popularity in Australia over the last decade, including in workplaces in more recent years. While it can be a fun and festive occasion, it's essential to manage it sensitively to ensure inclusivity and avoid any potential discrimination issues.
Read more

Court emphasises general safety practices insufficient for WHS Act compliance
In a recent decision regarding Safework NSW v JBS Australia Pty Ltd [2023] NSWDC 382, the NSW District Court found Australia’s largest meat and food processing business, JBS Australia Pty Ltd (JBS) guilty of failing to ensure the safety of its workers after an employee suffered severe injuries when two stacked hay bales weighing over 700kg each fell and crushed her.
Read more

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth vows to use criminal penalties to clamp down on wage theft
Ms Booth — who began as fair work cop last month — says the risk of tough criminal sanctions, including potential jail time, would be a major deterrent to dodgy bosses if proposed criminal wage theft laws are passed by federal parliament.
Read more

Coles threatens to withhold pay from workers over vomit clean-up ban
The major chain has warned its staff that Retail and Fast Food Workers Union members who refuse to perform duties banned by the union won’t be paid, even if they continue with other work.
Read more

No daycare? No worries. Meet the businesses letting parents bring their bubs to work
With families battling year-long childcare waitlists, some parents in North Queensland are being thrown a lifeline by their employers.
Read more


5th October 2023



Can employees request an extension for a Fair Work Commission claim if they make a mistake on their form?
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) requires dismissal applications to be made within 21 days after the dismissal took effect. The deadline is generally considered a strict cutoff, with late applications rarely successful unless there are exceptional circumstances. Recent decisions by the FWC have afforded flexibility to employees who lodged applications containing mistakes later resolved after the 21-day deadline.
Read more

NSW worker’s compensation claims due to aggravation of a previous injury
It’s a common question: Can I claim worker’s compensation if my injury is an aggravation of a previous injury? The short answer is yes!
Read more

Restraint of trade in settlement deeds
The NSW Court of Appeal finds that the restraint of trade doctrine applies, with some modification, to restraints agreed in the settlement of disputes over the enforceability of restraint of trade clauses.
Read more

A 'sham' workforce in WA has exposed the shadowy ways of global oil and gas — and workers are paying the price
Australia may be a quarry to the world, and the mining of its natural resources might underpin our national budget. But we can and must demand better corporate ethics than this.
Read more

Childcare workers could be set for a substantial pay rise as multi-employer bargaining begins
Childcare workers pursuing a pay rise of up to 25 per cent have taken a step forward as the Fair Work Commission clears the path for a new kind of pay negotiation to begin.
Read more

How an incompetent employer can make you regret changing jobs
Are you thinking of moving jobs? It’s a risk, and the biggest risk of all may be entirely out of your control.
Read more

CFMMEU penalised for right of entry breaches
The Federal Court has imposed a total of $66,500 in penalties against the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and a former official for unlawful conduct on a Gold Coast construction site.
Read more

Artificial intelligence offers opportunities and challenges for HR
This article discusses the opportunities for using AI in HR, but also the governance and privacy challenges that brings and how different countries are approaching regulation.
Read more

Victoria ramps up regulation to address psychosocial hazards in the workplace
WorkSafe Victoria has established a specialist Psychosocial Inspectorate to investigate psychosocial hazards and has released information on the risk categories that are more likely to lead to a WorkSafe investigation and potential prosecution.
Read more

IR bill to ‘add hours of compliance’ for small businesses, government told
Proposed changes to Australia’s workplace relations system will significantly increase the number of hours small business owners spend on compliance, industry groups warn.
Read more


27 Sept 2023



Super guarantee – a focus area for the ATO through 2023/2024
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released its 2023/2024 Corporate Plan in July and as anticipated, have identified ‘superannuation guarantee (SG) integrity’ as one of eight focus areas. To add complexity, it is possible that the classification of some workers as being entitled to SG or not may have changed as a result of recent court decisions.
Read more

Don’t wing your outsourcing decisions: Takeaways from the Qantas decision
The High Court of Australia’s recent decision in Qantas Airways Limited v Transport Workers Union of Australia [2023] HCA 27 confirms that an employer is prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee to prevent the exercise of a future workplace right. Whilst significant, this decision does not suggest that employers should avoid outsourcing arrangements. Rather, it highlights that employers should carefully consider the decision to outsource and ensure that the reasons to outsource do not include preventing employees from exercising workplace rights..
Read more

Dare iced coffee shortage warning as Bega workers strike for higher pay
Dozens of Bega workers are on strike this week to push for a wage rise that they view is in line with cost of living increases as unions warn of more industrial action if profitable companies don’t pay workers a fairer wage.
Read more

Greens want superannuation theft made a crime in Labor’s workplace bill
The Greens’ employment spokesperson, Senator Barbara Pocock, has warned that unpaid super is costing workers at least $3.3bn a year, more than double the amount estimated to be lost through wage theft ($1.3bn).
Read more

Workplace loneliness is the modern pandemic damaging lives and hurting businesses
Loneliness is a much discussed social issue, but it is rarely considered to be a workplace problem that needs to be managed like other health issues at work. The Social Connection in Australia 2023 report acknowledges loneliness hurts businesses, as it causes employee absenteeism and reduced productivity. However, people are often unaware particular work roles, environments, responsibilities and work-related relocation is often what causes loneliness.
Read more

Job services must shift from merely clipping tickets to actually changing lives
This week will reveal how big a shake-up of the job services system the government and treasurer Jim Chalmers is up for.
Read more

Disability Discrimination and the positive duty to make reasonable adjustments
In Panazzolo v Don’s Mechanical and Diesel Service Pty Ltd [2023] FedCFamC2G 665, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia criticised an employer’s complete failure to make reasonable adjustments for an employee who suffered a disability arising from a non-work related injury.
Read more

Court rules on Union’s right to consult with workers in private
There are only limited circumstances in which a union or union representative are entitled to enter the workplace of an employer. One such circumstance is permitted by work health and safety (WHS) legislation – and it permits a WHS entry permit holder to enter a workplace for the purpose of inquiring into a suspected contravention of WHS legislation that relates to, or affects, a relevant worker. A recent decision of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSW IRC) took a detailed look at how this permission is applied in practice and what exact rights and entitlements it provides to WHS entry permit holders
Read more

New Research Reveals a Third of SMEs Plan To Replace Staff With AI
The survey of 79,000 businesses across five countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK – was conducted by Peninsula Group, a global employment law, HR, and health & safety advisory and consultancy firm – to look at the opportunities and concerns employers have around the use of AI in the workplace.
Read more

Is it time for Australia to introduce a national skills passport?
As part of the new employment white paper, the federal government has announced it is thinking seriously about a national skills passport. What might this involve? And is it a good idea?
Read more


20 Sept 2023



WorkCover journey claims travelling to and from work
In Victoria, there are compensation schemes available both for people injured in the course of their employment (a worker’s compensation claim through the WorkCover scheme) and people injured in transport accidents (a TAC claim through the Transport Accident Scheme). But who provides you with compensation and benefits if you’re injured in a transport accident on your way to or from home and work (commonly referred to as a journey claim)?
Read more

Can an employee retract their resignation?
Resignation occurs when an employment relationship ends at the initiative of an employee. Employees can choose to resign at any time during their employment, and their employer cannot refuse to accept the resignation. When an employee resigns, they are generally required to clearly communicate their decision to their employer and give written notice, the amount of which will vary depending on any applicable contract, award or registered agreement.
Read more

The trend towards higher awards for general damages in sexual harassment cases
The cases of Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 82 (Richardson) and Gutierrez v MUR Shipping Australia Pty Ltd [2023] FCA 567 (Gutierrez) are indicative of a general trend of courts awarding significantly higher amounts for general damages for sexual harassment and discrimination cases. These awards are said to reflect community expectations and focus on the loss suffered by the victims, as opposed to the nature of the conduct.
Read more

Can an employee be dismissed based on their keyboard activity?
Many employers question how they can appropriately manage the productivity of employees who are working from home. Since COVID lockdowns resulted in more employees working from home than ever before, the number of businesses that undertake workplace surveillance and monitoring of their employees’ activities has dramatically increased. In a recent decision, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) considered the issue after a longstanding employee was dismissed for misconduct on the basis of a report detailing her keyboard activity over a period of three months.
Read more

Employee fairly dismissed for unauthorised working from home
Last week, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) rejected an unfair dismissal claim made by an employee of Strata Management Group Pty Ltd (Strata Group). The FWC determined that the employee's unauthorised remote work, combined with two other allegations, constituted a valid reason for her termination.
Read more

‘Amazon effect’: can Labor’s industrial relations reforms protect workers in the gig economy?
It was about five years ago that truck owner-driver Tony Matthews started seeing work conditions in his industry erode. Matthews, who has been working for a major parcel delivery company for nearly 40 years, is on what is referred to at his workplace as a legacy contract – one that rolls over each year with an increase to his wage and cost recovery, and guarantees him superannuation and annual leave. But he says there is just a handful of workers left on those contracts. Instead, the industry is now moving towards a “gig-style” workforce who are paid a piece rate that, Matthews says, does not match how long it takes to complete a job.
Read more

Facts, not fads, should be the new benchmark for HR
I wonder - in fact, I despair of wondering - whether human resources as a supposed field of expertise will ever aspire to basing its practices on even half-reliable evidence. It has always seemed to me to be a field prone to embracing fads and being overly impressed with anecdotes masquerading as expert advice. A case in point is the widespread adoption and uncritical application of the metaphor “benchmark”. A benchmark originally referred to chiselled marks used for reference points in a real workshop.
Read more

Collaborate, or compete? The hidden agenda of returning to the office
Remote work has become increasingly common thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and left its mark on the Australian workplace, with knowledge workers such as accountants, engineers and IT specialists the ones who can and do work from home the most. But while some businesses such as Google and Tesla tell their employees to return to the office, others - most notably Atlassian - insist that working from home will not hurt their output. So, is working from home good or bad for productivity?
Read more

Defence manufacturer Thales to offer redundancies to Bendigo Bushmaster factory staff
Defence manufacturer Thales is asking for 49 staff at its Bendigo factory to take voluntary redundancies. The ABC understands jobs could be made redundant at the factory due to a lack of orders for defence mobility vehicles, such as the Bushmaster and Hawkei. Member for Bendigo Ms Chesters said Thales had promised the government during negotiations earlier this year to extend the contract to build Bushmasters that it would secure jobs at the site.
Read more

AI could revolutionize human resources, but there are risks
As businesses globally grapple with the challenges of talent acquisition, employee retention and optimizing workplace dynamics, the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to offer innovative solutions has become a focal point of discussion among human resources (HR) professionals. For many industry insiders and observers, AI’s integration into HR represents a promising fusion of data-driven efficiency and enhanced decision-making. Organizations increasingly turn to AI-driven tools to streamline processes that were once time-consuming and reliant on human intuition.
Read more

13 Sept 2023

Qantas loses High Court appeal over sacking of 1,700 baggage handlers and cleaners
Qantas has issued its first-ever apology to workers after the High Court found the airline acted illegally when it sacked 1,700 ground crew staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling clears the way for the workers to seek compensation.
Read more

Unravelling employer duties: Understanding employee classification for general and superannuation matters
For employers, juggling superannuation obligations and distinguishing between employees and contractors can be a puzzle. This article acts as your guide through this maze, offering clear insights into the critical differences between these work arrangements and superannuation obligations.
Read more

When does a WorkCover dispute end up in the Magistrates Court in Victoria?
Broadly speaking, worker’s compensation matters that are referred to the Magistrates Court of Victoria are any adverse decisions made by the WorkCover insurer in relation to your entitlements to WorkCover weekly payments and medical expenses where there has been a genuine dispute certificate issued.
Read more

Push for workers to get six weeks annual leave blasted
A workplace expert has sparked fresh debate over whether Australia should increase its annual leave entitlements.
Read more

Queensland’s public sector whistleblowing laws – time for a new Act?
The recent review conducted by The Honourable Alan Wilson KC has recommended that sweeping changes be made to Queensland’s public sector whistleblowing legislation, including calls for a more robust, brand new Act to be introduced to replace the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (PID Act).
Read more

South Australia: Upcoming changes prohibit discrimination against those experiencing domestic abuse
The State Government recently amended the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (EO Act) to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of being, or having been, subjected to domestic abuse. The changes commenced on 1 September 2023 and prohibit discrimination in all areas covered by the EO Act, including against job applicants, employees, independent contractors, contract workers and partnerships.
Read more

Failing to give notice of injury in time
While there are provisions in the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) which prevents the recovery of compensation if an injured worker has failed to give notice of an injury within the prescribed time frames, these are rarely applied.
Read more

Coalition and employers back David Pocock over splitting contentious industrial relations bill
ACT senator wants to move forward with workers’ compensation for PTSD and banning discrimination against employees experiencing domestic violence.
Read more

Labor’s industrial relations bill leaves biggest loophole open
Labor introduced its closing loopholes bill to parliament last week. It targets the deliberate underpayment of workers but is silent on non-payment of superannuation.
Read more

Employer’s authorisation for overtime implied by conduct
The Fair Work division of the Federal Court has recently handed down an important ruling on how overtime may be authorised by employers. In Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation v Peninsula Health [2023] FCA 939, a class action, the court has determined that employees who worked regular and extensive overtime without obtaining formal permission did so with “implied’ authorisation from their employer.
Read more


7 September 2023



Powers of Australian regulators and implications for employees involved in investigations
Australia has numerous regulatory and government bodies with extensive coercive powers, including specific regulators for sectors including health, financial services, energy, higher education, not-for-profit and aged care. Investigations undertaken by the various regulators often relate to employee behaviour and actions which may involve misconduct. It’s crucial for employees who are subject to, or anticipate being subject to, an investigation by a regulator to seek legal advice to protect their interests.
Read more

The Australian Government Tables Closing Loopholes Bill: What it means for your business
On 4 September 2023, the Federal Government introduced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Cth) (Bill) in the House of Representatives. This Bill is significant, running to 278 pages and covering 28 distinct parts. It proposes reforms that will have a substantial impact on employers, employees, principals, and contractors. In many respects, the Bill proposes even more significant change than was contained within the pages of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay amending legislation which commenced on 6 December 2022.
Read more

Rights and protections for workplace delegates set to increase under new proposal
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Bill) proposes various amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) introducing new workplace rights and protections for union delegates.
Read more

Proposed laws to criminalise wage theft
Part 14 of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (the Bill) proposes the introduction of a new criminal offence for wage theft. This new offence would commence no later than 1 January 2025 and will only apply where intentional conduct is established.
Read more

IT set-up and human let-down – How to minimise the risk (of data theft by your own employees)
Almost every week I get a call from a client telling me an all too familiar story of one of their departed workers having been suspected of taking [insert eye watering amount] of business data.
Read more

Labor’s ‘same job, same pay’ bill contains ‘major flaw’, leading expert says
Labor’s industrial relations legislation contains a “major flaw” that will apply its “same job, same pay” policy to service contracts, potentially including IT, lawyers and accountants, one of Australia’s foremost academic experts has said.
Read more

Overhaul of gig worker rights
Proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) outlined in the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Bill) are targeted at improving terms and conditions for "employee-like workers" in the gig economy.
Read more

Introduction of industrial manslaughter offence and increased workplace penalties
On 4 September 2023, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke introduced into Parliament the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Bill), outlining significant changes to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act).
Read more

If you're a graduate with an English-sounding name, you may be closer to securing a job than some of your peers
Young culturally diverse Australians continue to face discrimination when trying to find work, according to recent studies. Experts found non-Anglo Australians struggle to get a job interview, despite being well qualified, and some are altering their identities on paper to get a fair go.
Read more

Racial literacy helps workplaces improve more than token anti-racist gestures
Getting rid of racism at work isn't just about training courses and diversity posters. Employees should be become more racially literate.
Read more


31 August 2023



Shutting down at Christmas? You need to plan ahead!
If you temporarily shut down your business over the Christmas holidays, make sure you comply with the new rules that affect many Awards, requiring you to give notice and possibly make agreements with employees.
Read more

Working Hard or Hardly Working at Home? – Unfair Dismissal Claim Falls Short
With the work environment progressively adopting a hybrid approach, it is crucial that employers recognise that employee responsibilities remain consistent both when working remotely and in the office. Early last month a Fair Work Commission case decided that an employee’s serious and consistent failure to meet her obligations while working from home constituted misconduct and justified dismissal.
Read more

New AHRC Guidelines For Complying With Positive Duty Under The Sex Discrimination Act
This month the Australian Human Rights Council (the AHRC) has published its Guidelines for Complying with the Positive Duty under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (the Guidelines). These Guidelines are the AHRC's comprehensive legal guidance on the duty, and the AHRC has indicated it will be using these guidelines to assess compliance.
Read more

Victorian celery farm underpaid migrants more than $91000, FWO alleges
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against one of Australia’s largest celery producers, alleging it underpaid three visa holders $91,907 across one year.
Read more

Proposed reforms to workplace incident notification obligations
Australia's workplace safety laws could see significant changes as Safe Work Australia (SWA) seeks submissions regarding incident notification obligations. The proposed changes could expand the types of incidents that are required to be reported to regulators, and mandate regular reporting of complaints such as workplace bullying and traumatic events. SWA is seeking public submissions and feedback on these proposals until 11 September 2023.
Read more

Payroll tax – increased audit activity around engagement of contractors
If you engage contractors or are an intermediary that assists in facilitating payments to contractors and have not recently reviewed your payroll tax classifications and positions, we recommend you do so.
Read more

Additional hours – what is reasonable?
According to The Australia Institute, the average Australian worker performs 6 weeks of unpaid overtime a year, worth over $8,000 per worker per year.
Read more

Women applicants trust AI more than human recruiters
A new survey from Roy Morgan has revealed that 57% of Australians believe that artificial intelligence (AI) causes more problems than solves, with women making up the bulk of the respondents. However, when it comes to AI being used for recruitment, the numbers tell a very different story.
Read more

Opinion: Is following your work passion overrated?
Follow your passion. It’s perhaps the most common advice given to jobseekers. The implication: you can only be your best at work when you’re doing something you truly love. Yet according to a growing body of research, an overemphasis on passion for one’s work can be detrimental in a number of ways.
Read more

Australia’s gig economy workers set to benefit from minimum pay and protection against ‘unfair deactivation’
Under a bill to be introduced by the Albanese government next week, the Fair Work Commission will be given the power to set minimum standards for hundreds of thousands of “employee-like workers” on digital platforms from 1 July 2024.
Read more


24th August 2023



Vicarious Liability: High Court Clarifies Scope Of Liability For Employers
Vicarious liability is a doctrine that imposes liability on employers for the negligent or wrongful actions of their employees within the scope of employment. This principle is grounded in both common law and statutory provisions. Generally, it serves as a safeguard against the adverse consequences of employees’ actions, particularly in cases involving harassment, discrimination, or injuries occurring in the workplace.
Read more

injury and the reasonable management action defence
In cases of workers compensation involving psychological injury, employers may rely on the “reasonable management action” defence to dispute liability for injury.
Read more

Nurses denied pay for time spent self-testing for COVID-19 before every shift
While the decision boiled down to the FWC’s interpretation of the Agreement, it raises broader questions of what activities constitute ‘work’ under enterprise agreements. This issue goes to the question of what kinds of rights attach to certain activities associated with work.
Read more

A lesson in how redundancy can go wrong without the right processes
For any business, redundancies often present themselves as an immediate remedy to solve growing financial pressures. And while they’re also a necessary evil during company restructures, mergers, and acquisitions, the process of carrying through with a genuine redundancy can be tricky even for the most experienced HR managers and business owners.
Read more

How to Manage a Gender Pay Gap Complaint
A recent article [A Gender Pay Gap and a Missed Opportunity] discussed a recent case where a large employer was found to have directly discriminated against a female manager by depriving her of an opportunity to negotiate and receive a higher salary, while allowing her male colleagues to do so. As well as reminding employers of the risks of unlawful direct discrimination in pay arrangements, the case was instructive to employers about the importance of dealing with complaints effectively and early..
Read more

Finding Balance: Examining Fair and Reasonable Refusals in the Work from Home Era
Work from home and in particular having to deal with requests that seem from the outset, outlandish, require some further thought and consideration before it is rejected.
Read more

“Employers can strike this off their Christmas lists” – Directions to take unpaid leave during temporary shutdown periods
Employees with an entitlement to annual leave are often directed to take annual leave during these periods. As such, employees will often accrue and keep their annual leave balance, in forethought of ensuring their balance will cover them during the shutdown period. However, where an employee has an insufficient balance of annual leave hours to cover this period, they often find themselves in a predicament. In this instance, the leave policy of many employers will require the employees to take unpaid leave.
Read more

Italian restaurant operators penalised $72,800
The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $72,800 in penalties in court against the operators of an Italian restaurant in Melbourne. The penalties were imposed in response to a failure to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring the calculation and back-payment of entitlements to a young waiter and a failure to comply with a Notice to Produce records.
Read more

CBA to backpay staff ‘$3m’ for missing tea breaks
Commonwealth Bank will backpay thousands of branch staff an estimated $3 million after failing to pay them for 10-minute tea breaks over at least six years.
Read more

Union boss with ‘deplorable’ history is behind Labor motion
The CFMEU official who helped push through Labor’s commitment to relax rules on accessing work sites has been described by a judge as having a “deplorable personal history of offending”, including initiating blockades and coercing employers.
Read more


17th August 2023



Safe Work Australia to propose new laws for notifying psychosocial incidents
Safe Work Australia has recently called for stakeholder feedback on proposed changes to notification requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), following the recommendations of the original Boland Review of WHS laws in 2018 (Review).

A consistent view expressed in the consultation process conducted by the Review was that the incident notification provisions need to be clearer and capture all relevant incidents.
Read more

Injuries at work aren’t always physical – explaining psychological injury
This article explains psychological injuries in NSW workers compensation claims and how whole person impairment (WPI) is assessed under the Psychiatric Impairment Rating Scale (PIRS) table.
Read more

The unseen struggle: Identifying and responding to the risk of psychiatric injury
Employers have a non-delegable duty of care to their employees to provide a safe system of work and to take reasonable steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable injuries. This paramount duty arises under both statute and common law and extends beyond physical safety to encompass psychological well-being.

However, the risk of psychiatric injury is often less apparent than in cases of physical injury. Employees often keep their struggles to themselves until symptoms become prominently visible.
Read more

Why workers are rejecting five-day-a-week office jobs
It’s hard to hire good people, and at some companies, it’s harder than others. New data from Scoop Technologies, reported by Bloomberg, finds that firms that require employees to come to the office every day are adding employees at a slower rate than those that offer flexibility.
Read more

It’s good news that real wages are no longer falling – but the fall has already been deep
Wages rose modestly in the June quarter but so did inflation. The average wage now buys you the same amount as it did in 2009.
Read more

Six ways to support neurodivergent staff
An article submitted by the Public Sector Neurodiversity Community of Practice suggesting ways in which HR professionals can support neurodivergent staff in their organisation.
Read more

Experience matters: realising the potential of generational diversity
With five generations in the workplace, Australia now has the most generationally diverse workforce in history. The Australian Public Service (APS) is taking the lead in realising the potential of ‘older’ Australians, encouraging a diverse workforce, capitalising on the strengths of varied experiences and perspectives, and challenging age-specific biases. Research shows this is having a flow-on effect in the private sector.
Read more

Only half of Australian organisations view diversity as a priority
The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) has revealed that nearly half of human resources (HR) professionals believe their organisation lacks focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Read more

Rising number of year 12 graduates heading straight to workforce
Experts say the trend is indicative of students embracing the ideal of lifelong learning, enrolling in study when they are ready, instead of immediately after high school. But another warns early employment without sufficient training could also leave graduates unprepared for future jobs markets.
Read more

High stakes when occupations become extinct
When does an occupation become obsolete? Invariably the answer is when the job is uneconomic. If workers in the occupation can no longer make a living, or their employers can no longer make a profit, it is curtains for the occupation.
Read more


10th August 2023



Employer’s withdrawal of role constituted dismissal from employment
For most employers, casual employment is favoured because of the flexibility it provides – employees are employed as required and have no guarantee of ongoing employment. This flexibility however does not mean that casual employees are not protected from adverse action.
Read more

Employee’s exaggerated complaints created psychosocial risk
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has found in R v Virgin Australia Airlines PtyLtd [2023] FWC 1501 that an employee had a pattern of behaviour of making false and/or exaggerated complaints about his colleagues and that this created a risk to their psychosocial safety.
Read more

Psychological injury claims after employer implemented vaccine mandates
Two recent decisions in the NSW Personal Injury Commission (PIC) have awarded compensation to workers who suffered a psychological injury as a result of the employer’s implementation of a vaccination public health order.
Read more

Don’t assume: Redeployment options in redundancies
Employers looking to downsize their workforce through redundancies need to ensure they are following a proper process to avoid unfair dismissal claims.
Read more

Understanding employment contracts: Employer’s discretion on bonus payments
The standard clauses within an employment contract are regularly scrutinised before courts and tribunals with judgments that vary, and sometimes nullify, the terms of the employment contract. This can be a tough pill to swallow for employers who often think they can exercise the terms of the contract in any way they deem fit because it was agreed and signed by the employee.
Read more

Professional Employees Award: Navigating Upcoming Changes to Overtime and Penalty Rates
Earlier this year, the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) announced significant revisions to the Professional Employees Award 2020 (“the Award”), including changes to penalty rates and overtime, as well as clarification to the Award’s coverage. The changes to coverage came into effect on 23 March 2023, while the introduction of overtime and penalty rates will take effect from 16 September 2023. The FWC’s amendments regarding overtime and penalty rates aim to provide fair compensation to employees who work extended hours or outside normal work schedules.
Read more

What happens when a fixed-term contract is terminated early?
Employees who work on projects, such as the Commonwealth Games, often do so on a fixed-term employment contract. A fixed-term contract operates for a fixed period, for example, 12 months, at which point it ends or can be renewed by agreement. But what happens when a fixed-term employment contract is terminated before its expiration date?
Is the employer obligated to pay out the employee?
Read more

Navigating flexible working arrangements: how to respond to flexibility requests and the new powers of the Fair Work Commission
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Cth) (Amending Act) has introduced a wide variety of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act), including changes to requests by employees to work flexibly. These amendments, effective from 6 June 2023, extend the right to request flexibility to additional categories of persons and, for the first time, grant the Fair Work Commission (Commission) the power to deal with and arbitrate disputes concerning requests for flexibility – including decisions by businesses to decline requests on ‘reasonable business grounds’.

Since the introduction of the Act, there was always an obligation on businesses to respond to requests for flexibility within 21 days of a request being made and the ability of businesses to decline a request on ‘reasonable business grounds’ also existed. However, until now, if a request was declined, the Commission had no power to deal with a dispute and there were effectively no consequences in the event a business did not respond to an employee’s request. Now, that has all changed.
Read more

Workplace relations and insecure employment in Australian universities
A response to the Australian Universities Accord discussion paper, February 2023, by Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AC.
Read more

Casual workers may lose 25pc loading
The government’s proposed changes to casual working laws could see pay reduced by 20 per cent, according to industry groups.
Read more


3rd August 2023



McKinsey report: Generative AI and the future of work
A report by McKinsey on how AI will fuel work in certain occupations and erode growth in others. "The future of work is already here, and it’s moving fast."
Read more

Woolworths faces more than 1000 criminal charges over unpaid leave
The charges, filed in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, allege Woolworths and a subsidiary underpaid more than $1 million in long service leave to 1235 former workers.
Read more

Are federal casual work law changes ‘good for Australia’s casuals’ or ‘a radical new restriction’?
New laws allowing casual staff on regular shifts to become permanent have split industry figures along political lines.
Read more

Most voters back Labor bid to boost wages amid concerns big business has too much power, Essential poll finds
Survey findings released as Australian Industry Group boss argues government’s industrial relations reforms are ‘anti-productivity’.
Read more

Commission rejects application for stop bullying orders
Differences in opinion, dysfunctional relationships and disagreements between employees may occur from time to time in the workplace. Generally, these instances of workplace conflict do not amount to bullying behaviour, which is defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour causing a risk to health and safety.

However, if left unaddressed, instances of low-level conflict can exacerbate and lead to bullying behaviour and psychosocial hazards in the workplace.
Read more

Dispute about “ordinary time earnings” settled by Full Federal Court
In a timely reminder about the importance of carefully drafting enterprise agreements, the Federal Court of Australia – Full Court (the Full Court) has recently determined a dispute about the definition of “ordinary time earnings” in a particular enterprise agreement. In doing so, the Full Court confirmed that departures from the plain text of an enterprise agreement will not be justified (unless there is an absurdity or a very seriously anomalous result).
Read more

How to avoid costly underpayments and payroll issues
It is rare that businesses underpay their staff intentionally. Usually, underpayments occur when employers do not understand their payroll obligations or do not have administrative procedures in place to ensure compliance.
Read more

Can my employee make an unfair dismissal application? A cautionary tale on income, awards and agreements
The recent case of Mark Evans v Total Essential Services Group Pty Ltd [2023] FWC 1822 reminds employers that award and enterprise agreement coverage is an important consideration when assessing the risk of an employee making an unfair dismissal application.
Read more

Whistleblower protections in the private sector
A whistleblower may make a protected disclosure for a variety of reasons, including to expose wrongdoing or unlawful activity or to prevent harm to the public or the environment. This article considers whistleblower protections in Australia.
Read more

Australia is about to set its first full employment target – and it will define people’s lives for decades
Stand by for one of the most important decisions Treasurer Jim Chalmers and the Albanese government will make. That decision is to commit future governments and the Reserve Bank to full employment, and, more importantly, spell out what that means.
Read more

26th July 2023

Albanese government to make it easier for casuals to become permanent employees

Casual workers will be given a new path to becoming permanent, with the security that brings, in industrial relations reforms Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke will introduce later this year.
Read more

Employee or independent contractor? Practical tips for categorising workers for superannuation purposes
This article sets out a revised approach for businesses to consider when determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors for superannuation law purposes.
Read more

Support person in the workplace: Roles and considerations
This article explores the importance of the appropriateness of the support person, reasonable refusal of a proposed support person, the role of a support person, and best practices for employers.
Read more

Employers beware – zero tolerance policy does not automatically warrant dismissal
This article provides a recap of some of the recent unfair dismissal cases before the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in the context of a breach of zero tolerance alcohol and drug policy which resulted in different outcomes after the FWC considered the mandatory criteria in each case to determine whether the dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
Read more

Will I get reinstatement after a successful unfair dismissal claim?
While compensation (instead of reinstatement) of up to six months’ pay is a common alternative remedy for unfair dismissal, reinstatement remains the primary remedy under the Fair Work Act.
Read more

Why insecure work is finally being recognised as a health hazard for some Australians
In an Australian first, Western Australia has formally recognised this in its new Code of Practice on Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace, which provides practical guidance on how WA workplaces can comply with their duties under the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
Read more

Every worker is entitled to be safe at work, but casual workers can fall through the cracks
While laws to protect workers from mistreatment already exist in Australia, last month the government signed a United Nations convention that recognises a broad definition of work and an expansive definition of violence and harassment. The convention is significant because it effectively covers the growing number of casual and gig workers who may not be covered by existing laws.
Read more

Unpacking Non-Disparagement Employment Contract Clauses: The Case of Network Ten Pty Limited v van Onselen [2023]
This case is a reminder of the importance of ensuring that non-disparagement and restraint of trade clauses are carefully drafted such that any intended construction by either party can be given full effect.
Read more

I changed my name from Habib to get a job. Here’s why I changed it back
I’ve reclaimed my Arabic surname as a source of pride. But even now, sadly, names like mine create a glass ceiling in Australian workplaces.
Read more

Pay, sexual harassment and fraud claims put heat on consulting industry
From multimillion-dollar pay packets and allegedly fraudulent schemes, to sexual harassment claims and lack of transparency around wrongdoing in the consulting industry, the Senate inquiry into the multibillion-dollar sector lifted the lid on everything this week.
Read more


19th July 2023



Proposed changes to the Fair Work Commission’s powers for ‘employee-like’ work
The Federal Government is proposing a significant change to the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) powers to allow them to set minimum standards for ‘employee-like’ forms of work, including gig economy work.
Read more

The mandatory criteria in unfair dismissal applications
The recent decision of Bobrenitsky v Sydney Trains [2023] FCAFC 96 (FC decision) has again highlighted that the areas of industrial and workplace law are highly technical.
Read more

FWC case highlights the importance of proper procedures for dismissal
In the recent case Sarah Singh v Priceline Sutherland Pty Ltd [2023] FWC 1321, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruled in favour of a worker after she was unfairly dismissed for requesting domestic violence leave from her employer.
Read more

Redundancy - the cost of getting it wrong
To avoid the pitfalls of poorly planned and executed redundancies, companies need to understand its employer obligations and have a robust plan in place to avoid the steep costs of getting it wrong, including legal, financial and cultural risk.

This article provides employers with a best practice game plan as a general guide to the steps involved and what needs to be considered during the process to manage the organisational risks that may arise along the way.
Read more

Casual employees’ entitlement to unfair dismissal protection
This post looks at the unfair dismissal protection for casual employees and the impact of those recent FWC decisions.
Read more

If a dream job turns mundane, it might be 'glossy work' — and it impacts more than the worker
From an outsider's perspective, certain jobs can look appealing; maybe the role has perks or the organisation has prestige. But for some people starting a new job, optimism can quickly be replaced by an impending sense of doom when the job doesn't live up to expectations.
Read more

New findings show a direct causal relationship between unemployment and suicide
Legally there are implications concerning duty of care and the obligation of governments and institutions to safeguard the wellbeing of the population. These findings should contribute to discussions about legal frameworks relating to employment, work health and safety, discrimination and human rights.
Read more

PCBU? - The Meaning Of ‘person Conducting A Business Or Undertaking’
This document provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the concept of a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ used in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations.
Read more

Zombie offices a real risk as workers fight to work from home
Commonwealth Bank boss Matt Comyn’s bid to get his staff back into the office 50 per cent of the time has run into turbulence. While it may seem like a reasonable request, the call has been painted as a Dickensian corporate demand akin to working a salt mine.
Read more

Stronger union rights can mean more productive, sustainable workplaces
The Australian government has indicated it will soon introduce legislation to strengthen trade unions’ workplace rights. The reported reforms will include increased protections for union workplace delegates and allow paid union officials to enter workplaces to inspect company pay records without notice in cases of suspected wage theft.
Read more


12th July 2023



Enforcing restraints of trade: Tips for employers
In a judgment handed down last week, the Federal Court of Australia highlighted a number of practical tips for employers to consider when enforcing restraints of trade. It is important for employers to keep these ‘tips’ in mind for any employee ‘exit’ process. Restraint of trade clauses are a key way in which employers can protect their business when an employee leaves.
Read more

Protecting Worker Entitlements Act – implications for employers and insurers
On 22 June 2023, Parliament passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Act 2023 (Cth) (PWE Act), which amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). It received Royal Assent on 3 July 2023. The changes made will have significant implications for employers and employment practices and statutory liability insurers.
Read more

The Dos and Don’ts of giving a statement to a workers compensation investigator
Lodging a workers compensation claim can be stressful and it is difficult to know what to say and what not to say. Once you lodge a workers compensation claim, the insurer will commence its investigation into the circumstances of the injury. Part of these investigations involve the appointment of an external investigator to take a statement. This article explores the dos and don’ts of giving a statement to a workers compensation investigator.
Read more

Four prohibited reasons your employer cannot take adverse action against you for
The general protections provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) protect the rights of Australian employees at work. These laws prohibit your employer from taking adverse action against you, such as dismissing you from your employment, for certain reasons. Employees who experience harmful or adverse action for a prohibited reason can make a general protections claim to the Fair Work Commission by lodging a form F8 or F8C.
Read more

Can staff be directed to work on a public holiday?
A March 2023 decision of the Federal Court has reaffirmed employees’ entitlement to a paid day off on a public holiday. It has also clarified s 114 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA) regarding how an employer can reasonably request staff to work on a public holiday, when an employee can reasonably refuse such a request, and the distinction between a request and a requirement.
Read more

Failing to give notice of injury in time
While there are provisions in the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) which prevents the recovery of compensation if an injured worker has failed to give notice of an injury within the prescribed time frames, these are rarely applied. In the matter of Jarvis v State of New South Wales (Northern Sydney Local Health District) & Ors [2023] NSWPIC 20 the time limit provision found in section 254 of the 1998 Act was found to operate in relation to the first respondent, Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD).
Read more

Juice company Nippy's fined, criminally convicted over scalping of 18-year-old worker
A juice company has been fined $120,000 after an employee was scalped in a workplace incident described as "traumatic". An 18-year-old working at a Nippy's Waikerie Producers Pty Ltd packing shed in South Australia's Riverland had her entire scalp torn from her head in November 2020.
Read more

NSW Work Health and Safety Minister furious over 'shocker' Newcastle building sites
New South Wales Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis says she is shocked by the state of two Newcastle building sites that have been issued stop work orders. Work has ceased at sites on Brunker Road in Adamstown and Watt Street, in Newcastle's CBD, after NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler raised serious safety concerns. Ms Cotsis said she was alarmed.
Read more

Workers hate office noise – but is using headphones to shut out colleagues the solution?
Is it OK to wear headphones in the office? Do they help get work done, or is wearing them considered rude and damaging to the office vibe. While it might be easy to dismiss our headphone-wearing colleagues as unfriendly, the increase in usage is symptomatic of another issue entirely. As staff have returned to the office post-lockdown, they have been confronted with the thing employees dislike most about open plan offices according to research: noise.
Read more

‘Disrespectful and out of step’: Council staff revolt over end of flexible working
Staff at a Sydney council are in revolt after they were ordered back to their workplace five days a week, as employers warn staff who stay away from the office are putting their jobs at risk as the economy worsens. Randwick City Council wants staff to return to the office every day by September 11, ending hybrid work arrangements introduced during the pandemic.
Read more

Wage theft: When ‘chief people officers’ forget workers and their rights
Wage theft is still rife in Australia and shows no sign of slowing down. It begs the question: why is it still happening? As an educator, I get approached by firms seeking to recruit human resources (HR) graduates. More recently I have noticed that large firms and management consultants point to graduates with specific skills and knowledge in industrial relations (IR), as distinct from HR.
Read more


5th July 2023



Yes, Australia’s gender pay gap is closing. But today’s working women will retire before it is fixed
The latest Australian Taxation Office figures show progress is being made in some professions, but the overall equality picture is still grim
Read more

What’s in a Dismissal?
A summary of unfair dismissal statistics and what you can expect as an employer facing an unfair dismissal claim.
Read more

Supporting responsible AI: discussion paper
The Australian Government wants your views on how the Australia can mitigate any potential risks of AI and support safe and responsible AI practices. A survey and further information on having ytour say can be accessed via the link below. Closes 26th July 2023..
Read more

When do reasonable additional hours become unreasonable?
For most full-time Australian workers, a 38-hour work week is the standard, but in reality, many professions and industries require employees to work more than this.
Read more

Employees: Four things you didn’t know you could be fired for
No one envisages getting fired when they start a new job, but it’s important to know up front what you could be sacked for as the grounds for terminating employment aren’t always obvious.
Read more

Teacher disobedience justifies unfair dismissal: Undermining school leadership found to be a valid reason for dismissal of a teacher
The FWC found that the employee, who held the position of Head of Mathematics, improperly undermined the school’s leadership by emailing parents to alert them that a NAPLAN test was rescheduled, in deliberate disobedience of the Deputy Principal’s direction.
Read more

Discrimination must be eliminated from the public service
Every day, Centrelink staff help people who are down on their luck, CSIRO staff research cutting-edge science, and cyber security experts assess potential threats. Anyone who’s worked closely with Australian public servants knows how dedicated, hardworking and thoughtful they are. Yet despite the many strengths of the public service, it can still do better, and one area that it can improve is diversity.
Read more


28 June 2023



Employee dismissed for theft of tools unfairly dismissed
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has reminded employers about the duty to afford procedural fairness to employees prior to dismissal.
Read more

$184,000 fine for employer who failed to pay entitlements on termination
When an employee resigned from her employment as General Manager at Atanaskovic Hartnell Corporate Services (AHCS), the employer refused to pay her final pay entitlements, including outstanding wages, annual leave and long service leave.
Read more

Sweeping Changes to Parental Leave from 1 July 2023
On 22 June 2023, the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Bill 2023 (the Bill) passed both Houses bringing about major changes to parental leave under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). The provisions of the FW Act will now align with the amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 which was amended earlier in the year. Employers should be aware of these changes as they will impact all parental leave (outside of Company initiatives), that is to be taken from 1 July 2023.
Read more

Taking a closer look: new employment laws promoting job security and gender equality
Here, we take a deeper dive into some of the key changes focusing on job security and gender equality, including new restrictions on the use of fixed-term contracts, prohibiting pay secrecy clauses and changes to requests for flexible working arrangements and unpaid parental leave. .
Read more

Dismissing an employee? Don't be harsh, unreasonable or unjust
In NSW two key pieces of relevant legal instruments are the Local Government Employees (State) Award 2020 (the Award) and section 84 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) (the Act)..
Read more

7 ways to use ChatGPT at work to boost your productivity, make your job easier, and save a ton of time
ChatGPT and similar AI tools may not replace jobs anytime soon. But they can help workers across many industries – from tech to media – do their jobs better and more quickly.
Read more

Managing flexible work requests: Considerations for employers under new regime in light of Ambulance Victoria v Fyfe
the recent decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in Ambulance Victoria v Fyfe [2023] FWCFB 104 (Appeal Decision) is significant and provides important guidance concerning the manner in which the Fair Work Commission will approach disputes under the new regime.
Read more

From childcare to yoga instructors, non-compete clauses are becoming the norm
Up to half of working Australians including childcare workers and yoga instructors are restricted by their employment contracts, holding back wages and productivity, groundbreaking research has found.
Read more

NSW restaurateur ordered to repay chefs almost $200k following wage dispute
Federal Court justice John Halley said the contraventions of the Act were "egregious and flagrant"
Read more

Renewable energy push creates trade union division, prompting mining members to leave CFMMEU
Mining and Energy union workers will reconsider their affiliation with Labor governments and split from their current trade union over concerns about the push toward renewable energy.
Read more


21 June 2023



Medical cannabis in the workplace – risks and challenges for employers
With an increasing number of employees taking prescribed medical cannabis in the workplace, it is important for employers to understand their legal obligations when managing these employees.
Read more

Fair Work Commission confirms FBT payments are not earnings
In a recent decision, the Fair Work Commission has ruled that payments made on an annual basis by an employer to help reduce an employee’s fringe benefits tax liability are not counted as earnings. The decision resulted in the employee’s remuneration falling below the high-income cap and meant that it was open to the employee to pursue an unfair dismissal claim.
Read more

Recent unfair dismissal case shines light on requirements for ‘genuine redundancy’
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission serves as a timely reminder of the requirements that must be followed when terminating an employee by way of redundancy.
Read more

Bargaining under Secure Jobs, Better Pay: Welcome to the brave new world
Bargaining under the Secure Jobs, Better Pay (SJBP) regime which came into force on 6 June will look very different to previous rounds of bargaining in which employers may be have been involved.
Read more

The four-day workweek verdict is in
As workplaces move towards their post-pandemic normal, the concept of a four-day workweek continues to gain momentum in Australian workplaces. Researchers, eager to analyse the trend, are starting to release their findings.
Read more

What’s it all about Alfie? Why your opinions don’t matter at work
Employers paranoid about their reputations, in a world where social media-led boycotts can cause real dollar damage to profits and share prices, increasingly are placing limits on their employees’ public statements. Non-disparagement clauses are often written into contracts.
Read more

‘A crisis of exploitation’: Measures to protect Australia’s migrant workforce
With up to one in six recent migrants being paid less than the statutory minimum wage, the Federal Government has responded to what it calls “a crisis of exploitation” by introducing a number of legislative reform to better protect visa holders working in Australia. Key changes include harsher penalties and potential jail time for employers who try to take advantage of their migrant workers.
Read more

11 Changes to Australian Migration From 1 July 2023
This article summarises 11 key points that will make a difference for employer sponsors and skilled workers alike.
Read more

‘Exploitative practice’: emails reveal casual academics offered gift cards instead of wages
Academics at Australian universities are being offered gift cards as payment, new documents reveal, as a union decries the “casualisation disease” that affects the higher education sector.
Read more

Public sector becomes the most attractive Australian workplace, says report
Research from HR and recruitment firm Randstad has revealed the public sector is the most attractive Australian workplace.
Read more


14 June 2023



$2.6 million owed to casual workers at two Sydney zoos
A payroll system error has found casual workers at two of New South Wales' biggest zoos are owed millions of dollars in back pay. Almost 586 current staff and 316 former workers are affected.
Read more

What does Qantas' new grooming rules mean for inclusivity?
Australia's national airline, Qantas, has announced it will scrap its gender-based uniform guidelines. Male staff will be allowed to wear make-up and female staff will have the option of ditching their high heels.
Read more

Will Labor’s ‘same job same pay’ bill hurt more experienced workers? An expert responds
Business groups take aim at one of Anthony Albanese’s government’s signature industrial relations policies, but observers unsure their concerns are justified
Read more

Ready or not, here it comes: bargaining under Secure Jobs, Better Pay
The first in a series of three Insights addressing the momentous changes to Australia’s bargaining system brought in by the Federal Government last year which commence operation on 6 June 2023. These changes fundamentally shift the bargaining dynamic, leading to an alteration of power between employers and employees in many respects.
Read more

5 Employment Law Myths Debunked
Employment law naturally attracts common misconceptions about the rules and regulations governing the workplace. These misconceptions often lead to misunderstandings and detrimental consequences for both employees and employers. In this article, I debunk five common employment law myths in Australia and provide clarity around the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.
Read more

Changes to flexible working requests – what employees need to know
As of 6 June 2023, changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) will provide employees with an opportunity to contest an employer’s refusal of a flexible working arrangement request. Under the new provisions, employers must consider and make a reasonable response to flexible work requests from employees who are over 55, living with a disability, pregnant, caring for infants or school-aged children, carers, or experiencing family or domestic violence.
Read more

Real estate agents, Notice periods and gardening leave
Employment contracts for real estate agents frequently contain restraints of trade and notice periods for termination by the employee. For an employer, a notice period is a time in which it may wish to arrange a replacement, secure its clients and contacts, effect a handover of work and clients, and other transitional steps.
Read more

Melbourne bookstore accuses employee of breaking ‘confidentiality’ by discussing pay rise
Worker launches court action over termination from Hill of Content, after also being accused of upsetting colleague and reducing her shifts. Natasha Seymour had always dreamed of working in publishing. But when her bookshop employer terminated her employment after she discussed her pay with colleagues, Seymour says she feared for her future in the industry.
Read more

Will Labor’s ‘same job same pay’ bill hurt more experienced workers? An expert responds
Business groups take aim at one of Anthony Albanese’s government’s signature industrial relations policies, but observers unsure their concerns are justified. A coalition of Australia’s business groups has launched a campaign against the Albanese government’s “same job same pay” reforms. Employer groups representing small businesses, builders, farmers, the recruitment sector, the minerals and gas sectors, the Business Council of Australia and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have united in alarm. So what are the reforms, and is there substance to the employers’ objections?
Read more

Wage gap narrower as women drive gains in employment
Strong recent gains in the number of women employed has helped drive female wage growth above that of men’s, narrowing the gender wage gap across Australia. Female total average earnings rose 4.7 per cent to $1144.30 over the year to November 2022, compared to 2.8 per cent for men, according to the latest data on average wages from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Read more

Humanforce acquires intelliHR for $77M
Two Australian human resources technology providers have joined forces as Humanforce buys IntelliHR in a deal worth $77 million. The deal marks Sydney-based Humanforce’s third acquisition since receiving funding in May 2022 from private equity firm Accel-KKR, which include Ento and Wagestream Australia.
Read more


7th June 2023



D-Day for Pay Secrecy and Zombie Agreements
A reminder that from today, 7 June 2023 pay secrecy terms cannot be included in employment contracts. It's also the last day for employers covered by a pre-2010 agreement (known as “zombie agreements”), to give written notice to all employees who are covered by the agreement about the sunsetting of the agreement on 7 December 2023.
Read more

Annual Wage Review 2022/2023
Late last week the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) delivered its annual wage review 2022/2023 decision, increasing the National Minimum Wage and Modern Award minimum wages.
Read more

From 6 June 2023 - New employer obligations in employee requests for flexible work
The recent Secure Jobs, Better Pay Amendment Act 2022 (Cth), has introduced changes to employee and employer obligations staggered to commence throughout the year. One area of significant change is dealing with an employee's request for flexible working arrangements. These changes came into effect on 6 June 2023.
Read more

Can employers be vicariously liable for actions of intoxicated workers?
Vicarious liability is where an employer may be held legally responsible for the actions of employees (and others) for harm caused in the workplace. The employer need not have specifically or directly caused the harm themselves.
Read more

Survey of state: WHS regulation and reform relating to psychosocial risks
This provides an overview of where each State and Territory is up with regard to WHS laws relating to psychosocial risks.
Read more

Employees likely to breach post-employment restrictions: Why do we keep walking them?
When it comes to an employee exiting, organisations tend to do different things. For some, a "don't ask, don't tell" approach is taken. For others, a pro-forma reminder letter is sent in the hope it magically infuses the departing employee with a compliance mindset.
Read more

Heavier Penalties and Stricter Laws Behind the Counter: An Update on New Child Employment Laws
Amidst the crackdown by the Victorian Child Employment Watchdog of several employers in respect for their breaches of child employment laws, employers should be aware of new child employment changes being introduced in Victoria on the 1st July 2023.
Read more

Same job, same pay: A matter of fairness or a 'dangerous' attack on business?
The federal government's "same job, same pay" changes to workplace laws are emerging as 2023's big industrial relations brawl. The laws haven't been written yet, but a coalition of business groups have launched a pre-emptive campaign to try and kill off the changes, warning they will "weaken the economy and punish workers".
Read more

Fair Work accuses Woolworths and Coles of setting up 'foreign' pay system to underpay workers
A joint trial, brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman and two class action claimants against the supermarket giants, commenced in the Federal Court on Monday, alleging underpayment of workers over a number of years.
Read more

Mining giant BHP admits underpaying almost 30,000 Australian workers
Mining giant BHP has admitted it has underpaid almost 30,000 workers, dating back to 2010, and it will cost more than $400 million to make amends.
Read more


31st May 2023



Work conditions put Australia behind Nordic countries in Happiness Index. We must learn from them
For Australia to become an even better place to live, improving the quality of people’s working lives is essential. This requires changes to our industrial relations system, which plays an important role in governing work arrangements. Despite political and cultural differences, the Nordic countries offer important lessons on how Australia can achieve this.
Read more

Concerned about multi-employer bargaining?
Employers who do not have an enterprise agreement (or whose enterprise agreement has expired) and who are perturbed about multi-employer bargaining, should consider the benefits of making their own enterprise agreement. Making or renewing an enterprise agreement takes time, so employers should act quickly, given the multi-employer bargaining provisions will become law on 6 June.
Read more

Establishing jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions (Part 1)
Jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions can be complex. This is because prosecutions can be brought under various pieces of legislation which trigger different jurisdictions. The jurisdiction which is triggered determines not only the court in which a prosecution is to be commenced, but also the broader system. The system in which a prosecution proceeds then determines various other things, including where an appeal lies and the nature of the relief a party may seek.
Read more

Establishing jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions (Part 2)
We continue our discussion on the litigation, emphasising the implications of making mistakes about jurisdiction and the need for careful consideration of these matters.
Read more

Leave a message at the tone: Employee’s right to disconnect
A proposed amendment to the Fair Work Act could prevent employers from contacting employees outside of their working hours, except for limited circumstances.
Read more

Redundancies and the skills matrix
A recent decision of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) has cautioned employers that a skills matrix must also be completed objectively and employees should not receive lower scores for prohibited reasons.
Read more

Modern Slavery Act review: what can organisations do now to prepare for tougher modern slavery laws?
On 25 May 2023, the Federal Government released the much-anticipated report on the statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (Modern Slavery Act). If the recommendations set out in the review are adopted, more organisations will be required to submit modern slavery statements and implement due diligence systems, and there will be penalties imposed for failing to report or failing to have a due diligence system in place (amongst other things).
Read more

In the crosshairs – ACCC confirms review of no-poach provisions in employment contracts
As noted in our 27 March 2023 Employment Note, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh MP (Leigh) recently requested advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about the competitive impacts of non-compete post-employment restraints.
Read more

Professional Employees Award 2020 - Changes from Sept 2023
Two recent decisions of the Fair Work Commission1 have resulted in amendments to the Professional Employees Award 2020. These decisions will vary clauses regarding hours of employment, overtime, and coverage, and may impact employers who engage professional employees in the science, information technology or quality auditing industries, or who engage professional engineers.
Read more

Transport accidents while working - Is it a Workcover or TAC claim?
There are circumstances where an injury occurred in both a workplace accident and a transport accident; for example, a truck driver injured in a motor vehicle accident while delivering products to a consumer. These are what we call "cross-over" claims. The question for the injured person (who is both a worker and road user) is, "Under which statutory scheme do I make a claim - WorkCover or TAC?"
Read more

24th May 2023

Self-insured corporation liable to pay compensation for aggravation of previously accepted injury
The applicant was employed with Brambles Security Services Ltd as an armed security guard in 1988 and worked continuously in that role until 2019. His employment transitioned to Chubb Security Services when it purchased the Security Armed Guard Division of Brambles in June 2000, and then to Prosegur Australia Pty Ltd when it acquired Chubb on 16 December 2013.
Read more

Federal Court upholds no present liability decision for postal workers’ 1993 injury
Mr Hickey was employed as a Postal Transport Officer by Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post). On 29 September 1993, he lodged a claim for workers’ compensation in respect of a lower back injury. Liability for his claim was accepted pursuant to section 14 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
Read more

Are Cultural Norms a Defence to FWC Claims?
Recent cases before the Fair Work Commission have raised the question of whether cultural norms can justify certain workplace behaviour which may not be viewed as “appropriate” under Australian workplace laws. Below are two cases which explore how the FWC has navigated cultural differences in an employment context.
Read more

Out of Hours Conduct: Does it Justify Dismissal?
The Fair Work Commission recently heard two cases where although the circumstances were similar, the outcome was not. The cases involved two employees, employed by the same employer, who were part of a group on Facebook. In this group individuals shared offensive content including pornographic, sexist and racist material. The group was comprised of 12 current employees, three former employees and three non-employees.
Read more

Employer in breach of Fair Work Act for public holiday rostering
On 28 March 2023 the Full Federal Court handed down a decision with major effects across various industries, regarding rostering employees on public holidays. The Court found that the employer Respondent, OS MCAP Pty Ltd, had contravened the Fair Work Act in rostering its employees to work on two public holidays, without providing reasonable requests beforehand.
Read more

Court of Appeal delivers knockout blow to unconscious bias
The Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal recently handed down a significant decision on sex discrimination. In doing so, it confirmed that an employer’s repeated decisions to deprive a female manager of the opportunity to negotiate and receive salary, whilst simultaneously allowing her male colleagues to do so (some of whom were paid significantly higher salaries than her, despite being her subordinates), constituted direct discrimination under the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
Read more

Employees & the Employer Position on the Voice in Parliament
Many significant organisations, including large employers, have adopted a corporate position on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum (Voice). It seems the vast majority of organisations that have declared a position are in favour of the Voice, most recently the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Executive and AOC Athletes’ Commission, and the National Rugby League. Other organisations reported to support the Voice include NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, BHP, Rio Tinto, Wesfarmers, Woolworths, and Coles.
Read more

One in six migrant workers are 'exploited', but many Australians are also paid below the national minimum wage
One in six migrants are paid less than the national minimum wage according to a new report by the Grattan Institute, which says governments have failed to stop exploitation of migrant workers with sexual harassment, bullying, and unsafe working conditions also rife.
Read more

Catch-22: No pay rise without productivity. But no productivity without more pay
The tide is shifting. It may be ever so gentle, but the most recent pay and jobs numbers suggest the economy is about to take a turn for the worse. Unemployment has bounced to 3.7 per cent, still incredibly low by historic standards, but a result that was far worse than expected as 4,300 jobs were lost compared with an anticipated gain of 25,000 And despite all the hype about pay claims and a wages inflation spiral, wages growth at 3.7 per cent, while the highest in 12 years, again came in below expectations.
Read more

Regional Australia Institute report highlights job vacancy crisis, communities missing out on growth
Regional communities across the country are missing out on opportunities and growth due to a soaring number of job vacancies, according to a new report. The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has found regional job advertisements grew three times faster than metropolitan areas at the end of last year, with health positions in the highest demand.
Read more

17th May 2023

Widow awarded over $750,000.00 in NSW worker’s compensation death benefits
In a significant Personal Injury Commission decision, the widow of an electrical worker was awarded over $750,000.00 in lump sum compensation plus interest and funeral expenses up to $15,000.00. The NSW worker’s compensation death claim was filed after the widow’s husband died as a result of a psychological injury arising out of his employment.
Read more

Failure to redeploy overseas decisive
Employers who are implementing redundancies in Australia and who have positions available in overseas associated entities, will now have to consider whether it is reasonable to redeploy affected employees to those overseas entities, following a decision of the Fair Work Commission in late April. In Alesia Khliustova v Isoton Pty Ltd [2023] FWC 658, a software engineer successfully defended an employer’s jurisdictional objection that a redundancy was “genuine” within the meaning of section 389 of the Fair Work Act 2009.
Read more

What are zombie agreements and why should employers take action now?
On 7 December 2022, the Federal Government passed legislation that makes a range of significant amendments to Australia’s workplace laws. One of those changes is the sunsetting (termination) of “zombie agreements” on 7 December 2023 if they are not extended or replaced by new enterprise agreements.
Read more

Psychological condition is not an injury
In October 2018, CCTS commenced employment with the Australian Border Force in the Department of Home Affairs. From October 2019, she was employed as an APS3 Officer in Aviation Traveller, working in airport operations at the Sydney International Terminal. On 3 June 2021, the applicant lodged a claim for workers’ compensation in respect of ‘major depression and anxiety’ which she claimed to have sustained as a result of workplace incidents on 5 December 2020, 25 December 2020, and 9 January 2021.
Read more

Claimed conditions were not contributed to the requisite degree by employment
The applicant was employed by the Department of Defence between 11 March 2011 and 31 August 2018. On 16 January 2019, the applicant submitted a claim for workers’ compensation in relation to injuries to his back, neck and right knee sustained as a result of “undertaking government business at a computer work station” on 1 June 2018. Comcare denied liability to pay compensation under section 14 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation 1988 Act.
Read more

Quality proficiency assessment was reasonable administrative action
The Tribunal was asked to decide whether the applicant’s psychological condition was suffered as a result of reasonable administrative action, taken in a reasonable manner, in respect of his employment. The Tribunal found in favour of Comcare.
Read more

FWC clarifies link between leave and ordinary hours for overtime payments
Modern awards (and a majority of enterprise agreements) provide for overtime or other penalty payments when employees work outside or in excess of their ordinary hours of work. Whether leave counts towards an employee’s entitlement to overtime pay is not an issue that is regularly or commonly raised in the Fair Work Commission.
Read more

What are my rights at work as a new parent? – The Essentials
Having a baby and starting a family is a massive life transition. What’s important to know is that your workplace cannot treat you less favorably because of your family responsibilities. This article helps you understand what your rights are as you navigate having time off and re-entering the workplace when the time is right for you and your family.
Read more

Silica – The ‘New Asbestos’ or a New Wave of an ‘Old’ Dust Disease?
Recent news that the then Opposition Leader Chris Minns pledged that a Labor government, if elected, would ban engineered stone slabs or benchtops containing more than 40 per cent crystalline silica is the latest headline in an ever-growing wave of concern over what has been referred to as ‘the asbestos of the 2020’s’. Now it is Premier Minns, and it’s a question of ‘watch this space’.
Read more

Red Rooster accused of 355 breaches of Victorian child labour laws
Two fast-food businesses in Victoria are facing hundreds of charges for allegedly breaking child labour laws. Red Rooster in Wodonga has been hit with 355 charges while iconic ice-cream chain Cold Rock in Shepparton is facing 124 charges, amid a crackdown by the state’s child employment watchdog.
Read more

10th May 2023

University staff strike over insecure work as 'anger and discontent' builds on campus
Thousands of university staff across Australia have walked off the job this week after years of growing "anger and discontent" over casualisation and wage theft. University of Melbourne computer science tutor Grady Fitzpatrick is among those taking part in the national strike action to protest insecure work.
Read more

McDonald's Murray Bridge former franchisee fined $275,000 for threatening to demote union members
A McDonald's franchisee who operated a fast-food restaurant in South Australia has been fined $275,000 for threatening to demote employees and reduce their hours if they joined the union. The former franchisee, who ran McDonald's Murray Bridge, admitted in a statement as part of a Federal Court settlement that senior managers engaged in an unlawful campaign to de-unionise the workforce over a five-year period.
Read more

The battle for the heart of Qantas: Can new boss Vanessa Hudson restore faith in the Flying Kangaroo?
In January 1995 Tony Lucas joined Qantas as a junior pilot – crisscrossing the globe as second officer in the cockpit of the famous Boeing 747-400. As a graduate of flight school in Adelaide, winning a full-time job at Qantas felt like hitting the jackpot – joining the Qantas family, one of the world's most admired airlines, was not only a job for life it was a conversation starter, a career maker. He was living the dream.
Read more

Qantas accused of wasting ‘eye-watering’ amounts of money defending ‘illegal sackings’
Qantas has been condemned for wasting “eye-watering amounts” on “legal warfare” to defend what unions describe as the “largest case of illegal sackings in Australian history”. The high court on Tuesday began hearing an appeal by Qantas against rulings in the federal court that its decision to outsource the jobs of 1,700 ground handlers in 2020 was unlawful.
Read more

Natural Persons Only: Federal Court Clarifies Superannuation Entitlements in Jamsek v ZG Operations Australia
In Jamsek v ZG Operations Australia Pty Ltd the Full Federal Court confirmed that only natural persons are entitled to superannuation guarantee contributions, which excludes workers providing services through corporations, trusts, and partnerships. The case involved truck drivers who owned and supplied their own trucks, and contracted through their partnerships with ZG Operations. The Court found they were not considered employees under the extended definition in superannuation legislation, despite being paid by the hour.
Read more

Do I have to talk to the WorkCover investigator?
If you are reading this, odds are that you have been contacted by a worker’s compensation investigator as part of your WorkCover claim. The private investigator has asked you for a statement about the circumstances surrounding your injury and about your workplace. You are not sure whether you want to provide a statement or agree to speak with this worker’s compensation investigator in the first place. In this blog, we explore why private investigators are involved in your WorkCover claim and whether you have any obligation to speak with them.
Read more

Employers will be required to pay superannuation on payday
From 2026, the Federal Government will require employers to pay superannuation on paydays rather than quarterly. The proposal has received a mixed response from employer organisations, with some welcoming the move and others noting concerns regarding process, efficiency and increased costs. Employers are currently required to make superannuation contributions on a quarterly basis, while the new plan will require them to be paid every payday (eg weekly, fortnightly or monthly) to ensure that employees receive their superannuation in a more timely manner.
Read more

Pay secrecy terms in employment contracts are illegal
Recent changes to pay secrecy laws in Australia mean that it will be illegal for employers to use pay secrecy terms in employment contracts from 7 December 2022. Such clauses usually seek to stop employees discussing how much they are paid, or bonuses, with their colleagues.
Read more

Public holidays and payment of notice – separating lore and the law
Mere days before the Easter long weekend, the Full Bench of the Federal Court handed down a judgment that sparked a flurry of urgent requests from employers for legal advice. In April this year, the Full Bench heard an appeal by the CFMMEU of a decision that an employer, OS MCAP Pty Ltd, had not contravened the NES (section 114 of the FW Act) by requiring employees to work on a public holiday.
Read more

Building mentally healthy workplaces
After an AU$1.1 billion blowout to Victoria’s ‘broken’ WorkCover scheme, the State Government is considering narrowing coverage of mental health claims which are typically more expensive and take longer to resolve than physical health claims. However, rather than restrict mental health claims – which would be discriminatory and most likely just transfer those costs from employers to taxpayers through the health and social security systems – governments and employers must do more to prevent psychiatric injury in the first place by building mentally healthy workplaces.
Read more

3rd May 2023

Why Are We Investigating This?
Let’s be clear from the start – there are many employment related situations where it is both necessary and appropriate to conduct an investigation within the traditional sense of that word. Potential fraud, an allegation of sexual harassment, and many other forms of alleged misconduct are all simple examples. Despite this, there’s an increasing propensity within many employers to launch into a “formal” investigation whenever an allegation is made by one employee against another, where the nature of the complaint is largely interpersonal conflict.
Read more

Is this the end of enterprise bargaining?
For 30 years, the industrial relations regulatory environment in Australia has entrusted employers and their employees to negotiate the most suitable terms and conditions for their collective circumstances. The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Cth) (Fair Work Amendment Act) fundamentally alters this dynamic, such that conditions of employment will be set at the industry level, and not at the level of individual enterprises.
Read more

Flexible Working Arrangements: Enhanced Opportunities for Employees, and new Fair Work Commission jurisdiction
This is the second part of an article that discusses the very substantial changes to the law relating to flexible working arrangements that were enacted in December 2022 and which will commence operation on 6 June 2023. This second part explains the new procedural rights of employees, which will enhance the opportunity for employees to achieve more flexible working arrangements, and then goes on to discuss the much expanded jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission to conciliate and arbitrate disputes between employees and employers over these matters.
Read more

Standardised Award shutdown provisions from 1 May 2023
If you’re an employer with employees covered by one of 78 Awards, you have until 1 May 2023 to review your arrangements for directing employees to take unpaid leave during any business shutdown periods, including the Christmas/New Year break. This follows from a raft of changes made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) last year.
Read more

Consultation commences on further reforms to Fair Work laws
In the next phase of the Federal Government’s reform to workplace and industrial relations legislation, consultation papers addressing the following issues have been released: stronger protections for workers against discrimination, criminalising wage theft, 'same job, same pay', and 'employee-like' forms of work and stronger protections for independent contractors. This article sets out the key changes proposed in the consultation papers.
Read more

Office mediator – or meddler?
I am proud of the unofficial role I hold at my place of work. Over some time, I have developed a reputation as someone who offers good advice. Some colleagues consider me a confidant and others ask me to settle disputes. I have been reflecting on a time not long ago when I started to question this role.
Read more

Western Downs Regional Council assessing option of four-day work week to 'improve satisfaction'
The four-day work week has been trialled around the world, had the thumbs up from a Senate committee, and now a regional Queensland council is assessing whether the model is the right fit for its staff. A Western Downs Regional Council report has found that, if implemented, a shorter work week could improve staff satisfaction without compromising customer service.
Read more

Fair Work investigation reveals underpayment of 333 Sydney hospitality workers
Nearly $240,000 will be given back to Sydney hospitality workers after an investigation into 47 businesses found 77 per cent had breached workplace laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman's surprise inspections uncovered one business had underpaid 18 casual workers and full-time employees $52,081. Venues deemed "at risk" across Haymarket, Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst were targeted after a number of anonymous tip-offs.
Read more

New industry survey shows how HR in Australia is changing
Australia’s latest ‘State of the Human Resource Profession’ report, led by Deakin University, offers a unique insight into the changing face of the profession, and how it is adapting to post-pandemic challenges. In the past 50 years HR has moved from a male-dominated profession to a female dominated one. In 1976, women made up less than 10 per cent of the workforce, by 1997 they were close to half, and in 2022 the profession was 84 per cent female.
Read more

Muffin Break franchise hit with 360 child labour charges
A Muffin Break franchise in one of Melbourne’s biggest shopping centres has been slapped with 360 charges by Victoria’s child employment watchdog. Wage Inspectorate Victoria has accused the Southland store of employing three children under the age of 15 without a permit on 111 occasions between March and October 2022. The bakery and coffee shop allegedly failed to ensure the children were supervised by someone with working-with-children credentials, and did not provide a rest break of at least 30 minutes after every three hours.
Read more

Albanese breached workplace law by cutting crossbench staff, Sally Rugg claims in court
Prime minister Anthony Albanese’s decision to cut crossbench staff amounted to conduct that breached workplace law and required staff to work longer hours, former political staffer Sally Rugg has claimed in an updated court filing. In her statement of claim filed on Friday, Rugg – the former chief of staff for independent MP Monique Ryan – argued that Albanese’s June 2022 decision amounted to a request to work unreasonable additional hours.
Read more

26th April 2023

Is it Reasonable to Say No? Flexible Working Arrangements and the New Obligations
From 6 June 2023, as a result of the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009, employers will have increased obligations to genuinely try to accommodate its employees’ requests for flexible working arrangements. The changes mean that employers will need to review their current practices and ensure that requests for flexible working arrangements are only refused on reasonable business grounds.
Read more

Navigating the New Public Holiday Rules
It is common practice amongst employers to automatically roster staff to work on a public holiday without consulting with them beforehand. Generally, employers may rely on an employment contract or enterprise agreement which stipulates that an employee may be expected to work on public holidays.
Read more

It depends – Can an employee be dismissed for outside of work conduct?
In this edition of ‘It depends’, lawyer Megan Cheng talks about when an employee can be dismissed for conduct outside of work and how employers can prove that there is a relevant connection between the outside of work conduct and the employment relationship.
Read more

Important clarification of law about requiring employees to work on public holidays
In a decision which has significant implications for employers, the Full Federal Court of Australia recently clarified the law about whether employers can require employees to work on public holidays. This article discusses the case, what it means for employers and what employers need to do now.
Read more

Shelf life of zombie agreements set to expire shortly
The term “zombie agreements” is used to describe ageing workplace agreements that will be declared deceased by the end of 2023. Fortunately, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be pursued and devoured by the living dead when you turn up for work. Any workplace agreement that was made before the commencement of the Fair Work Act 2009 and is still in operation will automatically terminate on 7 December 2023.
Read more

HR manager fined for Fair Work Act breach
Human resources/workplace relations managers and other senior managers are exposed to pecuniary penalties if they are involved in unlawful adverse action against employees. In a first decision on liability, Judge Karl Blake found a human resources (HR) manager liable as an accessory to an employer’s contravention of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Read more

AAT decision confirms work from home injury liability
In a recent decision, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) awarded compensation to an employee who sustained an injury caused by their employment while working from home. This decision places emphasis on the seriousness of following health and safety guidelines given to employees when working from home, and the importance of maintaining the physical health of all employees.
Read more

Closing The Gender Pay Gap
In 2021 the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency) conducted a review (Review) of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act). The report resulting from the Review was released in March 2022 and contained several recommendations with the objective of reducing the gender pay gap. The data from 2021 and 2022 showed that the rate at which the gap was closing was the same for both years, stalling at 22.8%.
a Read more

How do you deal with a boss who loves the sound of his own voice?
Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a Minute?” This week: a loudmouthed boss, a new colleague with a past, and how to get permission to work from home.
Read more

19th April 2023

Federal Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act
In early December 2022 the new Federal Labor Government managed to negotiate through the Commonwealth Parliament an omnibus Act incorporating a large number of changes to national workplace laws. The new statute received Royal Assent on 6 December 2022. Some of the changes the SJBP Act makes to our workplace laws started on the following day (7 December), but many are rolling out in batches on different dates this year, namely 6 March, 6 June and as late as 6 December 2023.
Read more

My Employer Didn’t Pay Me on Payday
“My employer didn’t pay me on payday” is a common problem most employees encounter, apart from unpaid wages and final pay or termination pay. Regularly getting paid late can be frustrating, and it makes the employee wonder if they would get paid at all. Employees have certain entitlements such as the right to get payment, and to enjoy good working conditions under the Fair Work Act 2009. State laws also provide rules for paying wages, an award and entitlement, and even superannuation contribution. This article discusses remedies when an employer didn’t pay you on payday.
Read more

Managing psychological health and safety at work: the guidance provided by each Australian state and territory
In December 2018, Marie Boland released a report (Boland Report) that recommended the development of additional regulations on how to identify psychosocial risks in the workplace and the appropriate control measures to manage those risks. This fact sheet explains the changes and what employers should do to ensure they are compliant.
Read more

Important developments regarding public holidays: Can employees be required to work?
Employers must be aware of the consequences of the recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court (Court) about employees’ entitlement to be absent on a public holiday. Section 114 of the FW Act provides that an employee is entitled to be absent on a public holiday, but an employer may request the employee to work on a public holiday if the request is reasonable. If the request is not reasonable or the employee’s refusal is reasonable, then the employee may refuse to work on the public holiday.
Read more

Proposed changes to Fair Work Act to strengthen worker entitlements
Earlier this week, the Federal Government introduced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Bill 2023 (Bill), which aims to protect worker entitlements, promote gender equality and improve fairness.
Read more

Fair Work Commission quashes sham enterprise agreement
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) has quashed the approval of Mantle Group Hospitality’s Hot Wok Food Makers Workplace Agreement 2021 (‘the Hot Wok Agreement’). In finding that the agreement was incapable of having been ‘genuinely agreed to’, the Full Bench noted the employer’s “deliberate manipulation of the statutory process of making enterprise agreements”, with the General Manager of the FWC referring Mantle Group’s HR Manager to the Australian Federal Police for potential criminal prosecution.
Read more

NSW Workers Compensation – Claims for Psychological Injury
Mental Health conditions suffered by those in the work place, including psychological injury as a result of employment is a significant concern for employers Australia wide. This is not only due to the negative effects of mental illness on employees but in turn the significant costs incurred by businesses due to absence from the work place and generally, the payment of compensation or increased insurance premiums, when injury occurs in the workplace.
Read more

A four-day work week could help communities of faith – and us all
It was a Friday, the last day of a five-day workshop for young mid-career professionals from refugee backgrounds with skills in engineering, medicine, economics and other areas. Around midday, many of the Muslim participants began to appear anxious. They had been performing the usual prayers and meditations individually in quick lunch breaks the previous four days, but on Friday there was a clear desire to head to a mosque for congregational prayers with other community members.
Read more

Monash tries to dodge $10m wage theft bill as uni sector wage crisis deepens
Australia’s largest university, Monash, is seeking to avoid paying at least $10 million it allegedly owes its staff by using an unusual legal tactic to stop a wage theft claim being launched against it.
Read more


12th April 2023



Demotions and the unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act
When considering changes to an employee’s employment, employers need to be mindful that significant reductions in remuneration or duties may constitute a “dismissal” under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the FW Act).
Read more

Discretionary bonus schemes – can an employer deny payment?
Many Australian workers participate in employee incentive schemes designed to deliver a performance bonus if the employee achieves set objectives or targets over a certain period. A common dispute arises when a performance bonus is not paid due to a “discretion of the employer” clause in the Bonus Scheme Rules, a workplace policy or employment contract.
Read more

Heat of the moment resignation and constructive dismissal
For an employee to bring a valid unfair dismissal claim or a general protections claim involving dismissal, it should be obvious that they must have been dismissed by their employer.
Read more

What’s in a Word? How a Poorly Drafted Settlement Deed Cost a Business $1.5 Million
When employment disputes are resolved, it’s common for employers to enter into Deeds which record the terms of the settlement as well as containing other terms such as confidentiality and non-disparagement. And perhaps the most important clause in a Deed is the release clause, whereby the employee releases the employer from any claims they may have, thereby waiving their right to bring other types of claims and giving the business certainty that they are resolving all matters in dispute between the parties. However, a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria provides a cautionary tale for businesses and highlights the importance of ensuring these documents are properly drafted.
Read more

Work Health and Safety Regulators on a “Care Crusade”
In January, SA Support Services Incorporated, a registered charity providing accommodation and care services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, was convicted and fined $72,000 after failing to comply with their health and safety duty in breach of section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), a category 2 offence. This case is illustrative of a trend by work health and safety regulators nationwide in turning their attention to the care industry, both providers under the NDIS and healthcare providers more generally.
Read more

Australian Nursing Federation's WA branch agrees to pay potential $350,000 fine over strike at parliament house
The strike was held in defiance of orders from the state's Industrial Relations Commission, which its registrar has been seeking to enforce in a two-day hearing.
Read more

Menopause leaves many women suffering in silence at work, but the push for change is on
With two successful businesses to run and a team of staff to lead, Kate Sinfield could not afford to have anything get in her way. But three years ago, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she started showing symptoms of menopause.
Read more

Looking in the rear-view mirror – potential retrospective application of whistleblowing laws
On 22 May 2023, the Full Court of the Federal Court (Full Court) will hear submissions on the retrospective application of certain whistleblower protections as part of the proceedings in Watson v Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills Pty Ltd (NSD288/2022) (Watson).
Read more

Handling whistleblower investigations: Latest tips from ASIC
Since the new whistleblower regime commenced in 2019, ASIC has issued extensive guidance on the requirements for a compliant whistleblower policy. However, regulated entities have so far received little guidance on how they should handle a whistleblower disclosure or the subsequent investigations, and the penalties applicable to mismanagement of a whistleblower investigation are significant
Read more


5th April 2023



Breaking The Chains – ACCC Review Of Non-Compete And No-Poach Provisions In Employment Contracts
The Federal Government has recently passed some of the most extensive industrial relation reforms seen in Australia with the view to providing stronger protections for workers, improving job security and gender equity. Employers could soon be facing further changes, with the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh MP (Leigh), suggesting the use of ‘non-compete’ and ‘no-poach’ restraints in employment contracts is hampering job mobility and wage growth by preventing employees from taking up employment with higher paying competitors.
Read more

The importance of not creating a reason vacuum for employee dismissal
In the lead up to a dismissal it’s not uncommon to hear the comment “we don’t have to give a reason for the dismissal. They’re in their probationary period”. Although not without a kernel of truth, there’s unlikely to ever be a circumstance where an employer should not give clear and well-founded reasons for the decision to terminate an employee’s employment.
Read more

Fair Work Commission examines nexus between work and the online world following Facebook furore
The Fair Work Commission has recently denied an employee’s application for stop bullying orders where the alleged bullying occurred on Facebook and was not directly connected to the work the employee was expected to perform.
Read more

Payout brewing for café barista following her removal from WhatsApp roster system
The Fair Work Commission has delivered an emphatic warning to employers who organise rosters on digital platforms, finding that the removal of an employee from a WhatsApp group and the withholding of their shifts can constitute dismissal.
Read more

Federal Court clarifies when payments in lieu of notice must be delivered to parting employees
The Federal Court has provided a timely wake up call to employers who provide payments in lieu of notice after termination of employment, finding that such practice is unlawful and could subject employers to significant pecuniary penalties.
Read more

Federal Court Decision throws Rostering of Public Holidays into Disarray
A decision from the Federal Court on 28 March 2023 has overturned the conventional approach to rostering employees on public holidays. The impact of the decision on employers rostering employees to work public holidays is immediate and significant.
Read more

Speaking out in the workplace: The key is to object, but not be objectionable
Having a say is one of those fundamental parts of being human. Having our voices heard. It applies just as much in workplaces as it does elsewhere.
Read more

How Australia’s HR careers are rapidly evolving in changing workplaces
The latest State of the Human Resource Profession report, led by Deakin Business School’s Dr Justine Ferrer and featuring data from 390 HR professionals from across Australia, gives a snapshot in time of the profession right now.
Read more

Your next job interview could be judged by AI. Here’s how to prepare
You may know that artificial intelligence could scan your résumé when you apply for a job. But are you prepared to have an interview assessed by AI?
Read more

29th March 2023

AI could replace equivalent of 300 million jobs - report
Generative AI, able to create content indistinguishable from human work, is "a major advancement", the report says.
Read more

Was the principal contractor liable after a carpenter fell from scaffolding on a construction site? Which case won?
On 31 May 2021, a carpenter began working on a construction site in northern NSW, not far from the Queensland border. The principal contractor on the work site was a company based in Queensland. The carpenter had been contacted about the job by a NSW colleague he had known for decades, a licensed builder, allegedly on behalf of the principal contractor.
Read more

Binding without ink: Applicability of the ‘employee vs contractor’ test to unwritten agreements
Last year, the High Court handed down two landmark decisions, Personnel Contracting and Jamsek (the High Court Decisions), clarifying the distinction between employees and independent contractors (see our previous article ‘Contractor vs employee: The new legal approach’).
Read more

Workplace surveillance and employee monitoring on the rise
British and US surveys have found that since Covid lockdowns, when many more people started working from home, the number of businesses that undertake workplace surveillance and monitor employees’ activities is estimated to have more than doubled. A UK Trades Union survey found one in seven workers said surveillance had increased since the start of the pandemic.
Read more

Australian Reforms Tackle Psychosocial Hazards, Including Sexual Harassment, in the Workplace
In the wake of recent government inquiries into alleged bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, in Australian workplaces, Australian legislatures and work health and safety regulators have become increasingly focused on the psychological health and safety of workers. These developments have highlighted the need for employers to better understand and proactively manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace in order to safeguard the psychological, as well as physical, health and safety of all persons in the workplace.
Read more

Can you be fired for having an OnlyFans?
Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the NSW industry complaints body for nurses and midwives has warned workers against uploading explicit content to the platform OnlyFans. OnlyFans is a subscription based online content provider, where performers upload images and video that users can access for a fee. Whilst not inherently a pornography website, the most popular content creators on the platform are known to upload sexually explicit content. What does the law say about having a sexually adventurous side gig in NSW?
Read more

ChatGPT: why it will probably remain just a tool that does inefficient work more efficiently
ChatGPT is a remarkable technological development, capable of writing compelling prose that comes across as natural, coherent and knowledgeable. But it has its limits, and can be made to say silly things. I managed to get it to say that 450 was larger than 500, and others have made it claim that 1lb of feathers weighs the same as 2lbs of bricks.
Read more

The great resignation that wasn’t
So, that was a fizzer then, wasn’t it? Never mind, a bunch of consultants and corporate speakers no doubt made a decent quid out of the well trodden path of taking reports out of the USA to whip up a frenzy in Australia. I am talking about the “Great Resignation”. Remember that? Circa 2021, we were being bombarded by nonsense everywhere we looked, that we were about to give lemmings a run for their money over the employment cliff by resigning en masse.
Read more

4.4m Australians could have better workplace experience
As associate director of accessibility, inclusion and diversity at NAB, Jenny Watts-Sampson is well versed in the complexities of ensuring a large workplace is accessible for all. But part of her message to other employers is simple. “Never assume – always ask – and remember each disability is unique, and the impact of that disability is different for each person,” she says.
Read more

Uber drivers criticise rideshare giant’s ‘misleading’ campaign spruiking flexibility for Australian workers
Uber drivers say the rideshare giant’s campaign spruiking flexibility for workers is “misleading”, arguing they are already treated as employees with none of the benefits. Last week Uber launched a campaign featuring first-hand accounts of how the company’s flexibility to work when, where and how they want helps Australians wanting to earn a side income. It has been splashed across billboards and features video testimonials from workers explaining how they can work around other commitments like acting auditions and running a music business.
Read more

‘Golden opportunity’: NSW Labor under pressure to deliver promised public sector wage rises
The incoming Labor premier of New South Wales, Chris Minns, will face immediate pressure from union leaders to make good on his promise to lift public sector wages and overhaul working conditions. With counting suspended on Sunday, Labor was in reach of forming a slim majority government in NSW 12 years after it was swept from power in the landslide defeat of 2011.
Read more

22nd March 2023

Unfair Dismissal Claim
An unfair dismissal claim arises when an employer dismisses an employee in a harsh, unjust, or unreasonable manner. The Fair Work Act 2009 governs laws relating to employment in the private sector. Hence, a party must lodge an unfair dismissal claim to the Fair Work Commission (FWC), which is Australia’s independent employment tribunal in charge of employment claims.
Read more

Further sweeping reforms coming to Australia’s employment landscape?
Following hot on the heels of the significant changes effected by the Better Pay, Secure Jobs amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), a Senate Committee’s recommendations would fundamentally change the way we work and care for others.
Read more

Can employees be required to work additional hours?
Federal Independent MP, Monique Ryan, is being sued by her former Chief of Staff, Sally Rugg, for allegedly being involved in the Commonwealth’s decision to terminate her employment because she refused to work “unreasonable” additional hours (Rugg). Furthermore, the Finance Sector Union has recently taken NAB to court for allegedly requiring certain employees to work “unreasonable” additional hours.
Read more

Organisations Cutting Staff: A Reminder of Genuine Redundancy Obligations
Over the past year, there have been several large-scale redundancies at some of the biggest global organisations, including in Australia. The approach taken by some of these organisations has attracted significant media attention. This has often been due to the scale of the redundancies, and the nature of communicating the redundancies (often by email or a single Zoom meeting).
Read more

Are the days of non-compete terms numbered?
The Australian Government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate, among other things, the effect of contractual non-compete terms in employment contracts on wage growth. In a speech to the Per Capita think tank and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, cited numerous findings overseas of the negative impacts non-compete terms can have on wage growth and worker mobility, as well as the wider economic impacts of labour market concentration.
Read more

$4.8M in Wesfarmers Underpayments Show the Importance of Paying Employees Correctly
In February 2023, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) confirmed that seven subsidiaries of Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety Pty Ltd (Wesfarmers) were required to back-pay more than $4.8 million to over 3,400 underpaid employees. The case demonstrates why it is essential for businesses to pay employees correctly or else risk future wage disputes.
Read more

Sydney rail workers win wage cap battle after prolonged industrial action
Rail workers in Sydney will receive an extra 1% yearly increase in their pay after the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision in a long-running wages dispute. The commission’s ruling means workers will receive the additional pay increase on top of the existing offer made by the state government when negotiations for a new enterprise agreement began in May 2021.
Read more

Labor and Greens senators back four-day work week
Australia should trial a four-day work week at full pay and more than double paid parental leave (PPL) to 52 weeks, according to recommendations backed by Labor and Greens senators. The Senate work and care committee reported on Thursday, calling for a suite of policies that would radically adjust work-life balance, to make more time for caring responsibilities and boost quality of life.
Read more

Why listening to diverse voices is as important as having them at the table
This week is Harmony Week, which is all about celebrating Australian multiculturalism. However, Tuesday, March 21, is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In recent years, there has been growing recognition that employers have their role to play in this.
Read more

The four-day week seems impossible — an employee's dream. So why is it working?
When Liz Indrans found out her work was going to a four-day week model, she was torn. "I thought: 'Amazing!' Selfishly, I was like, 'This is a great idea'," she said. But the operations manager of design agency Your Creative has 18 staff and needs to get five days' work out of them every week to make the business work.
Read more

The ‘great resignation’ didn’t happen in Australia, but the ‘great burnout’ did
You’ve probably heard about the “great resignation” which saw large numbers of people resigning from their jobs in the US in 2021 and 2022. We didn’t see resignations over and above what is normal in Australia. However, we did see workers resisting the post-COVID return to the office. To better understand these trends, we conducted a study of 1,400 employed Australians in 2022 to see how they were faring two years after the start of the pandemic.
And the answer is: not great.
Read more


15th March 2023



Volunteer workplace rights and obligations
It is estimated that nearly 6 million people volunteer their time, knowledge and expertise through various organisations annually across Australia. Volunteers are not covered by any State or Federal employment awards or workplace agreements, however, they still have workplace rights that are protected in legislation.
Read more

Fair Work Act amendments commenced on 6 March 2023: Is this relevant to you?
If you work in state government or for a Local Council, you may (quite reasonably!) assume that upcoming amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) have no relevance to you. But not so fast. They do! Blame the external affairs power and read on. The landmark Respect@Work Report observed that our legal framework was not effectively preventing sexual harassment because it is focused on addressing and responding to conduct that had already occurred. It called on legislators to shift the focus by requiring duty holders to proactively prevent discrimination and harassment.
Read more

What is ‘Fair and Reasonable Overtime’ in Australia?
Legal proceedings involving an Independent Member of Pariliament and her subordinate, a political staffer, were described as an ’important test case’ in relation to the meaning of ‘fair and reasonable’ overtime’ in the workplace. The matter was adjudicated upon yesterday, with the Federal Court of Australia dismissing the staffer’s interlocutory application to get her job back on the basis she was terminated for refusing to work in excess of 70 hours a week, with the judge finding that such hours were not unfair given the nature of her position.
Read more

How will the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act impact sexual harassment and discrimination in workplace?
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Amending Act) has made substantial amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). In the fourth part of this series, we look at the provisions regarding sexual harassment and anti-discrimination, and what the changes mean for employers.
Read more

Five top HR fails in medical practices
Setting up a medical practice, employing practice staff, maybe taking on some other doctors as well? What could possibly go wrong? Here are five of the most common human resource management fails in medical practices that come across our desks.
Read more

The significance of legal representation in employment law: why hiring a lawyer is crucial
Employment law in Australia governs the relationships between employers and employees and covers a wide range of issues, including contracts, wages and conditions, leave, discrimination, and termination of employment. In this article, we will discuss the key aspects of employment law in Australia and the importance of engaging a lawyer to assist you in these matters.
Read more

Proposed tax on super balances greater than $3 million
The Treasurer’s proposed change to taxation on superannuation balances over $3 million is currently very long on rhetoric and very short on detail. The little detail we have so far comes from a short Treasury fact sheet and a number of statements to the press and parliament, which seem to only add to the confusion.
Read more

How long can you stay on Workcover Queensland?
WorkCover Queensland is the largest workers’ compensation insurer in Queensland, Australia. If you’ve been injured at work, WorkCover may provide you with financial and medical support during your recovery period.
Read more

What Counts as a Family Emergency?
What is a valid reason for a family emergency in employment law matters in Australia? Employees and employers may experience unforeseen circumstances. For example, personal issues may arise such as a car accident, a family member’s mental health problem, or childcare issues. However, is it legal for workers to take urgent leave for their families? Are there laws that support such emergency leaves?
Read more

Is unpaid work legal in Australia?
There are some unpaid work arrangements that are lawful and some that are not. Whether an unpaid work arrangement is lawful or not depends upon the nature of the arrangement. Often lawful unpaid work arrangements entered into include vocational placements, unpaid internships, unpaid work experience, and unpaid work trials.
Read more

Sydney rail workers win wage cap battle after prolonged industrial action
Rail workers in Sydney will receive an extra 1% yearly increase in their pay after the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision in a long-running wages dispute. The commission’s ruling means workers will receive the additional pay increase on top of the existing offer made by the state government when negotiations for a new enterprise agreement began in May 2021.
Read more

‘Keep working like nothing is wrong’: women make the case for paid menstruation leave
The majority of working women suffer period pain so great it affects their performance - but three in four feel they can't talk to their manager about it, according to preliminary findings of a survey of Australia's biggest unions. The survey, conducted by law firm Maurice Blackburn on behalf of the Australian Workers Union, the Transport Workers Union, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RBTU) and the United Workers Union, is part of a national campaign to introduce menstrual and menopausal leave.
Read more


8th March 2023



Skilled migration system needs overhaul to address labour shortages
Skilled migration is critical to addressing Australia’s skills crisis. But for it to be effective, our broken visa system needs a radical fix.
Read more

The day a chatbot showed more empathy than my HR adviser
How the heck is a robot more thoughtful and heartfelt than humans in an HR department?
Read more

Leadership program tailored for women of colour
For senior managers, the opportunity to undertake leadership programs can be an important part of career progression, building both skills and networks. But what if those programs were inaccessible, or designed without your needs in mind?
Read more

Australian workers slammed for unrealistic salary expectations
Aussie employers believe people have become too greedy – despite the skyrocketing cost of living – with 61 per cent finding a candidate for a new role in the last 12 months who had “unrealistic salary expectations“, new research has revealed.
Read more

Sally Rugg's bid to keep working for Monique Ryan dismissed by federal court
Sally Rugg has failed in her bid to keep her job as a staffer for independent MP Monique Ryan pending the full trial of her Fair Work case alleging she was sacked for refusing “unreasonable” additional hours.
Read more

What is Done, is not always Done
Let’s start by putting things into context. When employers and employees resolve a dispute using a Deed of Release or Settlement Agreement, they’re usually doing it because they want to move forward, and they have little-to-no intention of finding themselves back in the middle of a dispute anytime soon. So, when an employer does a deal and signs a document with an employee that contains a general or comprehensive release of all claims, the practical reality is that hostilities usually end or are avoided, and both the employer and employee move on in different directions.
Read more

Peek behind the curtain: Employer gender pay gap data to be published
While employers with more than 100 employees have had to report on their pay gap statistics for over a decade, as a result of the reforms, this data will now be published by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (the “Agency”). The Bill attempts to put pressure on employers to take the gender pay gap within their organisation seriously as pay gap data for each employer will be publicly available.
Read more

Want to support companies that support women? Look at your investments through a 'gender lens' – here's how
Change is slow despite the well-established evidence showing the merits of improving gender equity for businesses – including better firm performance – and excellent initiatives such as Mind The Gap. But there is a way to support companies that have made the change towards greater gender equity – and encourage others to do the same: we can invest with a “gender lens”.
Read more

What are 'reasonable' hours? The Ryan-Rugg legal stoush may help the rest of us know
The court case against federal independent parliamentarian Monique Ryan by her former chief of staff Sally Rugg will, according to Rugg’s lawyers, open the door to legal action “by every Australian worker experiencing exploitation because of a contractual obligation to perform undefined ‘reasonable additional’ hours”. Given the pecularities of the case, that’s unlikely. But the case will put the spotlight on an important, but rarely tested, question of what “reasonable” overtime means.
Read more

Women earn $1m less than men over lifetime and retire with $136,000 less super, study finds
Research released on International Women’s Day adds to growing calls to pay more parental leave and for superannuation on paid parental leave
Read more


1 March 2023



Are you hiring? Beware of illegal interview questions
Job interviews are daunting – you need the job, but it seems all the power lies in the hands of the company’s interviewer. It’s their task to elicit as much information about you as possible to see if you’re right for the job. However, there are limits to what prospective employers can ask you, with some requests for information potentially being illegal interview questions.
Read more

Sex worker claims unfair dismissal by brothel – but was she an employee? Which case won?
A sex worker commenced working at a Melbourne brothel in August 2019. Her work arrangement was set out in an agency agreement, which specified that she was not a partner, a joint venturer or an employee of the brothel. The agreement further stated that the sex worker was free to refuse any client booking on any grounds, and that the brothel did not direct or control sex workers “in the nature or conduct of delivering their personal services”.
Read more

Workcover Lump Sum Permanent Impairment Payment Amounts
When you’ve had a workplace injury, the statutory benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) includes funding for medical treatment and weekly compensation. However, the benefits do not last forever. They are only paid until a medical opinion is provided to the insurer (usually Workcover Queensland) that suggests your symptoms are not likely to improve with any further medical treatment. This is commonly known as your injuries becoming ‘stable and stationary’.
Read more

Long Service Leave Payout on Resignation
Long service leave payout on resignation may be possible depending on the number of years an employee has worked for his/her employer. This is an important topic of consideration under employment law. Moreover, long services leave payout on resignation also depends on if the reason the employee is resigning is simply to take a new position with a different employer. In this article we will look at long service leave entitlements and the meaning of long service leave payout on resignation.
Read more

Discrimination at Work in Australia
Some employees may experience discrimination at work and may just put up with it or resign from their position. Discrimination typically occurs when a person or a group of people are treated less favourably than another person or group. Some factors that may influence discrimination are race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, or disability. Broadly, there are three types of workplace discrimination.
Read more

Genuine Redundancy
Genuine redundancy occurs when an employer lawfully terminates a person’s job since that role is no longer relevant. Employers may also conduct this if they want to restructure their company’s operations. The reason for the redundancy is considered “genuine” if it is not related to the individual performance of the employee.
Read more

Understanding your organisation’s rights if the Fair Work Ombudsman issues a Notice to Produce
The power of the FWO, which is exercised through its appointed inspectors, to issue NTPs is constrained by section 706 of the FW Act. This section requires that all compliance powers are exercised in accordance with the following purposes to determine whether the FW Act, an industrial instrument, or contractual safety net has or is being complied with; Any other purposes prescribed by the Fair Work Regulations, or any other legislation.
Read more

The Australian research that's rewriting the book on burnout – and the five red flags to watch for
Burnout seems to be affecting so many people right now it is surprising the experience is not officially recognised in Australia as a medical or mental health condition. That may be about to change. Australian researchers are building a case to change the status of burnout so it ranks alongside psychological illnesses like anxiety or depression, with which burnout is frequently confused.
Read more

Dozens of UK companies trialled a four-day working week last year. On average, their revenue went up
The results of the world's largest four-day working week trial are in — and most companies are sticking with the change. Revenue actually went up by 1.4 per cent, on average, with that figure being weighted by company size.
Read more

ABC staff to walk off the job on 7 March in first industrial action in 17 years
ABC journalists will walk off the job for 40 minutes next Tuesday – the first protected industrial action in 17 years. The industrial action – the first step in a campaign of rolling action to improve pay and conditions, has been timed to make it difficult to cover a key news story – the Reserve Bank Australia (RBA) board meeting and official cash rate announcement on 7 March.
Read more

Australian universities advised to avoid being ‘roped into’ multi-employer bargaining, leaked strategy reveals
Universities are being advised how to avoid being “roped into” multi-employer bargaining for better wages and pay conditions, a leaked roadmap has revealed. The strategy roadmap written by the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which represents more than 32 tertiary institutions, gives advice to universities about three enterprise agreement scenarios under Labor’s multi-employer bargaining reforms, which will come into effect in June.
Read more

Upholding Qantas’s decision to sack staff would weaken workplace rights, union warns
Upholding Qantas’s decision to sack staff ahead of industrial action would create “uncertainty” about accessing workplace rights and water down protections against other forms of discrimination, such as sacking workers before they accrue parental leave. That is the submission of the Transport Workers’ Union in the airline’s high court case seeking to overturn the finding that it illegally outsourced 1,700 ground handler jobs.
Read more

22 Feb 2023



What is the Maximum Hours Employees Can Work in a Week?
As an employer, rostering forms a significant part of your role. You want to balance the number of staff required to successfully operate your business with your employees’ needs, as well as what may have been agreed upon in an employment contract. Notably, there are rules concerning the maximum number of hours employees can work in a week. This article explores the legal position of maximum working hours, unreasonable additional hours and averaging arrangements.
Read more

When Reasonable Hours of Work Don’t Make the Cut
The recent Federal Court decision in Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union v Dick Stone Pty Ltd[1] concluded that it was unreasonable to require a worker to work 50 hours per week in his employment at a meat wholesaler.
Read more

New shutdown rules for 78 modern awards
The Full Bench was particularly concerned that existing clauses provided a “general entitlement to take leave without pay” in circumstances where the employee had not accrued enough paid annual leave to cover the period of the shutdown.
Read more

How to face being asked to do unnecessary tasks at work
Have you ever wondered if the work you are doing is, well, er, legitimate? I do not refer to being passed a brown paper envelope of used low denomination banknotes (no consecutive serial numbers). Clearly there is nothing dodgy about that all...
Read more

Why dating a co-worker is more acceptable now
If workers are finding romance in their workplace ... it’s key that employers have a workplace romance policy in place.
Read more

‘No one was feeling safe’: Young McDonald’s workers walk off the job after claims of sexual harassment
Young workers at a McDonald’s in regional Victoria walked off the job in an unusual snap action to protest against the fast-food giant’s handling of several serious complaints of workplace sexual harassment.
Read more

Australia’s largest broccolini farmer was fined for hiring unlawful workers. Now it’s being sued by labourers
The United Workers Union last week lodged legal action on behalf of three workers who picked broccolini at Victorian farms run by companies M&G Vizzarri and VBA Farming, both owned by members of the Vizzarri family.
Read more

Australia’s new pay equality law risks failing women – unless we make this simple fix
The Albanese government’s efforts to address the gender pay gap are laudable. Despite all the attention given to the issue over the past decade or so, sectoral pay discrimination is very real and workplace biases persist.
Read more

ChatGPT just the start: Here are 10 AI workplace tools that can boost productivity
Here’s a roundup of 10 other tools that workers might consider adding to their list to improve productivity, including one that helps you make smart workplace decisions and others that summarize meetings into presentation slides.
Read more

How to tell if your workplace is actually toxic
People are quicker than ever to label workplaces or managers “toxic.” In many ways, that’s a good thing, calling out ugly cultures and more subtle forms of workplace bullying that were previously tolerated. But – like its cousin “gaslighting” – the word has also become a catch-all and is in danger of being misapplied, experts warn.
Read more


15th February 2023



Labor's Industrial Relations Reforms - how will they impact you?
The first tranche of Labor's Industrial Relations reforms were announced in December 2022 and Tim Greenall, Madgwicks Lawyers Special Counsel in workplace relations recently gave a presentation that takes you through these changes and highlights the key points you need to know in running your business in 2023 and going forward. The Act came into force on the 6th of December last year and a brief summary of the key sections, together with their various commencement dates are highlighted below.
Read more

Flexible Work Update
The passage of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Cth) has brought about significant changes to the obligation on employers to provide Flexible Working Arrangements. Holman Webb foreshadowed these changes in our October 2022 article The Future of Flexible Work: Amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009. The changes come into force on 6 June 2023. It is important that employers consider the changes, given the prevalence of flexible working arrangements in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Read more

Valentine's Day in the Workplace
This article highlights how Valentine's gifts and cards given in the workplace can be a legal minefield for employers given recent amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act.
Read more

Restraint of Trade and Non-Compete Restraint Clauses
Employment contracts, like terms and conditions, are often unread and can contain unexpected surprises if not reviewed carefully before signing. Employment contracts for senior employees or those with a position of influence over clients or client information usually contain ‘restraint of trade’ or ‘non-compete restraint’ clauses which can catch employees off guard when they leave their employment.
Read more

Unfair Dismissal Payout Australia
Some employees may want to claim unfair dismissal payout if they’re wrongfully terminated in their workplace. This essentially means that an employer has treated an employee unfairly which led to his/her termination. Unfair dismissal claims may cause legal disputes between employers and employees that can further escalate into unfavourable situations. Making claims for unfair dismissal may also involve a lot of complex and difficult procedures. Hence, it’s important to read this article that discusses unfair dismissal payout in Australia.
Read more

Psychosocial Risk Prevention - What do Employers Need to Know?
In July 2022, Safe Work Australia released a new Code of Practice concerning the management of psychosocial hazards at work. This document is very similar to a Code released by SafeWork NSW in May 2021. These Codes require employers to take active steps to manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace.
Read more

The definition of burnout needs to change, argues Black Dog Institute founder Gordon Parker
To Gordon Parker, the phrase "burnout" brings to mind a perception that doesn't stack up, misplaced blame and a list of symptoms that falls short. Professor Parker, head of UNSW's school of psychiatry and founder of the Black Dog Institute, considers this part of a widespread misunderstanding of burnout. He disagrees with the World Health Organisation definition of it as "a syndrome … resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed".
Read more

NSW government recruitment program hires 11 teachers after two years as vacancies tip 2,000
A $14-million government program to attract teachers to work in New South Wales schools has been labelled a failure by the teachers union, with several schools still with vacant positions. The Recruitment Beyond program was announced in 2021 with a goal of recruiting more than 560 teachers from interstate and overseas by 2024.
Read more

The anti-work revolution driving a huge cultural change
The work ethic is the most important engine of capitalist civilisation. It keeps workers working long after they have satisfied their basic needs, drives entrepreneurs to found new companies and inventors to invent new things, and, in general, generates the surplus that pays for productive investment and social welfare.
Read more

ABC staff offered one-off $1500 payment in new negotiations
Australian Broadcasting Corporation employees have been offered a one-off payment of $1500 in the latest revisions to a hotly disputed enterprise agreement proposal. In an email sent to ABC staff seen by The Herald and The Age a summary of the revised offer was sent to staff by chief people officer Dharma Chandran.
Read more


8th February 2023



Hospitality group’s head of HR, reportedly referred to police by the Fair Work Commission (FWC)
The Brisbane city council will review its lease agreement with Mantle Group at prime CBD locations once a dispute over its controversial penalty rates deal is over. This comes as the Mantle Group Hospitality’s head of human resources, Darren Latham, was reportedly referred to police by the Fair Work Commission (FWC)
Read more

MP Monique Ryan and chief of staff Sally Rugg agree to mediation in work hours dispute
Federal MP Monique Ryan and her chief of staff Sally Rugg have put their legal dispute on ice, agreeing to go to mediation after their lawyers fronted the Federal Court. Ms Rugg — who was appointed Dr Ryan's chief of staff after her election win in Kooyong — took legal action against her boss and claimed additional hours she was asked to work were "unreasonable".
Read more

Employee Poaching
Employee poaching or job poaching is not new in workplaces. It happens when an employer solicits workers from other companies to work with them instead. While this gives more options to the solicited employee, this endangers the company that they are in. This commonly occurs if highly skilled employees are providing significant progress to their company.
Read more

Employee Background Check
It’s only right for employers to conduct an employee background check in the recruitment process. Employers must ensure that they are not hiring someone who has a criminal background or who has a bad record from their previous company. Some common issues found in a comprehensive background check for employees are pending charges in courts in or out of Australia, non-conviction charges, disciplinary records relating to abuse of any kind, and apprehended violence orders (AVOs) or intervention orders.
Read more

Assessing Overseas Service – The Fog is Starting to Clear
Whether to recognise an employee’s overseas service with a related company or not, has long been a source of dispute when determining local long service leave entitlements. For decades, the answer hid somewhere in the fog of whether there was a “sufficient connection” between that overseas service and the local jurisdiction (i.e. New South Wales). Caselaw from the 70’s and 80’s established the approach that the sufficiency of that connection was to be assessed retrospectively at the time the long service leave entitlement was claimed (for example, once the employee had potentially completed 10 years of continuous service, or on the termination of the employment).
Read more

Autism and Mental Disability in the Workplace – an Employee’s Duty to Disclose
A recent case before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the “FCFCA”) dismissed an employee’s adverse action and discrimination claims and upheld the employee’s dismissal because the employee had failed to disclose to his employer his mental disability.
Read more

Workplace reforms back on agenda when parliament returns next week, Tony Burke says
The Albanese government will next week begin negotiations on a second wave of workplace reforms as it all but rules out bringing back bargaining fees for non-union members. The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, who is also the leader of the house, set out the Albanese government’s 2023 agenda at the National Press Club on Wednesday, including the launch of new industrial relations negotiations for a second tranche of reforms.
Read more

NSW teachers should have a 25% pay bump in coming years, research suggests
Wages for New South Wales school teachers should be up to 25% higher before the end of the decade to counter long-term wage suppression and inflation, according to researchers from the University of Sydney who found educators were among the worst-paid professions.
Read more

One in five trainee doctors considering leaving medicine amid bullying and heavy workloads
During an orientation session for junior doctors in Adelaide recently, staff were asked to put up their hand if they had ever seen or experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace. "The majority of hands went up," said Hannah Szewczyk, a trainee obstetrician and gynaecologist. As chair of the Australian Medical Association's (AMA) Council of Doctors in Training, Dr Szewczyk said problems with heavy workloads were even more widespread.
Read more

SA government maintains secrecy over SafeWork SA legal advice relating to murdered nurse Gayle Woodford's death
The widow of a man who was killed on a construction site says she is angry at the South Australian government's decision to maintain secrecy over legal advice relating to murdered nurse Gayle Woodford's death. Jorge Castillo-Riffo was killed while working on the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2014 and his partner Pam Gurner-Hall said it took her years to get answers about what happened.
Read more


1 Feb 2023



Looks like an employee, works like an employee, behaves like an employee but they could be a contractor?
The Courts have stopped applying the 'looks like a duck, quacks like a duck' approach to determining employment status, and are less swayed by the characteristics and substance of the working relationship between two parties. Even if the substance of a relationship indicates something different, courts will focus primarily on the (hopefully) comprehensive written terms of the contract between parties, to which they have agreed to be bound, in order to determine whether a particular worker should be classified as an employee or as a contractor..
Read more

Secret Surveillance: Fair Work Commission decides that employer can rely on recordings of internal employee telephone conversations to defend unfair dismissal claim
A recent decision highlights the circumstances in which an employer can legally record and use employee telephone conversations in Fair Work Commission (FWC) proceedings. The FWC found that the employer’s evidence of “extremely offensive” conversations was admissible for the purpose of defending an unfair dismissal claim, because it held that using the recordings would not be inconsistent with any legislation or the worker’s employment contract.
Read more

Key dates for employers in 2023
There is no doubt that late 2022 was a busy and interesting time for employment, human resources and industrial relations practitioners. In November and December 2022, three key pieces of industrial relation’s legislation were enacted. This article provides an overview of the key commencement dates under the Acts for employers and human resources and industrial relations practitioners throughout 2023.
Read more

What is an enterprise agreement?
In contrast to Awards, which cover minimum pay and conditions for a specified industry, enterprise agreements can cover specific arrangements for a particular company. Three types of enterprise agreements can be made under the Fair Work Act.
Read more

Post-Employment Restraints: What is Reasonable?
In a recent case the NSW Court of Appeal (the “Court of Appeal”), considered the issue of whether the post-employment restraints of a senior manager and his more junior employee were reasonable. The post-employment restraints prevented the employees from joining a competitor.
Read more

Amendments to Professional Employees Award 2020 Will Require Overtime Pay and Penalty Rates for Engineers, IT Professionals and Scientists
On January 20, 2023, Australia's Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued an important decision that makes significant amendments to the Professional Employees Award 2020 (Award). Documents known as “modern awards” in Australia are statutory terms and condition of employment that apply to certain employees in the information technology, medical research, quality auditing or telecommunications services industries.
Read more

First Nations people often take on the ‘cultural load’ in their workplaces. Employers need to ease this burden
"Cultural load" in the context of the workplace is the invisible workload employers knowingly or unknowingly place on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to provide Indigenous knowledge, education and support. This is often done without any formally agreed reduction or alteration to their workload.
Read more

It’s not all about gender or ethnicity: a blind spot in diversity programs is holding equality back
Diversity, inclusion and equity policies are now broadly endorsed in Australian organisations. But not all diversities are equal. Our research suggests while programs for women and some racial minorities are being embraced, other diversities are excluded.
Read more

Consensus decision-making is surprisingly effective in both communities and workplaces
Perhaps the most critical times to use a durable consensus decision-making process are when a decision is going to be controversial, or if the success of the decision relies on enthusiastic acceptance.
Read more


25th Jan 2023



Can I choose to work on Australia Day or do I have to take the public holiday?
Employers — from supermarkets to big corporates — are giving staff the choice to work on Australia Day, despite January 26 being a public holiday. The move comes as companies recognise "January 26 is not a day of celebration" and are giving workers the option "out of respect for all First Nations peoples". Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says it is a matter between an employee and their employer.
Read more

Redefining Long Service Leave in NSW: “substantial connection” test changed
On 14 December 2022, the New South Wales Court of Appeal in Wipro Ltd v New South Wales [2022] NSWCA 265 changed the NSW position on how statutory long service leave operates. This decision narrows who has an entitlement to statutory long service leave, by redefining how “substantial connection” to the state is assessed, impacting employers whose employees have completed part of their service outside of the state including overseas.
Read more

How workplaces can encourage diverse personalities, values and attitudes
If you work for an organization that believes diversity can increase organizational performance and employee well-being, we have a secret to share with you: despite what is commonly espoused about diversity, very few organizations have actually achieved benefits through current diversity approaches.
Read more

More than 120 employers fined for safety breaches in 2022
Fourteen of those companies were hit with six-figure penalties for breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act, with the total of all fines imposed by the courts $5,588,750. Offences involving working at heights saw 35 duty holders prosecuted and fined. This was followed by matters involving inadequate or absent guarding (23) and unsafe, or unsafe use of, machinery (18) and forklifts (11).
Read more

Australia Day work options limited by 'industrial roadblock' for employers
A family violence service in central Victoria is considering changing its employee bargaining agreement to allow staff the option of working on Australia Day. It's an issue cropping up across the country as growing numbers of Australians voice their opposition to the day on the basis it was not inclusive or sensitive to Indigenous citizens.
Read more

Changes to federal laws are set to make it easier for employees to request flexible work
As COVID-19 restrictions around the country were scrapped this year, many Australian employers told staff it was time to return to the office. However, that was not the case with Neha Dahiya's workplace. Instead, employees at the accountancy and financial services firm she works for have been told they can maintain their flexible working arrangements.
Read more

Federal government to intervene in transport union’s high court fight against Qantas
The federal government will join the Transport Workers’ Union’s (TWU) high court fight with Qantas as the airline bids to overturn a ruling that it illegally outsourced 1,700 ground handlers’ jobs. The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, filed a notice of appearance on 16 January to intervene in the case, in which Qantas hopes to overturn a full federal court decision exposing it to a mammoth compensation bill for laying off staff at 10 airports in November 2020.
Read more

Both men and women want more women in construction and a more family friendly workplace
Despite being qualified to operate a range of heavy equipment and having almost two decades of experience, when Samantha Fratus walks on to a site, builders are often surprised by what they see. The slight-framed, 36-year-old — who goes by "Sam" instead of "Samantha" when applying for jobs — stands out in the male-dominated construction industry.
Read more

Inappropriate behaviour confirmed as sackable conduct
Inappropriate behaviour of staff and supervisors against company direction and policy is increasingly likely to result in dismissal for serious misconduct. The Fair Work Act 2009 regulates applications for unfair dismissal remedies, where dismissed persons may apply to the Fair Work Commission to order a remedy for unfair dismissal.
Read more

Universal Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave Commences 1 February 2023
From 1 February 2023, employers with 15 or more employees will be required to provide their employees with 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave (FDVL) per year as part of the latest addition to the National Employment Standards (NES).
Read more


19th Jan 2023



FWC Says Alcohol and Work Function Doesn’t Mix
Many employers will have had festive celebrations throughout December and navigated responsible alcohol consumption at these events. Such festive celebrations are not limited to December and many opportunities arise throughout the year for workplace celebrations. While everyone looks forward to such events, they can quickly turn into a HR nightmare for employers, as workers are presented with an opportunity to “let their hair down”.
Read more

Legal Considerations for Managing Employees Across Australia
Operating a business and managing employees in multiple jurisdictions can be challenging. Whilst this is likely a sign your business is doing well, you may wonder how best to comply with your legal obligations. Fortunately, Australian employment law — specifically, the Fair Work Act 2009, the National Employment Standards and modern awards — is federal (national) law. This article will outline certain legal considerations to bear in mind when managing employees across Australia. Specifically, it will set out how to best protect your business through well-drafted employment agreements and employee policies. Further, it will offer some helpful guidance on state and territory law relevant to your employees and provide some helpful tips on best practices.
Read more

Replacing the Existing Leave Entitlement: Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave
In Australia, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA) grants employees various leave entitlements. One such entitlement involves section106A of the FWA which grants an employee five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. However, section 106A and other provisions relating to family and domestic violence leave has recently been amended. This update seeks to summarise the recent legislative changes and its implications for Australian businesses.
Read more

Sharing the Love – Employee Share Options and Equity Incentives
Employee share options and equity incentives can be powerful tools for attracting and retaining top talent, aligning employee and shareholder interests, and motivating employees to contribute to the success of a company. These benefits are particularly relevant in Australia, where the use of equity incentives has become increasingly common in recent years.
Read more

No remedy for mine workers who lost jobs after refusing to move interstate
A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has upheld the actions of a company which directed its employees to relocate interstate or have their employment terminated: Bourke & Clifford V OS MCAP [2022] FWCFB 178.
Read more

Bullied at work? What the Fair Work Commission looks for when making stop bullying orders
Employees who reasonably believes that they have been bullied at work can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop bullying. When assessing these claims, the Commission will consider the evidence and determine whether that evidence constitutes bullying behaviour. The Fair Work Act states that bullying in the workplace occurs when an employee (or group of employees) subjects a colleague to repeated unreasonable behaviour, which has the risk of causing damage to the recipient’s health and safety. Reasonable management action carried out reasonably is not considered workplace bullying.
Read more

Do I have to disclose an illness or disability to my employer?
If you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness or you suffer a disability, likely at the forefront of your thoughts is, ‘what detail do I have to tell my employer about my illness or disability?’ The future may hold periods of absence from work in order to see doctors and to get treatment. Is this going to affect my employment?
Read more

Worker’s compensation claims for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
If you have been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) then you will already know just how painful and debilitating this injury can be. If the onset of this condition was caused by an injury or incident at work, you may be entitled to make a claim for worker’s compensation. This article will examine worker’s compensation claims for a CRPS injury and a recent Supreme Court judgment that awarded a plaintiff suffering with CRPS over $1.95 million in compensation.
Read more

Stress Leave Australia
This article will discuss workplace stress leave in Australia. What does this mean? Stress leave or mental health leaves allows workers/employees to take a leave from work when they are feeling overwhelmed, irritable, or troubled. Every person in the world experiences stress, especially when they are in the working class.
Read more

Unfair Dismissal Payout Australia
Some employees may want to claim unfair dismissal payout if they’re wrongfully terminated in their workplace. This essentially means that an employer has treated an employee unfairly which led to his/her termination.
Read more

With the new frontier in workplace flexibility, is the nine-to-five office work day dead at last?
In the depths of COVID lockdown over the past few years, a quiet revolution was gaining pace. Working from home transformed from something employees used to have to fight for, to a concept that was so mainstream it even had its own acronym: WFH. Just like that, generations of office culture was overturned and when COVID restrictions lifted the hybrid work model of blending office days with WFH days became the new normal for many Australians.
Read more


12th Jan 2023



Working from home has been a hit – is the four-day work week next?
Employers have been playing tug of war with employees who are keen to retain their pandemic privileges. Will they be keeping them in 2023?
Read more

Can unions stop the membership tumble in 2023?
Following the full-throated scrap over the government’s workplace reforms, data emerged mid last month that neither the business lobby nor the union movement would’ve been keen to spruik. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ line graph of the latest national union membership figures resembles a 46-year tumble down a rocky slope.
Read more

What if your colleague is a bot? Harnessing the benefits of workplace automation without alienating staff
The need for businesses to adapt to the workplace demands of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, with clear implications for jobs and workers. But just how much employees worry about the threat of automation – and how real those fears are – can have implications for workplaces beyond the technological change itself.
Read more

Digital nomad visas offer the best of two worlds: what you should know before you go
Imagine starting your work day with a fresh coconut juice perched by your laptop as you gaze over the ocean or a tropical rainforest. It’s the sort of thing to fantasise about during long, tiresome commutes and days in a claustrophobic, noisy office. But so long as you have the right type of job, and an accommodating employer, it could be your reality.
Read more

Feeling flat now you’re #BackToWork? A post-holiday slump is normal, but these clues signal it’s time for a new job
If you’ve found yourself feeling a bit flat after returning to work (or outright hating your job) this year, you’re not alone. #BackToWork is trending for Australia on Tik Tok, with plenty of users lamenting the return to the office. A growing body of research also shows this feeling is pretty common. But while there’s nothing new about the return-to-work blues, few companies have any strategy to facilitate readjustment to work after vacation.
Read more

Australia Day: SMEs offer flexibility to employees looking to work on January 26
Australian small businesses and startups are joining the call to offer employees the choice to work on the Australia Day (or Invasion Day) public holiday and opt to take the time off at a later date, or to take January 26 off altogether.
Read more

New workplace sexual harassment resources: Good practice indicators for employers, and guidelines on confidentiality clauses in settlements
The Respect@Work Council has published new guidelines on the use of confidentiality clauses in settling workplace sexual harassment cases, and good practice indicators to assist organisations prevent and respond to workplace sexual harassment.
Read more


15th December 2022



Immediate actions for employers: Fair Work Act changes
Most changes to the Fair Work Act will come into effect in three to seven months, but importantly, a number of changes came into effect on 7 December 2022 which affect employers immediately.
Read more

The QLD Psychosocial Code of Practice – what do businesses need to do?
The changes to the WHS Regs, and the introduction of the Code, fundamentally change the law about managing this unique risk. For the first time, PCBUs and their officers must take prescribed steps when applying a risk management approach to psychosocial hazards.
Read more

Employee rights to convert from casual to permanent employment
A brief explantion of how employees or employers can request of offer to convert an employment arrangement from casual to permanent.
Read more

The QLD Psychosocial Code of Practice – what do businesses need to do?
The changes to the WHS Regs, and the introduction of the Code, fundamentally change the law about managing this unique risk. For the first time, PCBUs and their officers must take prescribed steps when applying a risk management approach to psychosocial hazards.
Read more

The 'work from anywhere' movement finding a home in Australia
Employers who have fully embraced the work from anywhere policy on a permanent basis.
Read more

Employers face time behind bars for wage theft
Criminal charges filed for wage theft in Victoria.
Read more

Are your pay secrets no longer safe?
Article discusses the new prohibition on pay secrecy clauses in employment agreements and the new rights of employees to discuss their remuneration with colleagues. What these changes mean for employers and EPL/ and statutory liability insurers.
Read more


7th December 2022



What the compromise IR deal means for wage negotiations and pay rises
Much of the debate has focused on what the bill does with multi-employer agreements – and many of the government’s concessions concern that issue. But if the wage stagnation of the past decade is to be overcome, it will likely be through less-heralded reforms.
Read more

Secrecy and the gender pay gap
Pay secrecy clauses are now banned in Australia; here’s how that could benefit you. The ban is primarily aimed at reducing gender-based pay differences – part of a larger suite of reforms that make gender equity a key principle of the Fair Work Act. But there’s also reason to believe it should benefit other disadvantaged workers in both individual and collective pay negotiations.
Read more

20 years of tracking sexual harassment at work shows little improvement. But that could be about to change
It is now no longer enough for employers to have a policy and act on complaints. They must also take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation. The government has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations. The Respect@Work bill implements seven. Others should be achieved with the omnibus industrial relations bill now before the Senate. Improving the conditions and bargaining power of those in insecure and low-paid work, and reducing gender inequalities, should lessen the vulnerabilities that enable harassment to flourish.
Read more

Announcing your new role on social media may breach your employment contract
As industries become more competitive and employees increasingly switch between employers and ‘job hop’, restraint of trade and non-solicitation clauses are progressively further incorporated into employment contracts. This article touches briefly on restraint of trade clauses and takes a closer look at non-solicitation clauses. In particular, we look at two decisions where the Court determined the employment contract had been breached regarding departing employees’ use of social media.
Read more

The Grounds of Discrimination You Didn’t Know
Discrimination is a constantly evolving area of Australian law. The protected grounds of discrimination, especially those in state and territory anti-discrimination legislation, are continuously changing and reshaping, with some being included as recently as this year. Employers need to be aware of all of the grounds of discrimination applicable in their state to ensure they do not inadvertently discriminate against an employee. This is particularly challenging for multi-state employers who need to comply with a matrix of state and territory anti-discrimination legislation.
Read more

Christmas may be safe, but three-year port dispute shows the IR system is full of holes
Australia’s industrial relations umpire has delayed industrial action that would have crippled Australia’s ports in the lead-up to Christmas. But the dispute in which it has intervened – one that has dragged on since 2019 – shows the need for reform of Australia’s collective bargaining system.
Read more

Unions NSW survey of 7,000 foreign language job ads finds more than half offer illegal rates of pay
Sarah moved to Australia from the Philippines with the promise of a massage therapy job in Canberra, so she could send money home to her family. Instead, she found herself sleeping in a room with eight co-workers, banned from socialising and made to work 12-hour days, six days a week for about $10 an hour.
Read more

Tasmanian man wins worker's compensation claim after falling during dog walk while on-call
A Tasmanian man who fell and broke his leg while walking his dog wins his worker's compensation claim, after a court ruled it happened in the course of his employment as he was on-call at the time.
Read more

New industrial relations laws - these are the changes
Multi-employer bargaining. JobSeeker deal. Pay secrecy. Flexible working. Fixed-term contracts.
Read more

HILDA finds working from home boosts women’s job satisfaction more than men’s, and that has a downside
The shift to working from home is unlikely to reverse. Data from the HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) Survey released on Monday show the proportion of Australians working “most hours” from home jumped from around 6% before the pandemic to 21% in 2020. Unpublished data available to researchers shows a further jump to 24% in 2021.
Read more


30 November 2022



Injured worker Greg Dayman cut off from benefits on Christmas Day
Greg Dayman is one of almost 400 workers who will get a Christmas “present” this year they will never forget. The Sydney construction worker was badly injured on a building site in 2013, which left him unable to work with chronic pain in his neck, the side of his head, down his arm, torso and leg.
Read more

Why the great resignation and quiet quitting are not just trends
If you’re questioning how hard you want to work in your career, you’re not alone. While the “great resignation” continues, some workers are also choosing to cut back, take a career sabbatical or even request a demotion. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to work at home, and it has changed the ways we live, work and relax.
Read more

Can I be sacked on probation?
The short answer is yes – you can be sacked on probation. Under the law, every new employee is “on probation” for a period of time. The term “probation” does not exist in the Fair Work Act. However, there is a “statutory minimum employment period” based on the size of the employer’s workforce.
Read more

Received a serious staff complaint? Time to conduct a workplace investigation
It is a reality that complaints of bullying, sexual harassment and allegations of poor health and safety frequently arise in workplaces. At the root of these issues can be poor staff behaviour, a workplace culture problem, or operating standards that are non-compliant. If your business receives a complaint from a staff member, or if an alleged health and safety incident has occurred, the best response in most cases is to thoroughly investigate the incident.
Read more

Proposed law to impose positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment
In September 2022, Labor introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 that will, if it passes Parliament, legislate a further seven recommendations from the Respect@Work Report. The most significant proposal in the Bill is that it will impose a positive duty on all employers to take ‘reasonable and proportionate measures’ to eliminate unlawful sex discrimination, sexual harassment and hostile work environments, as far as possible.
Read more

Fair Work Commission delivers blow to the employment status of gig workers
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWCFB) has recently reaffirmed the primacy of contractual terms when determining the employment status of a gig worker. However, this position is unlikely to subsist due to the Labor Government’s proposed legislative amendments tackling secure jobs and the gig economy.
Read more

Proposed changes to the Fair Work Act – what will this mean for employers?
The proposed changes to the Fair Work Act will have significant implications for employers and employees. Employers should ensure they are well-informed about the proposed changes prior to them taking effect.
Read more

Unfair dismissal – guard unable to ‘secure’ unfair dismissal remedy due to failure to disclose medical condition
The Fair Work Commission has recently denied a security guard’s claim for an unfair dismissal remedy where the employee failed to disclose an acute anxiety condition to the employer. The recent determination of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Joel Harris v Securecorp NSW Pty Ltd [2022] FWC 2781, offers pertinent considerations for employers when having regard to an employee’s undisclosed pre-existing medical conditions at the time of termination of employment.
Read more

NES Update: Family and Domestic Violence Leave
The Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2020 was passed by Federal Parliament on 27 October 2022 and amends the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide all employees with an entitlement to 10 days of family and domestic violence leave. This new entitlement is part of the National Employment Standards (NES) and replaces the existing NES entitlement to five days of unpaid FDV leave.
Read more

Significant changes ahead for Paid Parental Leave
Families should be pleased to learn that the Federal Government has recently announced major changes to the Paid Parental Leave Scheme (PPL), with the Government committing approximately $531.6 million over the course of 4 years to make these changes.
Read more

Employment changes looming
Last month we wrote about how complex things were becoming for running a business, particularly when it came to employing staff and ensuring they are being paid properly. Every time there is new Government it seems like one of the first areas they look to change is the employer/employee landscape. There has been a bit of publicity over the last week or so regarding a bill that has been introduced to Federal Parliament, the Fair Work Legislation (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill.
Read more

Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill: Strengthening sexual harassment and sex discrimination laws
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 (the Bill) proposes ambitious changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA), with the promotion of job security and gender equity being a focus of the industrial relations reform. One key area the Bill seeks to strengthen is sexual harassment and sex discrimination legislation.
Read more


23 November 2022



Less is more: Melbourne firm makes four-day working week permanent
When software company Our Community told staff it was trialling a four-day working week, it was blunt: “If we fail to maintain productivity, then we have failed the pilot.” On November 7 – five months into the six-month pilot – group managing director Denis Moriarty told the firm’s 80 staff the shift to a four-day week would be permanent.
Read more

Compo crisis worsens as thousands of workers underpaid
Thousands of injured workers have been underpaid in what is shaping up as the third underpayment scandal to hit the state’s troubled workers’ compensation scheme icare. Documents obtained by this masthead show that in February icare discovered a potential issue with underpayments – but delayed telling the workers’ compensation watchdog State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) for seven months.
Read more

Employers working hard to develop talent in tight labour market
As a graduate hired to work in the Tim Tam marketing team, Damien Grew was well aware he was working on one of Australia’s most loved brands. “It has been an incredible opportunity, particularly this early in my career. The novelty is definitely not lost on me,” he says.
Read more

Employer Considerations for a Secondment Arrangement
As an employer, you may require your employees to move to different areas or departments within your business. You might even need them to transfer to a completely external business (whether associated with yours or not). Similarly, you may require temporary help from skilled workers outside of your business to fill a shortage of resources or cover an employee’s extended period of leave. The temporary assignment or provision of workers between departments and businesses is known as a secondment. While a secondment has many benefits, including better resourcing and exposure to new or unique skill sets, they are not always easy to navigate.
Read more

New Bill Proposes Significant Changes to Australia’s Workplace Laws
The Bill marks a new era of reform to the legal framework that underpins Australia’s workplace relations system. As signalled by the Government’s recent election campaign and September’s Jobs and Skills Summit, the Bill proposes many notable changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act), including employment arrangements and the enterprise bargaining and agreement system.
Read more

Victoria Introduces new Arbitration Service for Workers’ Compensation
The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Arbitration) Act 2021 (the Act) has been in effect in Victoria since 1 September 2022. The effect of the Act is that the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS) has been rebranded as the Workplace Injury Commission (WIC), with the introduction of a new arbitration service. The purpose of the Act is to “provide arbitration of certain disputes under that Act so as to facilitate the fair and final resolution of those disputes in an informal, inexpensive and timely manner”.
Read more

The Workplace Offence of Engaging in Discriminatory Conduct for a Prohibited Reason in NSW
Australia’s most famous airline is in Downing Centre District Court this week, facing criminal charges after it allegedly dismissed a worker for raising concerns about contracting Covid-19 from aircraft arriving from China at the start of the pandemic. Qantas has been accused of violating the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act by failing to provide proper cleaning equipment to employees.
Read more

New requirements for the appointment of individuals to safety critical roles at Queensland coal mines
New provisions will take effect in the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld) (the Act) from 25 November 2022 with respect to the appointment of persons to statutory positions at coal mines – often referred to as ‘safety critical roles’.
Read more

‘Tis the Season to Avoid Folly: Workplace Christmas Parties (2022 Edition)
It’s that time of year. The ‘Silly Season’. For many organisations, the official employer Christmas party is imminent. The events for this year, 2022, will be the first for three years in which the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be a significant factor. The starting point for office Christmas parties is that they are an extension of the workplace — employers need to carefully balance holding and facilitating a fun event with maintaining a safe, respectful environment for employees.
Read more

Proposed changes to employee flexible work arrangements
As workers have returned to the office and other workplaces in the year since the pandemic, many have wondered whether they have a legal right to work from home. More broadly, parents, carers and other workers often consider whether they have a similar right to flexible working arrangements. We deal with those issues in this article.
Read more

Elon Musk is a case study in how not to be a boss
As an organisational development practitioner, I have been watching the Twitter disaster unfold. As André Spicer’s article says, the kind of workplace behaviour exhibited by Elon Musk is not unusual among people in positions of power.
Read more


16 November 2022



Is your business closing over Christmas and the New Year?
Did you know many Modern Awards and agreements allow employers to direct their staff to take annual leave (or unpaid leave when annual leave has been exhausted) during a close down period. There are different requirements under each Modern Award and agreement that detail the minimum notice period that you are required to provide to your staff.
Read more

Microsoft will update harassment policy after report shows pitfalls in handling of complaints
Microsoft published a 50-page transparency report from ArentFox on Tuesday. The report is significant in an industry that’s making pronounced efforts to improve diversity and ensure that sexual misconduct is taken seriously. At Microsoft, claims of harassment and discrimination have led to internal discussions that spilled over into public view.
Read more

Working it Out: When a Contractor Will Be Considered a Worker Under the VIC Workers Compensation Scheme
This article looks at circumstances when an injured contractor will be considered a worker of the employer, with a focus on the WorkSafe Victoria Guidelines titled “Contractors and workers guideline” (the Guidelines).[1] These Guidelines examine when a contractor engaged to carry out work is to be considered a “worker” for WorkCover insurance purposes.
Read more

Social Media – Employee use in and out of the workplace
An employee's use of their private social media accounts has the capacity to affect an employer's legitimate business interests in a number of different ways.
Read more

5 tips to avoid discrimination when hiring
Employers undertaking a recruitment process need to be aware of the risks that can arise, particularly in relation to discrimination. Avoiding discriminatory practices, being aware of the protected grounds of discrimination, considering the inherent requirements of the role and hiring based on merit are essential. A candidate who feels they have been subjected to discrimination has avenues available to them to pursue a claim under federal anti-discrimination legislation, state anti-discrimination legislation and the Fair Work Act 2009.
Read more

A step-by-step guide to preventing discrimination in recruitment
If you use your own staff to recruit, you must make sure they are aware of their obligations under the law and are dedicated to a fair process. If you use a recruitment agent, you must make sure the agent is aware of their legal obligations when it comes to discrimination.
Read more

The loud legal troubles of "Quiet Quitting"
This article explores the concept behind “quiet quitting” including its surprisingly long cultural and industrial history, what employers can and cannot do if they believe that an employee is “quiet quitting”, and some practical steps to consider to proactively mitigate the likelihood of “quitters”..
Read more

Obligations for employers and workers in Western Australia
This year, changes to the Work Health Safety Act 2020 (WA) (the Act) commenced, providing for new and refined obligations for employers and workers. This article provides a concise breakdown of the requirements for reporting a notifiable incident under the Act.
Read more

A mandate for multi-employerbargaining? Without it, wages for the low paid won’t rise
Multi-employer agreements are, in fact, meant to occur now, under the Fair Work Act passed by the Rudd Labor government in 2009. In 12 years of the Fair Work Act, however, its multi-employer provisions have not led to a single bargain.
Read more


9th Nov 2022



The end of pay-secrecy: Should you know what your colleagues earn?
Labor argues greater pay transparency will help close the gender pay gap, arming women with more information about their relative pay.
Read more

Federal government makes multi-employer bargaining change in attempt to pass workplace bill
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has agreed to amend the bill amid ongoing talks with business groups who remain firmly opposed to an expansion of multi-employer bargaining – the most contentious element of the wide-ranging legislation.
Read more

Labor working on crossbencher Pocock to pass industrial relations reform, but splitting the bill is not yet an option
Already, Labor has retooled its plans around multi-employer bargaining. It has agreed to change the legislation so a majority of employees in each workplace must push for multi-employer enterprise bargaining agreements before they come into effect, instead of allowing a majority of employees across the relevant industry sector to call the shots on those agreements.
Read more

Full disclosure: The shake-up about to hit corporate Australia
This month, the federal government will release guidelines for companies on the use of controversial non-disclosure agreements in workplaces, following the expected legislation in federal parliament of the Respect at Work bill.
Read more

Best of both worlds: hybrid happiness
Two new studies highlight the importance of social connection in the workplace and illustrate why working from home may not be the optimal workplace arrangement. Hybrid work-from-home schedules may help prevent burnout and improve mental health.
Read more

Paid family and domestic violence leave – amendments to the NES under the Fair Work Act
The Albanese Labor Government has fulfilled a promise made prior to the election to implement a change to employment laws which will assist victims of family and domestic violence. As a result of this change, which was passed by Federal Parliament on 27 October 2022, employees will now, under the National Employment Standards, be entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period to deal with the impacts of violence suffered by them perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner or a member of their household.
Read more

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill 2022: What It Means For Your Business
While further industrial relations reform (such as on ‘same job, same pay’, among other topics) is expected to follow next year, the reforms tabled are significant and will substantively impact how Australian employers structure and manage their workforces and set terms and conditions of employment.
Read more

Fledgling union’s Apple membership drive bears fruit after ongoing action
Australia’s fledgling retail union’s ongoing action against Apple has borne fruit, with its membership in the tech giant’s retail stores increasing 10-fold in three months.
Read more

Using data to make workplaces safer
Safe Work Australia's latest national work health and safety statistics, providing important evidence on the state of work health and safety in Australia. Understanding the causes and the industries most affected can help reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and disease which have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the community.
Read more

Working from home - the security dilemma of data sprawl
As hybrid work becomes the norm in business, so does data sprawl. Data sprawl refers to the spread of company information to various places, which often comes from dispersed and unmanaged cloud app use. In fact, within businesses worldwide, 1 in 5 employees use personal apps to upload, create, share, or store sensitive information, which equates to valuable, personal data in far too many unsecure, rogue locations.
Read more


2nd Nov 2022



Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations - one year on
State and Territory governments have all but scrapped mandatory self-isolation and vaccine requirements, leaving employers considering whether it is still appropriate to have mandatory vaccination policies in place.
Read more

“The worker claims we bullied him, but it’s just not true.” Which case won?
Warehouse worker warned about slow work and failing to achieve set targets. Worker alleges bullying by supervisors and company conducts internal investigation. Warehouse worker dismissed and launches workers compensation claim.
Read more

Labor’s proposed amendment to the Fair Work Act (subtitled its Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill) has drawn fire from Australia’s three leading employer groups
Labor’s proposed amendment to the Fair Work Act (subtitled its Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill) has drawn fire from Australia’s three leading employer groups. The Senate has begun an inquiry, but it is already easy to see the worst of these fears are misplaced.
Read more

Safety watchdog ignored warnings at site where worker died
The NSW government will hold an inquiry into the operation of SafeWork NSW after a series of revelations about claims it had failed to act.
Read more

A Genius Bar bar the genius? Apple staff mull next move after voting down offer
Staff at Apple Australia have rejected the company’s latest pay offer, opening the door for industrial action that could include further strikes and a refusal to perform diagnostics or repairs on devices.
Read more

Labor moves to improve access to flexible work for parents, carers and older Australians
Labor will legislate improved access to flexible work for parents, carers and older Australians in a move that will almost certainly concern businesses already lobbying against multi-employer bargaining changes.
Read more

Fair Work Ombudsman recovers $400k in underpayments from Brisbane businesses
Of the 77 businesses inspected across South Brisbane, Fortitude Valley, Sunnybank, and the CBD, 75 per cent had breached workplace laws.
Read more

MEU accuses miner Peabody of trying to rip up EA before industrial relations laws change
The mining union says international company Peabody is attempting to terminate an enterprise agreement (EA) with part of its Helensburgh workforce to try and avoid new federal industrial relations laws.
Read more

What the federal government's new workplace laws will mean for you
So, what does the government actually want to do? There's a lot in it, but here are the key elements.
Read more

Important information for the building and construction industry
From 10 November 2022, the Australian Building and Construction Commission’s (ABCC) role enforcing the Fair Work Act 2009 in the commercial building and construction industry will transfer to the Fair Work Ombudsman (that’s us).
Read more


26th Sept 2022



Remote working in a cross-border world – legal issues
When remote working is from a different country, which laws apply? Carroll & O'Dea lawyers Selwyn Black and Lola Imawan provide an overview in this article from the September 2021 edition of the International Primerus magazine.
Read more

Fair Work Ombudsman’s record back-payment recovery
The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that during 2021-22, it has recovered more than $532 million in back-paid wages and entitlements for 384,805 workers. The amount recovered and the number of employees payments that were recovered over the period are both record numbers.
Read more

‘Very unhappy, dysfunctional’: Workplace culture at scandal-plagued DNA lab scathed by HR worker
An employee relations worker for Queensland Health at the time a lab bungle over DNA testing emerged, offered a blistering assessment of the Forensic and Scientific Services’ working environment.
Read more

Australian women are more educated than men, but gender divides remain at work
The Bureau of Statistics has recently released a new set of data from the 2021 census which provides insights into the kinds of jobs Australians have (and if they have a job), how Australians travel to work (and if they still do), and their educational qualifications.
Read more

Despite high hopes, multi-employer bargaining is unlikely to ‘get wages moving’
If multi-employer agreements were clearly a good way to get real wages moving, we would expect to see real wages growing more strongly in countries that allow multi-employer bargaining than in those that don’t. This article compares 17 countries
Read more

Flexible arrangements are the future of office work, are workplace laws about to catch up?
Australia's peak union body, the ACTU, said the shift to more flexible working arrangements needed to be reflected in updated workplace laws and enterprise agreements.
Read more

Thinking about quiet quitting? Here’s why – and how – you should talk to your boss instead
Simply quiet quitting without warning is a risky strategy. If you have a reputation for going the extra mile, it’s a bad idea to abruptly switch off that part of your workplace persona. Transparency is important, and good managers will be supportive when workers raise concerns about burnout and lack of engagement. A conversation with your boss could be the start of reform in your workplace that leads to a better environment for everyone, by helping workers set boundaries that managers respect.
Read more

$173 to assemble furniture: Why AirTasker prices are skyrocketing for simple jobs
Time-poor people are offering up to $400 for tasks such as decorating a kid’s birthday party, removing a spider, standing in queues and taking out rubbish bins, amid surging prices for gig economy jobs. But unions and experts say task-based platforms such as Airtasker and TaskRabbit undercut pay and conditions while not offering job security.
Read more

Wage theft lessons from New York bike lanes
A novel idea to effectively turn workers into deputised Fair Work officers ...
Read more


20th October 2022

Injured worker receives nearly $1,000,000 in common law damages
Hall Payne Lawyers secures a worker’s compensation common law judgment in the sum of $967,383.39 for an injured worker who fell through a roof of a shed, sustaining significant injuries. The result in Walker v Greenmountain Food Processing Pty Ltd [2020] QSC 329 was a deserved one for the worker who suffered significant injuries in a traumatic workplace accident but continues to work in an alternative role.
Read more

‘A remarkable turnaround’: Qantas is profitable again so why are management and workers still at war?
“It’s a remarkable turnaround,” Qantas boss Alan Joyce said when predicting an underlying profit before tax of between $1.2bn and $1.3bn for the six months to the end of the calendar year. Qantas previously reported losses of $7bn during the pandemic. So the shift to profitability is noteworthy. But management and the unions have two very different explanations as to how the airline turned things around.
Read more

NSW rail union set to switch off Opal card readers from Thursday
The long-running stoush between the New South Wales government and the state rail union is escalating again, with the union poised to deactivate Opal card readers in a move that could cost the government millions. The readers will be turned off for the afternoon peak from Thursday, after members of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union voted in favour of taking protected industrial action last week.
Read more

Federal cabinet signs off on workplace bill aimed at boosting wages, despite business concerns it is 'half-cooked'
The federal cabinet has signed off on contentious new workplace relations legislation, which the Albanese government says is intended to help low-paid employees, particularly women, negotiate higher pay packets and better conditions. Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke plans to introduce the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill into parliament next Thursday, following the government's first budget on Tuesday.
Read more

Should you go to work with COVID? We asked 45 different employers and the results were mixed
Mandatory isolation requirements for people who get COVID-19 have come to an end nationally — but that doesn't mean you can rock up to work symptomatic with the virus. The federal government says the end of mandatory isolation is appropriate because there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission and high vaccination rates. The ABC contacted more than 40 major companies and employers across various industries for their policies on COVID-19 in the workplace.
Read more

Would giving casuals more rights make them more secure? Well ...
The most pointed example of job insecurity came with the most politically inconvenient of solutions. When the winter Omicron wave hit this year, the new Labor government had to decide to either keep $750 pandemic leave payments running, or force millions of casual workers to choose between staying home or earning a living.
Read more

Court dismisses bullying and unfair dismissal case against SBS
A former SBS journalist who sued the multicultural public broadcaster to get her job back after an independent investigation found she suffered workplace harassment has had her case dismissed by the Federal Court. Journalist Pallavi Jain launched legal action in 2021 to have her job reinstated at SBS, where she worked in the Hindi language team under executive producer Kumud Merani from 2013 until she was sacked in December 2019. Judge Robert Cameron dismissed the case earlier this month, finding SBS had not breached the FairWork Act when it sacked her.
Read more

Australia: Privacy Act reform: What employers need to know
The recent spate of cyber attacks and data breaches in Australia has renewed focus on the Australian Government’s ongoing review of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). The new Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, had already promised “sweeping reforms” and a suite of proposals before the end of the year. However, expectations – of both the scope of those reforms and the speed with which they are introduced – are likely to be heightened in light of recent events.
Read more

Implementing Effective Workplace Policies
A recent unfair dismissal case in the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) found that an employee who had breached a workplace policy was not dismissed unfairly. The employee argued that his breach of the workplace policy was justified due to a perceived safety risk. The case serves as a reminder about the importance of implementing effective workplace policies as not all workplace policies will be considered “reasonable” before the FWC.
Read more

Working it Out: When a Contractor Will Be Considered a Worker Under the VIC Workers Compensation Scheme
An employer who hires a contractor needs to consider whether the individual who actually does the work is likely to be a “worker” for WorkCover insurance purposes. This is not always clear cut and can be complicated by factors such as the structure of the entity who contracts with the employer.
Read more

Unreasonable Adjustments – How far must an employer go to enable an employee to return to work?
A recent decision in the Fair Work Commission provides guidance for employers when dismissing an employee with a disability. The Commission found that the only way the Applicant could have returned to work was if substantial modifications were made to her pre-injury role. The employer’s decision to terminate the employment on the basis that the employee could not meet the inherent requirements of her role was found not to be unfair, and was also found to not contravene the Disability Discrimination Act.
Read more

Finding the ‘line’ between the work and private lives of employees
Where the boundary is between an individual’s work and private life is an issue that has been examined by the courts and the Fair Work Commission (and its predecessors) over a number of years. While the distinction between the two spheres of life is clearer than it was, there is still no ‘bright line’ or a definitive test as to when an individual’s conduct ‘after hours’ will fall within the scope of their employer’s required standards of behaviour.
Read more

Restraints of Trade-Reasonableness to protect legitimate business interests
One of the key issues in any action to enforce a restraint of trade is whether the terms of the restraint are reasonable to protect the legitimate business interests of the party seeking to enforce it. Restraints typically include a duo of geographical and temporal elements, and these should be cascading to ensure that they will not be severed completely as unreasonable.
Read more

12th October 2022

The Australian Federal Government Jobs and Skills Summit 2022: What to expect next
The Australian Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit was held across the first two days of September 2022 (Summit) and involved a smorgasbord of panel discussions with experts and advocates, contributions from the floor and various government announcements. The attendees, who were drawn from a wide cross-section of business and employee representatives, were invited to contribute a diversity of perspectives on industrial relations, skills shortages and future challenges for the Australian job market arising from digitisation, automisation and the recalibration of operations associated with decarbonising and moving towards renewable resources.
Read more

The importance of keeping a diary after a workplace injury
If you’ve been injured at work, there are a number of things you’ll be attending to like seeking medical treatment, lodging a worker’s compensation claim (WorkCover or Comcare), attending physio and so on. Taking care of these critical tasks may see you distracted about some of the crucial details surrounding your injury; date, time and place of the injury, precisely how it occurred, who you told etc. That’s why we recommend that people who experience a workplace injury, keep a detailed diary for future reference.
Read more

New rules for businesses tendering for Victorian Government contracts
The Victorian Fair Jobs Code is being introduced by the Victorian Government to ensure that suppliers tendering for Victorian Government procurement contracts and businesses applying for significant business expansion grants are treating their workers “fairly” and are abiding by industrial laws and relevant health & safety regulations. Under the Code, suppliers and grant applicants will have to attain a Pre-Assessment Certificate and in certain circumstances, submit a “Fair Jobs Code Plan”.
Read more

Payment in lieu of notice period must be delivered before termination
In early 2022, a decision in the Federal Court unearthed an underutilised provision of the Fair Work Act, which requires employers to hand over payments in lieu of notice to outgoing employees before termination of employment. The practice of employers providing such payments after the date of termination is common. This decision confirms that such conduct is unlawful.
Read more

An audit today keeps the Fair Work Ombudsman away: a practical guide for how businesses can avoid being caught out for underpayment
An all-too-common pitfall for Australian employers is the risk associated with underpayment or falling behind on employee entitlements. In Australia, the pay and work entitlements of employees are primarily governed by the National Employment Standards and any applicable Modern Award; however, employers should also be aware of other entitlements that may arise from Enterprise Agreements, legislation, or employee contracts.
Read more

Further Respect@Work changes introduced to parliament
On 27 September 2022, the Federal Government introduced to parliament the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 (Bill). The Bill proposes to introduce a further seven recommendations from Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ ‘Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (2020)’ (Respect@Work Report), being Recommendations 16, 17, 18 19, 23, 25 and 43.
Read more

Employees ‘Soldiering On’ With COVID-19: What Can Employers Do?
At a recent national cabinet meeting, the leaders of the states and territories agreed that from October 14 people infected with COVID-19 no longer need to isolate. The period of mandatory isolation after testing positive was recently reduced from 7 to 5 days. It will now be removed altogether. Those who work in high-risk settings, such as aged care, disability care, Aboriginal healthcare and hospital care sectors, will not be able to return to work for 5 days after testing positive. Reflecting this, government support payments will continue for certain eligible employees in those sectors.
Read more

Working while sick: Our post-pandemic dilemma
For many teachers, who are now in their eleventh term of delivering education in the face of a pandemic, ‘normal’ still feels far away. And with COVID-19 cases refusing to abate, despite the warmer weather, disruption continues to impact our school halls, sports fields, classrooms, and staff rooms.
Read more

Former Adelaide security guard ordered to repay more than $17,000 in worker's compensation
An Adelaide man has been ordered to repay more than $17,000 after falsely claiming he was too injured to work, while being employed as a farmhand. The man pleaded guilty to 12 charges in South Australia's Employment Tribunal related to dishonestly claiming and receiving payments from Return To Work SA. The tribunal heard the man suffered a compensable injury while working as a security guard in March 2019 including bruising and swelling to his face, grazed knees and abdominal muscle strain.
Read more

5th October 2022

Potential Changes to Multi-Employer Bargaining – What You Need to Know

A key theme that has emerged from the Government’s recent Jobs and Skills Summit is the prospect of widening access to multi-employer bargaining for enterprise agreements. While it is currently possible to have a multi-employer enterprise agreement under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the “FW Act”), such agreements are rarely used in comparison to single-employer enterprise agreements.
Read more

Respect@Work Update
The Respect@Work Report (“Report”) was released in March 2020 following a national inquiry and contained 55 recommendations. The recommendations contained ways the legal framework could better prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace.
Read more

Further minimum Award wage increases on 1 October 2022
As part of the 2022 Federal minimum Award wage increase, the Fair Work Commission delayed increases under Awards for several particularly beleaguered industries. These minimum wage increases take effect from 1 October 2022, rather than 1 July 2022 (when all other Award minimum wages increased).
Read more

Latest case on employee and independent contractor distinction
The recent Deliveroo decision is a reminder to employers that comprehensive, written agreements assist significantly in the proper characterisation of worker relationships. In a recent decision that particularly affects workers in the gig economy, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has found that Deliveroo rider, Mr Diego Franco (Mr Franco), was an independent contractor, and not an employee.
Read more

Skipping Meal Breaks Can Cost Businesses
Even something as simple as failing to provide sufficient meal breaks can cost a business in penalties and backdated entitlement payments to employees. A Federal Circuit Court of Australia case from 2017 provides a useful example of both the types of issues that employers regularly get into trouble for and the importance of taking the right steps to acknowledge shortcomings and rectify any breaches against applicable industrial legislation.
Read more

Onus to be Placed on Employers to Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
New laws being introduced to federal parliament will put the responsibility squarely on employers to ensure proactive measures are taken to prevent sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Read more

Government to make good on Coalition’s “missed opportunity”? Proposed legislation to implement further Respect@Work recommendations
On 27 September 2022, the Government introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 (New Bill) seeking to implement the remaining legislative recommendations under the Respect@Work Report.
Read more

Socialising at Work – Ten ‘Rules’ for Employers to Mitigate Legal Risk
Employees being able to socialise with each other can be an integral part of a successful and happy workplace. Further to this, officially endorsed ‘social events’ at work can be a great way to reward employees for their hard work and to help build team cohesion. Unfortunately, however, social events associated with work can create a number of legal risks.
Read more

Do you know what the National Employment Standards are?
The National Employment Standards - what are they, and what do you need to know? The National Employment Standards, or NES, are a set of 11 entitlements set out in the Fair Work Act (2009) the Act. They apply to everyone employed under the national workplace relations system, which essentially means every employer and employee.
Read more

Young people’s career aspirations are A to B, but should be A to Z
How many occupations and specialisations can you think of? Can you think of more than the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Stats (New Zealand) have identified recently? How many different jobs would you like to do (not at the same time!)? Presumably, you were readily able to bring to mind some of the occupations that appear at the beginning of the alphabet such as abalone sheller or abseiling instructor. Perhaps you like to do things at the end of the alphabet such as yarn comber, yoghurt maker or zoologist.
Read more


21st September 2022



Changes to Annualised wage arrangements for restaurant, cafe and hospitality workers
From 1 September 2022, there are new annualised wage arrangement rules in the Hospitality Award and the Restaurant Award, following a decision made by the Fair Work Commission. These replace the previous annualised salary arrangement provisions in these awards.
Read more

1 October 2022 minimum wage increase
While minimum wages under many awards increased from 1 July, wages under some other awards in the aviation, hospitality and tourism industries, will happen from the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2022.
Read more

The rise in global slavery demands business examine supply chains
The International Labour Organisation, the United Nations International Organisation for Migration and Walk Free recently released the Updated Global Estimates of Modern Slavery report. It makes for concerning reading.
Read more

The right to disconnect from work
A number of trade unions, such as the Financial Serves Union and the National Tertiary Education Union, backed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, argue that workers need more protection from these unsettling intrusions. They are campaigning to write a “right to disconnect” into new enterprise bargaining agreements
Read more

Underpayment of wages claims: how employers can meet their legal and workplace obligations
With criminalisation on the horizon and large financial penalties already in place, it is important employers take the necessary steps to ensure they are complying with their legal obligations.
Read more

Changes to employment laws from the Jobs and Skills Summit are imminent
The Federal Government has announced the actions that will be taken from the Jobs and Skills Summit. This article focuses on those actions that will result in changes to employment laws. As expected at this stage of the process, the changes identified are general in nature and will be fleshed out as the reform rolls out.
Read more

Is workplace bullying and sexual harassment putting your business at risk?
Workplace misconduct damages reputations, causes staff turnover and negatively impacts balance sheets, particularly in the hospitality sector. It is critical that hospitality business owners take steps to protect staff and their business by implementing effective risk prevention, management and reporting frameworks.
Read more

Getting tired of an employee doesn’t cut it – FWC awards driver compensation in unfair dismissal case
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently found that a truck driver was unfairly dismissed and entitled to compensation in the case of Kyle Ogden v Prestia Holdings Pty Ltd [2022] FWC 2234.
Read more

The how’s and why’s of terminating an enterprise agreement
Recent industrial action and the Federal Government’s Job Summit turns the spotlight back on laws governing workplace rights and responsibilities in collective bargaining. There has been a lot of discussion about the creation of enterprise agreements, with promises to broaden the scope for bargaining and simplifying the agreement-making process. But what about terminating an enterprise agreement? Far less attention has been given to what happens at the end of the enterprise agreement lifecycle. The Federal Government has promised to ‘ensure the process for agreement terminations is fit for purpose and fair’, but no detail yet as to what that means.
Read more

Managing Sick or Injured Employees
At some point, every employer will confront managing an employee who is suffering from an injury, medical condition or disability. When this occurs, it is important to know that there are legal protections for injured and ill employees and for employees with a disability. Whilst at times, an employee cannot continue employment due to illness or injury, failures of process in managing or terminating the employment of an ill or injured employee can result in employees having a substantial legal claim against their employer.
Read more


14th Sept 2022

How to Issue a Formal Warning to an Employee
Issuing warnings to underperforming employees will never be easy. However, if you intend to do so, it will be beneficial for you to follow a predetermined process. This process will ensure you can rely on such a ‘warning’ in subsequent termination. Additionally, it ensures that the employee understands the requirements they must fulfil to keep their job. This article will take you through the key steps to issuing a formal warning to an employee to help you implement a warning policy in your workplace.
Read more

What to do if you are dismissed on the basis of your sex status, sexual orientation or gender identity
If your employment has been terminated on the basis of your sex status, sexual orientation or gender identity you can either make an application to the Australian Human Rights Commission (“AHRC”) or the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”). [1] The purpose of the application is to show that your employer has breached anti-discrimination laws. You can only make an application to one of these bodies to avoid what is called “double-dipping”. If you first apply to the FWC, and either withdraw your complaint or it is terminated, you can then apply to the AHRC however you cannot apply to AHRC and subsequently to the FWC.
Read more

Significant General Protections Damages Award
The Federal Court of Australia has recently ordered an account of damages to be paid to a senior-employee of Hawkesbury Race Club, Mrs Leggett, due to the bullying and harassment resulting from her employment. This case highlights consequences that result from overbearing and harassing management of staff and how injured workers may bring substantial damages claims pursuant to the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act.
Read more

Do You Need to Pay Someone Doing Work Experience?
Hiring someone as an employee is illegal without paying them the minimum wage. Under the Fair Work Act, it is clear that you must pay your employees for the work they complete. But are those doing internships or work experience equally entitled to pay? How long can someone do work experience, and to what extent can you ask them to do work that does not relate to their studies without paying them? The short answer is that you do not have to pay someone if they take part in a vocational placement or no employment relationship exists. In any event, you should clarify your payment obligations with an experienced employment lawyer.
Read more

Misuse of trade secrets by former employees – steps an employer should take to prevent this
Departing employees can pose a risk to the future goodwill of a business, as they have had the opportunity to form relationships with its customers and suppliers. Employees will often be given unfettered access to commercially sensitive documents and information, and will have received training and have experience in terms of how best to exploit them. The loss of customers to departing employees is an all too common situation faced by employers. A customer’s choice to follow an employee can be completely unilateral, but more frequently it is the result of the former employee enticing the customer away.
Read more

Can I sue over a bad reference?
You miss out on getting a job and later find it was due to a bad reference from the person you nominated to act as your referee. Referees are supposed to give a prospective employer a full and frank appraisal of their former employee’s work performance while they were employed by the referee. They should give a fair opinion of the applicant’s ability, suitability for the type of work, and their performance in the workplace.
Read more

Managing General Protections Claims
Recent damages awards for breaches of the General Protections provisions of the Fair Work Act indicate an increasing trend to award significant sums for psychological distress and conditions. The caselaw indicates that many businesses, and even larger employers are failing to follow basic steps in dealing with workplace complaints and disputes.
Read more

Sydney train strikes: NSW government and rail unions to seek conciliation next week
The New South Wales government and rail unions will seek to resolve a long-running dispute by conciliation before the Fair Work Commission next week. The commission’s deputy president, Bryce Cross, had initially rejected a bid by Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink applying to enter conciliation during a hearing on Friday.
Read more

Skills crisis can be solved with training and good faith bargaining
Australia faces a skills crisis. Workforce shortages have been reported across a wide range of industries. Strong projected employment growth suggests these shortages are likely to be a feature of Australia’s labour market into the future.
Read more

A sorry tale for women, from childcare strikes to blokey executive suites
Last week, Chief Executive Women released its latest report on women’s representation in executive leadership and childcare workers around Australia went on strike to protest low pay. No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get women into senior roles or secure adequate pay and conditions for childcare workers.
Read more

7th Sept 2022

Industrial action and the right to strike
Industrial action, in the form of strikes, is a tool used by workers and their unions to attempt to persuade their employers to make positive change in their workplaces. However, the law around the ability to lawfully take such action is relatively complex. In 2022, workers have participated in teachers’ strikes, nurses’ strikes, train strikes and many other industrial strikes across Australia. The considerable attention that workers’ strikes attract has resulted in many employees throughout Australia asking; “what legal rights do I have to take industrial action and to strike?”
Read more

Over-award payments – when will they discharge overtime liability?
In an employment context, the law of set-off stipulates that where an employment contract provides that the employer pays an employee a sum of money towards a specific purpose (e.g. wages), the employer cannot afterwards claim that the payments made satisfy other award entitlements (e.g. overtime). In other words, when there are outstanding award or enterprise agreement entitlements, a payment designated by the employer as being for a purpose other than to satisfy the award entitlement cannot be regarded as having discharged monetary obligations under an award or enterprise agreement.
Read more

Employees with a Criminal History: What are your Obligations?
Employers have the general right to refuse to employ someone whom they do not deem fit for a role, or suitable for their organisation. While some may feel that an individual with a criminal history is not suitable for their organisation, there are some limitations on the decisions an employer can make, and obligations regarding how those individuals are to be treated.
Read more

Can conduct outside of work lead to dismissal?
When employees do the wrong thing at work, it is common for their employer to commence formal disciplinary processes that can lead to dismissal. Workplace misconduct such as dishonesty, theft, violence, sexual harassment, or intoxication is often easy for employers to recognise. It can be seen to damage the relationship between employee and employer and impact the safety and welfare of other employees, in some cases giving grounds for dismissal.
Read more

Worker’s compensation for stress-related illnesses in NSW
If you’re suffering stress and unable to work, the National Employment Standards entitle you to paid sick leave. This is available to all employees except casuals and is for any injury or illness, including stress and pregnancy-related illnesses. But what if the stress you are experiencing is related to your work? Are you able to make a worker's compensation claim for stress in NSW?
Read more

Employees may still be covered by a modern award despite earning above the high income threshold
Many employers make the mistake of thinking modern awards do not apply to employees who earn above the ‘high income threshold’ (currently $162,000). This is a common misconception. In fact, modern awards do not apply to ‘high income employees’, within the meaning of s 329 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). To be a high income employee, employees must meet a range of criteria. This includes earning above the high income threshold, as well being the subject of a ‘guarantee of annual earnings’ for a ‘guaranteed period’.
Read more

Adam is getting paid to take today off. Is the four-day week the future of work?
On Wednesday mornings, Adam Lade wanders down to the local golf course, plays nine holes and tries to explain to the other club members why he's not working that day, but still getting paid. Adam is one of relatively few Australians taking part in a global experiment to change the century-old model of the five-day week.
Read more

Engineering job vacancies up 176 per cent, while skilled migrants feel overlooked by employers
New data suggests almost half of migrants actively seeking a job as an engineer are currently unemployed, as job vacancies in the sector rise by 176 per cent. The National Skills Commission Labour Market Insights to June 2022 found 47 per cent of the group did not have work, although vacancy numbers in engineering continued to be the highest seen since 2012.
Read more

Sydney train strikes: Union boss hopes federal intervention puts ‘go slow’ on NSW government action
The national head of the rail union hopes a recent federal intervention will put the “go slow” on any attempt by the New South Wales government to terminate the enterprise agreement of thousands of rail workers in the state. The federal employment minister, Tony Burke, has faced a wave of criticism from the NSW government and the federal opposition for a letter he sent to the Fair Work Commission’s president last week. In the letter, Burke flagged Labor’s plans to change the laws covering the termination of enterprise agreements.
Read more

Pregnant women being sacked and demoted despite Victorian discrimination laws, study finds
Pregnant women are being sacked, demoted or bullied in the workplace despite laws prohibiting discrimination, a Victorian study shows. Monash University researchers analysed calls from Victorians to employment rights service JobWatch between 2019 and 2020. They found about 14% of calls were about pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination complaints.
Read more

31st August 2022

Workers Compensation certificates of capacity
A Certificate of Capacity is a specific document that is required when you are making a WorkCover claim for weekly payments in Victoria. Worker’s compensation weekly payments can be claimed if you are unable to perform your pre-injury employment or any other suitable employment. If you are only claiming medical and like expenses, you do not require a WorkCover Certificate of Capacity. Section 167 of the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation Act 2013 governs the requirements for Certificates of Capacity.
Read more

Work Health and Safety Duties and Dealing with Bullying in the Workplace by Non-workers
It is common for businesses (particularly those in the service industries) to experience bullying and harassment when interacting and dealing with complaints from customers and other non-employee workplace participants (‘non-workers’) in the business. This can cause stress and anxiety for staff in the work environment.
Read more

Qld to push for more workforce diversity to plug staff shortages
The Queensland government will spend $20 million to encourage businesses to employ more women and people with disabilities as part of its plan to fill vacant jobs. Another $14 million will be invested to help migrants, refugees and international students find employment, as part of the state government’s 10-year workforce strategy, released on Tuesday.
Read more

Yes, the gender pay gap is real, and probably worse than you think
I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but: the gender pay gap is real. Not only is it real, it’s probably wider than you think, which I’ll get to… But first, it has become commonplace for some people to push back against campaigns to highlight the severity of our national gender pay gap by arguing it does not compare “apples with apples”. There’s some confusion with terminology going on here, so it’s important to understand what we mean when we refer to the “gender pay gap”.
Read more

Repairing Tasmania's parliament workplace culture not the job of MPs, says independent
A female Tasmanian politician says she knows all too well the toxic culture with the parliament laid bare in a damning new report, having had her own run-in with a government minister — and the system which was meant to deal with such incidences. This week, the Tasmanian anti-discrimination commissioner's report into workplace culture in the Tasmanian ministerial and parliamentary services found a high prevalence of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment, most often by members of parliament and managers.
Read more

Employment Minister Tony Burke 'really interested' in multi-employer bargaining proposal as jobs summit looms
The minister responsible for employment and industrial relations, Tony Burke, has expressed strong interest in a proposal for multi-employer bargaining, saying he wants to see the idea "fleshed out". The idea is a key part of the agenda the trade union movement is taking to the federal government's jobs summit next week.
Read more

Sydney train strike: NSW premier says ‘this ends today’ as he threatens to tear up industrial agreement
The New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, has issued a sensational ultimatum to the state’s rail workers, vowing to tear up their industrial agreement and meet the union in court unless they accept his government’s final pay offer. Amid the latest round of chaos on the state’s rail lines on Wednesday, a visibly angry Perrottet said that after 58 meetings he would no longer bargain with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) over a new enterprise agreement.
Read more

Labor may accelerate industrial relations reforms to ‘get wages moving’, Anthony Albanese says
Anthony Albanese has suggested Labor could accelerate industrial relations reforms, adding to its election policies to “get wages moving” without “[waiting] for everyone to agree on everything”. The prime minister made the remarks at the National Press Club, as Labor opened the door to multi-employer pay deals to shrink the gender pay gap and further bargaining changes ahead of the jobs and skills summit on Wednesday.
Read more

What’s the price of a gig? Risks for employers and insurers in the gig economy
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission recently handed down its decision in Deliveroo Australia Pty Ltd v Diego Franco [2022] FWCFB 156, overturning an earlier decision and finding that a Deliveroo rider was an independent contractor. The decision has implications for both employers and EPL insurers.
Read more

Potential Legislative Reforms for Non-Disclosure Agreements
The Victorian Government is taking steps to prohibit the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements, sometimes called “gag orders”, to silence employees. This landmark decision comes as the State’s Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment released 26 recommendations for the Government to implement in response to growing demand for reform in regard to sexual harassment in workplaces. The taskforce had released 26 points for the Victorian Government to take account of, 21 of which were accepted fully, in part or in principle.
Read more

24th August 2022

‘Primary strategy’: Why everyone’s getting poached on LinkedIn

Australian companies are poaching workers from rivals more than ever as fierce competition in the nation’s skills shortage, a shrunken talent pool and the lure of remote work are expected to make frequent job switching a permanent feature of the employment market. Employment experts say the strategy of poaching or headhunting has become commonplace thanks to the economy’s near record-low unemployment rate, which is expected to go even lower. Nearly all Australian business leaders (98 per cent) are approaching employees who aren’t actively looking for a new job, according to exclusive data from recruitment firm Robert Half.
Read more

SA support service combatting workplace sexual harassment gets $2 million funding boost
Tessa Jones* was forced to give up a job she loved after a prolonged and traumatising experience of sexual harassment. The 28-year-old said her complaints went nowhere because her alleged harasser was a senior staff member who laughed when she asked him to respect boundaries.
Read more

Secretly recording conversations with employers is misconduct
Since mobile phones have been able to record conversations, it is not uncommon practice for employees to record disciplinary meetings with their employers, without the employers’ consent. However, the Fair Work Commission in Barbara Roman v Mercy Hospitals Victoria Limited [2022] FWC 711 has found that this can constitute misconduct and justify dismissal. Ms Roman worked as a hospital service attendant for Mercy Hospitals Victoria (Hospital) from 1999 until 2 December 2021.
Read more

Deliveroo is not an Employer: Decision of Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in Deliveroo Australia Pty Ltd v Franco
In a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission, the Vice and Deputy Presidents applied recent decisions of the High Court to determine that a Deliveroo delivery worker, Mr Franco, was not an employee and was an independent contractor. The matter in question is Deliveroo Australia Pty Ltd v Franco [2022] FWCFB 156. The full bench, when applying the rationale in Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v Personnel Contracting Pty Ltd [2022] HCA 1 (‘Personnel Contracting’) and ZG Operations & Anor v Jamsek & Ors [2022] HCA 2 (‘Jamsek’), found that on a strict interpretation of the terms of the agreement to carry out work, Mr Franco was a contractor and not an employee.
Read more

Time for a Health Check: Contracting Life Skills for Life Sciences
Two major test case decisions handed down by the High Court of Australia, earlier this year, have caused businesses taking a long hard look at their contracting arrangements to make sure they can protect against the common types of legal action associated with the engagement of contractors.
Read more

‘Nobody else can do your job’: Sick leave surges, leaving employers short
The Bell Shakespeare Company was just hours away from lifting the curtain on its triumphant return to the stages of Western Australia. The whole company, from understudies to senior executives, had made the trip west, but a COVID-19 outbreak among the cast and crew forced them to cancel all three WA performances of The Comedy of Errors on the day they were due to open in Perth.
Read more

Why ‘quiet quitting’ is bad (mostly because of the ‘quiet’ bit...)
It’s the 17-second video clip which has gone viral on TikTok and sparked a global debate about work-life balance in the post-pandemic era. Set to gentle piano music, the clip begins with the image of a young man sitting quietly on a bench in a New York subway station. Cut to sweeping shots of the green sunlit canopy of Central Park, along with other iconic streetscapes from the city that never sleeps.
Read more

Hidden agendas: Why team building helps the sneaks in the workplace
Sneakiness is one of the most corrosive behaviours in the workplace. It is perhaps a rung or two down from the big ones of sexual assault, bullying, harassment and fraud. Nonetheless, it also has the capacity to do untold damage to an organisation by demolishing trust and alienating staff, leading to disengagement.
Read more

You’re being watched: The rise of the worker productivity score
A few years ago, Carol Kraemer, a longtime finance executive, took a new job. Her title, vice president, was impressive. The compensation was excellent: $200 an hour. But her first pay cheques seemed low. Her new employer, which used extensive monitoring software on its all-remote workers, paid them only for the minutes when the system detected active work.
Read more

‘Free riders’: NSW unions want to charge non-members for pay rises they broker
Non-union workers would be forced to pay fees for union pay deals while the requirement to advertise jobs domestically, before sponsoring foreign workers, would be abolished in favour of a higher wage floor, under two proposals by Unions NSW. Under the plan employers could be forced to pay a skilled visa applicant 30% above the industry median wage before sponsoring an offshore worker, a move designed to incentivise training Australians.
Read more

17th August 2022

A Tale of Two Vaccination Policies
Two recent unfair dismissal decisions by the Fair Work Commission highlight the key factors for employers who are considering dismissing an employee for not complying with a vaccination policy. One dismissal was upheld, and one dismissal was found to be harsh and unreasonable. What were the key differences in their approaches?
Read more

Business Owners and WorkCover Compensation
If someone manages their own business and sustains an injury, depending on the circumstances, that business owner could be entitled to WorkCover compensation. In a recent ruling in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Allen Kakos v Victorian WorkCover Authority [1]the plaintiff, Mr Kakos, was successful in establishing he was a ‘worker’ for the purposes of entitlements to compensation pursuant to the Victorian WorkCover legislation, Accident Compensation Act 1985.
Read more

Employer’s decision to medically discharge a firefighter with history of PTSD was wrong
Hall Payne recently represented the FBEU and their member, a firefighter who had until 2021, been employed with Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW). The member had been a firefighter for 10 years. He was also employed by NSW Ambulance as a paramedic and had held that job for 3 years. He developed a psychological injury, PTSD, in 2018 as a result of traumatic experiences at work and FRNSW sought to medically discharge him in 2021 for being unfit for duty.
Read more

Can employees be dismissed for a temporary absence due to illness or injury?
Employees are entitled to take paid personal leave when they are not fit for work due to personal illness or injury or if they need to provide care to an ill or injured member of their immediate family or household. Often, an employee may only require a couple of days off before returning to work, but sometimes an illness or injury means an employee cannot work for a longer period. In those circumstances, protections are in place to ensure employees are not dismissed from their job while recovering.
Read more

Is a Host Employer Vicariously Liable for the Negligence of a Labour Hire Employee Causing Injury to Another Labour Hire Employee?
The Plaintiff in Parkes v Mt Owen Pty Ltd & Anor [2022] NSWSC 909, Mr Parkes (‘the Plaintiff’) claimed personal injury compensation arising from physical and psychiatric injuries he had sustained at work in a coal mine operated by the first defendant, Mt Owen Pty Ltd (‘Mt Owen’). The Plaintiff was an employee of the second defendant, Titan Enterprise Pty Ltd (‘Titan’), a labour hire company. Effectively, Mt Owen was the Plaintiff’s host employer, and his role at the mine was as a diesel or heavy vehicle mechanic.
Read more

Fair Work Delivers a Key Decision for a Vaccine Mandate in a Workplace
A recent decision delivered by the Fair Work Commission has confirmed a South Australian shipbuilding yard can dismiss employees for failing to comply with the company’s vaccination requirements. The Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) introduced a COVID-19 Policy which required employees and contractors be double vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the worksite at Osborne, South Australia.
Read more

FWC Dismisses Anti-bullying Application Used to Prevent Termination of Employment
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the “FW Act”) gives rights to employees to make an anti-bullying application to the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”). While the intention of this jurisdiction is to prevent employees being subject to bullying behaviour, what constitutes bullying can be a nebulous concept. In some cases, an employee may use an anti-bullying application as a strategy to prevent the termination of their employment or secure a more favourable exit from an organisation.
Read more

Can employees make a stop bullying application if they resign or are dismissed?
Bullying in the workplace involves an individual or group subjecting a colleague to repeated unreasonable behaviour, which has the risk of causing damage to the recipient’s health and safety. When an employee makes a stop bullying application to the Fair Work Commission, the Commission can only make orders if they are satisfied that a worker has been bullied and there is a risk that the worker will continue to experience bullying by that same individual or group.
Read more

Brisbane meatworks Australian Country Choice Holdings underpays staff more than $2.5 million
Brisbane meat processor Australian Country Choice Holdings (ACCH) has admitted it underpaid staff more than $2.5 million and will enter into an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman. In response, unions have warned workers from other companies should check their entitlements.
Read more

Working to boost employment for Australians living with disability
The Albanese Labor Government will continue its important preparation for the September Jobs Summit with Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth to host a Disability Employment Roundtable on Monday in Canberra. The Roundtable will bring together disability employment specialists, industry, business and importantly people with lived experience to discuss how to better support people with disability to find and maintain employment.
Read more

Commonwealth Bank accused of not paying long service leave to 20 former employees
Commonwealth Bank has been accused of failing to pay more than $70,000 worth of long service leave payments to 20 former employees. Victoria's wage inspectorate filed 23 charges against Commonwealth Bank entities BankWest and CommSec for the underpayment, as well as for failing to produce documentation for its investigation.
Read more

Bendigo embraces new disability employment program trial from Melbourne
A new education-to-employment program is providing pathways into the workforce for regional Victorians living with down syndrome and intellectual disabilities. Ashleigh Modra is one of the program's recent success stories.
Read more

10th August 2022

Comcare claims; important tips about the claims process
Comcare is the Federal ‘no-fault’ workers’ compensation scheme. It covers Commonwealth Government employees and employees of certain licensed companies. Eligible injured workers can claim a range of benefits including income payments, medical expenses and lump sum payments for permanent impairment. When lodging a claim, it’s important to ensure that the details of your claim clearly demonstrate the connection between work and your injury; a threshold test referred to as causation.
Read more

When Councillors or Council staff are out of line: New model policies for local councillors and staff
Local councils are an important part of our system of representative government. As with other representatives, it is reasonable to expect that our local councillors will be held to a high standard of accountability. Unfortunately, sometimes councillors can fall short of the community’s expectations as the transition to online and remote meeting platforms has exposed. The increase in council meetings being held virtually appears to have shed greater light on instances of meltdowns, bullying, and online trolling occurring during council meetings
Read more

Local councils are not immune from regulatory attention, and should maintain robust safety management systems to manage the work of third party contractors
Wingecarribee Shire Council (Council) has recently entered into an enforceable undertaking with SafeWork NSW following alleged breaches of health and safety duties, which left two workers injured. In 2018, Council engaged a contractor to drain vessels at a sewerage treatment plant. In October 2018, during the course of that work, a 15 tonne crane was being used to dismantle a piece of equipment and came into contact with overhead powerlines. Unfortunately, two workers who were guiding the equipment at the time received electric shocks and suffered serious injuries. The driver of the crane was not injured.
Read more

Employees v contractors—where are we at?
The tide is changing, again. Last August, I wrote about the Latest clarity on casual v permanent employees, which dealt with the intersection of two issues: Rossato case law and workplace reforms/Fair Work precedents. Since then, the High Court has followed the changing tide, allowing the appeals and overturning several Full Federal Court decisions. Effectively, the High Court said, barring sham contracting, it was only the written contract that determines if a person is an employee or contractor, not post-contractual conduct.
Read more

What is constructive dismissal?
Constructive dismissal is the term used to describe a situation where an employee has been left with no real choice but to resign from their employment because of conduct, or a course of conduct, engaged in by their employer. Constructive dismissals are also sometimes referred to as a forced resignation. When making a constructive dismissal claim, the employee must prove that they did not resign from their employment voluntarily and that they were instead forced to do so because of their employer’s conduct.
Read more

Why you should get advice before you sign an employment contract
Many employment contracts contain restrictions on employees during and post their employment. It is important to understand what your obligations are and check if they are fair and suitable. Many employment contracts contain clauses that restrict employees during or after their employment. This can include working for competitors, talking to clients or working within certain areas after they leave.
Read more

Fears regional students left increasingly behind as tertiary education needed for future jobs left by the wayside
Tertiary education experts are concerned the gap between regional and metropolitan students seeking further education is widening. Nicole Wright from the Country Education Foundation said regional and rural children are 20 per cent less likely to opt for university and TAFE courses than city students.
Read more

Gender pay gap remains worst for women in WA despite uptick in those working, report finds
Women are participating in the workforce at a higher rate than ever before in Western Australia but they still face the biggest gender pay gap in the country, a report has found. The WA government's 2022 Women's Report Card — which measures the health, safety, economic independence and leadership opportunities of the state's women — says female participation in the workforce is the highest it has ever been.
Read more

Fair Work Ombudsman announces a record $532 million in unpaid wages were recovered in 2021-22
The amount is more than three times that of last year's figure. "It's clearly a problem," AMP senior economist Diana Mousina said. Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah announced the figures in a speech to the Policy-Influence-Reform (PIR) conference in Canberra on Monday afternoon and said they were good news for workers and compliant businesses.
Read more

Stress less: Why we shouldn’t fear the four-day working week
Dogs in offices. Flexible work hours. Mental health days. It may sound simplistic, but most workplace change stems from an employee wanting to improve their life and a leader brave enough to listen and implement. As a Scottish business owner in Australia, I used to take great pleasure in my annual 30-hour transit back home. It was my time to clock off and think big. I didn’t work, I didn’t jump on my laptop, but when I landed I ended up roaming around Europe, hunting for a notepad and pen when growth plans came to me.
Read more

Embrace the change: Working from home is here to stay
Working from home appears to be exercising the minds of Victorians this week. LaTrobe University academics were interviewed in the media about their study of working from home (WFH) during the 2020 lockdowns, most commonly with a focus on reported negative health impacts. In another contribution, Liberal Melbourne City councillor and barrister Roshena Campbell argued in this masthead that working from home risks creating a new class divide.
Read more

3rd August 2022

Can employees challenge a written warning?
A written warning is a document issued by an employer to an employee indicating that the employee is at risk of dismissal due to unsatisfactory performance or conduct. A warning is often used to support a decision to dismiss and should therefore be treated seriously by employees.
Read more

Can employees negotiate out of lengthy notice periods?
Lengthy notice periods are an increasingly common mandate for employees in senior or executive level positions or those with highly sought-after skills. For employees bound by these extended timeframes, it can be difficult to navigate how and when to leave a role for a new opportunity, especially if their new or prospective employer wants them to start sooner.
Read more

Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave Bill to be introduced this week
The Federal Government is set to introduce the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 (the Bill) on Thursday as Parliament resumes this week. Earlier this year, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) began its four yearly review of the Family and domestic violence leave entitlements in modern awards and arrived at a provisional view that the entitlement should be increased to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave.
Read more

Rebels Who Dislike the Cause: Can Employees Be Directed to Act Contrary to Beliefs?
The recent controversy over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles‘rainbow’ rugby league jersey raises an interesting employment law question which extends beyond football: to what extent can an employer direct an employee to promote, or be involved in, a cause, message or campaign to which the employee objects?
Read more

Survey: print media portrayal of teachers doesn’t help recruitment
Remember when former Morrison government minister Stuart Robert lashed out at “dud” teachers? In March, the then acting education minister said the “bottom 10 per cent” of teachers “can’t read and write” and blamed them for declining academic results. This is more than just a sensational headline or a politician trying to get attention. My research argues the way teachers are talked about in the media has a flow-on effect to how people feel about becoming a teacher, and how current teachers see their place in the community.
Read more

Never mind home alone, interns arrive to empty offices
Alex Hyman pictured his summer internship being one part Entourage and one part The Office: people screaming into telephones, others menacing their desk mates as unnervingly. Instead, the office of his entertainment agency was mostly empty when Hyman, 20, arrived in early June, on the day he had been told to report to the Los Angeles location. He waited outside a locked door until a colleague found him and explained that his boss was working from home. Hyman was dropped off in a conference room with his fellow interns. They spent the day navigating Excel and joking about it.
Read more

What is emotional intelligence and why is it becoming 'a must-have skill' at work?
Daniel Goleman has a blunt warning for jobseekers in 2022 and beyond: It's no longer enough just to be smart. Dr Goleman, an American author and psychologist, has spent decades touting the importance of 'emotional intelligence' in the workplace and other areas of life. And it appears companies and organisations have caught up with him. But what exactly is emotional intelligence or EI? And is it just more work-speak or 'a must-have skill' of the future?
Read more

'Grand compromise' at Western Sydney University hailed as answer to tertiary sector's reliance on insecure work
After years of revelations about the university sector's "dirty secret" — casualisation rates as high as two-thirds of all staff, as well as wage theft — there could be a solution. It comes as university staff negotiate their industrial agreements, with ugly scenes already unfolding on campuses across Australia.
Read more

Refuse refusal: rubbish collectors to let garbage pile up on Melbourne CBD streets during work ban
Melbourne’s city streets are in danger of disappearing under a pile of waste as rubbish collectors step up demands for a new pay deal. Nearly 100 staff, covered by the Municipal and Utilities Workers Union (MUWU), kicked off work bans on Thursday by refusing to service four key city streets.
Read more

Female tradies inspire next generation to fight gender stereotype through school program
When Erin Murphy decided to pursue a carpentry apprenticeship, she didn't realise the extent of the sexism she would face just to get her foot in the door. She said once a potential employer saw that she was a woman, she rarely heard back. "I have a very specific memory of a person calling me up for an interview and they were super excited, they said 'Can I please speak to Aaron Murphy?' And I said, 'oh no it's Erin Murphy'," she said.
Read more

27th July 2022

The Workplace Vaccine Mandate Myth Buster Case

In the recent Fair Work Commission decision of Eileen Owens v I-Med Radiology Ltd [2022] FWC 1823, an interlocutory judgment considering whether an unfair dismissal application had been filed within the required 21 days, Deputy President Asbury surveyed recent cases dealing with mandatory workplace COVID-19 vaccination and very helpfully set out principles emerging from those decisions relevant to a requirement for employees to be vaccinated in workplaces which are subject to government directives.
Read more

Failure to protect: Damages for distress, hurt and humiliation
The recent Federal Circuit and Family Court decision of Ruttley v Willis Brothers Installation (Qld) Pty Ltd [2022] FedCFamC2G 430 has highlighted the need for employers to properly respond to and deal with employees’ requests and inquiries about their employment. In this case, the employer’s failure to do so made it liable for additional damages for the employee’s distress, hurt and humiliation.
Read more

Employer’s ‘inadvertent error’ invalidates enterprise agreement
In a notable decision, the Fair Work Commission (Commission) has dismissed an employer’s application to approve its enterprise agreement, even though it was voted up by its employees, because the employer failed to comply with the strict Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) requirements in distributing a Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR) to its employees. In recent years, we have seen a steady decline in the number of enterprise agreements being made. This trend can partly be attributed to the technical requirements to make a valid enterprise agreement.
Read more

COVID-19 resurgence extends unpaid pandemic leave
The full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a decision on Friday 15 July 2022 confirming that it will extend the unpaid pandemic leave provisions (Schedule X provisions) in certain modern awards. Essentially, this means that employees covered under numerous modern awards will continue to have access to 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave if they’re unable to work because of COVID-19 (i.e. are required to self-isolate), until 31 December 2022.
Read more

Childcare workers to strike on 7 September as union says sector needs serious overhaul
The new Labor government will fail in its attempts to make early childhood education more accessible and more affordable without a serious overhaul of the sector’s conditions and wages, the United Workers’ Union has warned. Educators voted on Wednesday to take strike action on 7 September – Early Childhood Educators Day – to highlight the issues and stress that workers within the sector have been experiencing after “more than a decade of inaction”.
Read more

Workplace reform to proceed even without consensus at jobs summit, Tony Burke says
Labor will not allow its desire for “consensus” at the jobs summit to be “an excuse for inaction”, Tony Burke has said, warning reforms to boost pay and job security will proceed even over employers’ objections. The workplace relations minister told Guardian Australia he intends to “bring as many measures as possible from Labor’s secure jobs better pay policy in a single bill later in the year” after the September summit.
Read more

As Australian job vacancies double, which sectors are facing the biggest labour shortages?
Job vacancies in the Australian labour market have not just recovered from the Covid pandemic, they’ve doubled. According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics release, there are 480,100 job vacancies in Australia, a 111.1% increase since February 2020. In June unemployment tumbled to 3.5% as Australia approaches what is considered full employment, meaning almost everyone willing and able to work is in a job.
Read more

Ground crew, baggage handlers threaten strike action prompting fears of further delays at major Australian airports
Long queues, flight cancellations and baggage delays at major Australian airports could worsen, with "chronically overworked" ground crew threatening strike action over pay and working conditions. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said about 700 baggage and ramp operations staff at global aviation company, Dnata, will apply to the Fair Work Commission on Tuesday to hold a vote on industrial action.
Read more

Government winds back Australian Building and Construction Commission's powers to 'bare legal minimum'
The federal construction watchdog's powers will be stripped back to the "bare legal minimum" within days, in a federal government move to dump what it describes as "ridiculous" rules. Labor went to the last election vowing to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) altogether, arguing it had been wasteful in pursuing cases against unions.
Read more

Artificial intelligence can monitor workplaces for safety breaches. Experts say privacy laws are lagging
The emergence of artificial intelligence that uses cameras to check for health and safety breaches in the workplace has raised concerns about a creeping culture of workplace surveillance and a lack of protections for workers. AI technology which uses CCTV cameras can be trained to identify breaches such as when a worker is not wearing gloves or a hard hat, or to identify hazards like spills.
Read more

How to make performance reviews less terrible – especially given the challenges of supervising remote workers
Few office workers seem to like performance reviews, those annual examinations of how well workers are doing their jobs. And many seem to outright hate – or fear – them. A 2015 survey of Fortune 1000 companies found that nearly two-thirds of employees were dissatisfied with performance reviews, didn’t think they were relevant to their jobs – or both. In a separate survey conducted in 2016, a quarter of men and nearly a fifth of women reported crying as a result of a bad review. The figures were even higher for younger workers.
Read more

20th July 2022

Serious Misconduct – What employers need to think about
It can often be confusing for an employer when assessing if an employee has engaged ‘serious misconduct’ and if it is therefore appropriate to dismiss them from their employment without notice. In this blog, we clarify what is most important for an employer to consider in determining that an employee has engaged in serious misconduct.
Read more

Family and Domestic Violence / FDV Leave
A landmark decision has been handed down by The Fair Work Commission providing Australian workers with an entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave. What is family and domestic violence?
Read more

Proposed courier and gig economy changes in Queensland
The Queensland State Government has introduced laws which, if passed by State Parliament and approved by the Federal Attorney-General, will fundamentally change the regulation of couriers, lorry owner drivers and those working in the gig economy. The Industrial Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 contains what will be a new chapter of the Industrial Relations Act dealing with independent couriers. These are individuals (who are not employees) who provide a service transporting goods using a courier vehicle (including a car, van, lorry, truck, bicycle or scooter).
Read more

WorkCover weekly payments
When you suffer an injury at work in Victoria, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages (weekly payments), medical expenses and lump sum compensation called an impairment benefit. These entitlements are known as your statutory benefits, or no-fault benefits. This article will examine the first of these entitlements, weekly payments of compensation after a workplace injury.
Read more

What is the difference between redundancy and retrenchment?
Redundancy and retrenchment are two terms that are sometimes confused by employers and employees. Redundancy occurs when a specific role is no longer required because of operational changes within a business. Once a position is redundant, the employee holding that role can either be redeployed (moved into another job for the same employer) or retrenched (lose their job).
Read more

Difference between accumulation and defined benefit super funds
Most Australian workers have a superannuation fund into which monthly or quarterly deposits are made by their employer as well as the option for contributions to be made by the worker themselves. Employers need to make super guarantee payments (a legislated percentage of the employee’s wages) and some employers will also offer higher contributions as part of a salary package, employment contract or enterprise agreement.
Read more

When Does Work Commence? The Difference Between Paid Working Time and Unpaid Preparation Time
It is generally accepted that employees will need to take steps to prepare themselves before commencing work, and that this preparation time is unpaid. However, there are circumstances where employees are required to perform work-related tasks prior to commencing work, or during their break. For example, applying and removing personal protective equipment (“PPE”). The question arises…what constitutes paid working time, and what remains unpaid preparation time?
Read more

What to do if your Tasmanian worker’s compensation claim is disputed?
If you’re injured at work in Tasmania, you’re entitled to lodge a claim for worker's compensation. If your claim is accepted, you will be entitled to weekly payments, medical expenses and other benefits. But what happens if your WorkCover claim is disputed by your employer? How long does your employer have to make a decision on your WorkCover claim?
Read more

Significant damages awarded to a bullied worker under Fair Work Act
In a recent series of decisions before the Federal Court of Australia, a long-serving employee who had been harassed and bullied by the company’s CEO successfully obtained a very significant order for compensation for breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), after the Court held that it was not confined by the restrictions imposed on a claim by the employee for the same events under state workers compensation laws.
Read more

War for talent myth debunked
Every day there are headlines about how difficult it is for businesses to find great staff - but it is somewhat of an exaggerated rhetoric. That’s the view of Charles Ferguson, Asia-Pacific general manager of global employment platform Globalization Partners, who says the war for talent is all about perspective.
Read more

13th July 2022

Hundreds of Perth health staff, police and firefighters rally in stop-work meeting for pay rises
Pausing mortgages, carpooling to save on fuel, and asking for help to feed themselves - they're the many ways health staff say they're making ends meet. As rising inflation and interest rates put more pressure on their pay cheques each month, hospital workers are pushing for what they say is a fair pay rise after two years of living on the front lines of COVID. It's why hundreds rallied outside Perth Children's Hospital today, in a bid to try and convince the government to review its public sector wages policy as new pay deals are negotiated.
Read more

Unfair Dismissal Cap Rises to $81,000 Today
The caps for compensation and income in unfair dismissal claims increase from today. The high-income threshold for unfair dismissal applications increases to $162,000, while the maximum compensation increases to $81,000 for any dismissal claims lodged from 1 July 2022. The high-income threshold means that the Fair Work Commission will not have jurisdiction to hear a claim for unfair dismissal made by any employee not covered by an award AND who earns more than $162,000.
Read more

Government eyes increase to skilled migration, but says it won't be the simple fix to Australia's labour woes
Treasurer Jim Chalmers says a proposal to temporarily double skilled migration places to 200,000 to address critical labour shortages is a reasonable one, as the federal government plans a jobs summit to find common ground in the private sector. Business groups have lobbied for a lift in the migration intake as nearly every sector struggles to find workers.
Read more

Proving causal nexus in psychological injury claims
If a co-worker sets up a colleague for a criminal offence, and the colleague suffers a psychological injury – does the psychological injury occur in the course of, or arise out of, employment? In the matter of Nizamdeen v University of New South Wales [2022] NSWPIC 17 (12 January 2022) the Commission decided the psychological injury did not occur in the course of, or arise out of, employment.
Read more

Updated OHS framework for labour hire workers and hosts in Victoria
The Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (Vic) (Amending Act) amended the OHS Act to expand the scope of the occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations on organisations when they use labour hire workers in Victoria. Although host organisations already owed OHS duties to labour hire workers, a key practical implication of the Amending Act is the new express obligation requiring consultation and cooperation between host employers and labour hire suppliers in relation to OHS issues.
Read more

Accounting for Portable Long Service Leave
Whilst many of us are familiar with the concept of Long Service Leave (LSL), we may be less familiar with the concept of Portable LSL. With the shift in numerous industries to short-term contracts, many employees will never be able to work for the same company for the required number of years to be entitled to LSL.
Read more

Workplace relations changes effective 1 July 2022
There are various workplace relations changes that came into effect on 1 July 2022. Employers and employees must be aware of these changes. As discussed in our previous article, the Fair Work Commission has approved increases in respect of the National Minimum Wage (NMW). These changes include the NMW increasing by 5.2 per cent, meaning the new NMW will be equal to $812.60 per week (or $21.38 per hour). In addition, modern award minimum wages have increased, with modern award rates below $869.60 per week attracting an increase of $40 per week, and modern award rates above $869.60 attracting an increase of 4.6 per cent.
Read more

Widow of food delivery rider vows to fight for workers' rights after legal win
The widow of a food delivery rider who died in Sydney has vowed to continue fighting for worker rights after winning a lengthy legal battle against gig company Hungry Panda. Speaking to 7.30 after the bittersweet victory, Lihong Wei said her two children were still struggling to deal with the loss of their father, Xiaojun Chen, two years ago.
Read more

Curtin University study predicts workplace silica exposure could cause 10,000 Australians to develop lung cancer
The co-author of a new study that predicts up to 10,000 Australians will develop lung cancer from workplace exposure to silica dust says the use of artificial stone for kitchen benchtops should be banned. Lin Fritschi, a professor at the Curtin University School of Population, said silica dust — the most potent source of which is artificial stone — is a dangerous product and banning it would save the lives of construction workers.
Read more

Melbourne aged-care provider charged by workplace safety watchdog after Covid outbreak
A Victorian aged-care provider has been charged with occupational health and safety offences after a deadly Covid-19 outbreak at one of its facilities. WorkSafe has alleged Heritage Care Pty Ltd failed to properly train staff at its Epping Gardens residential aged-care facility in 2020 during an outbreak that resulted in several deaths and infections. WorkSafe said 89 residents and 65 staff developed Covid during the outbreak, with 34 residents subsequently dying from Covid-related complications.
Read more

6th July 2022

Land­mark State­ment on the Rights of Gig Econ­o­my Workers
Uber and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have signed a joint Statement of Principles that calls for reform of the rights and conditions of workers in the on-demand transport industry who are not engaged as employees. The statement signals support for the Federal Government legislating for an independent body with the capacity to: set minimum earnings/benefits and conditions for platform workers; facilitate a mechanism to resolve disputes; ensure the effective representation of platform workers; and ensure that appropriate enforcement mechanisms are in place.
Read more

Limits to relying on a specialist contractor
A recent judgment has emphasised the limitation of relying on a specialist contractor to safely perform work, where the risk of injury is obvious and no action is taken to stop the unsafe work. While a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is entitled to rely on the expertise of another contractor when they do not possess the skills to do the work itself, it does not completely remove the duty of care. Where there is a known risk to health and safety, and the PCBU has processes in place to reduce that risk, then it has a duty to stop any unsafe work until those processes are complied with.
Read more

Mammoth fines for unions supporting essential worker strikes
The NSW Government plans to dramatically increase fines for unions that take strike action not approved by the State. NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said Labor will block the new bill and criticised the new premier for failing to do what his predecessor was capable of.
Read more

NSW government loses bid to stop rail union’s industrial action
Sydney is set for more train delays on Wednesday after the New South Wales government lost its case to suspend planned industrial action by the state’s rail union. The government launched a case in the Fair Work Commission on Monday seeking orders to block the fresh round of industrial action by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU).
Read more

Unions seek high court challenge to NSW campaign spending restrictions
The peak union body in New South Wales is seeking to launch a high court challenge against the Perrottet government amid a push to reintroduce controversial laws that cap third-party campaign spending ahead of next year’s state election. Unions NSW filed pleadings in the high court on Thursday, targeting so-called “acting-in-concert” laws that ban unions and other third-party organisations such as religious and community groups from pooling resources during election campaigns.
Read more

Industrial action to continue across Sydney rail's network causing delays for commuters
Sydney commuters will face further rail delays with trains operating at 60 per cent capacity for the rest of the week. The NSW government made an application with the Fair Work Commission to halt further industrial action by the rail union which would see only 25 per cent of trains on the tracks operational.
Read more

What employees want from their jobs
The acute skills shortage shows no signs of slowing down, meaning this could be the perfect time for professionals to rethink their relationship with their employer – whether through asking for a pay rise, embracing greater flexibility at work or starting the search for better opportunities elsewhere.
Read more

Four-day work week has a chance to gain traction this time
The four-day work week is having a moment. With thousands of workers in the UK trying it – part of a recently launched six-month trial that is the largest of its kind in the world – there’s a sense that it might finally gain wider traction. At least if employees have any say.
Read more

Australia hasn’t had the Great Resignation, but more people are quitting now
The past year has been awash with suggestions countries such as Australia are experiencing a “great resignation” as workers previously loyal to their employers quit their jobs and look for others elsewhere. Last year, newspaper articles aside, there was little evidence for this in Australia, although substantial evidence in the United States where the term came from.
Read more

Letting pensioners work more may help fill job vacancies, but there may be better alternatives
There's almost never been a harder time to find good staff. Shop windows across the country are plastered with "help wanted" signs, and most of those businesses are finding help pretty hard to find. Health care, hospitality, IT, construction and manufacturing are just some of the industries clamouring for new staff, and competing for a fairly small pool of available workers.
Read more

29th June 2022

Why are almost half of our work-related fatalities occurring on our roads?
According to the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland, fatigue contributes to 20% to 30% of all injuries and deaths on the road. [1] The true statistics may very well be more significant given, in many instances, fatigue is but one of several factors that may have contributed to the accident. It is not just a public safety issue. It is also a workplace issue.
Read more

Do you want to be an independent contractor, or an employee?
The legal distinction between independent contractors and employees is often written about: not so often the question of whether a working doctor is better off as an independent contractor or as an employee. If you have a choice, or the option is negotiable, what factors are relevant in deciding which way should you go?
Read more

Signing a deed of release may affect your ongoing worker’s compensation benefits
On occasion, a worker may be asked to sign a deed of release when an employer moves to terminate the worker. A deed of release is a legally binding document between an employer and employee, setting out the terms of settlement (for example, payments and what each party can and cannot do), following an employee’s termination. In this article, we explore how a deed of release can affect an injured worker’s ongoing worker’s compensation benefits following termination of employment.
Read more

Recent amendments to Model WHS Act
On 6 June 2022, the national Model WHS Laws were amended to consider a wide range of matters, including recommendations from Marie Boland’s independent review of the laws in 2018. Of Boland’s 34 recommendations for the harmonised laws, Safe Work Australia (SWA) has implemented 20 of them. Updates will be made to the model WHS Act, the Act’s explanatory memorandum, the model WHS Regulations, the Regulations’ explanatory statement and other relevant materials.
Read more

Sexual harassment in the workplace
Among other significant events in 2021 was the commencement the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (Cth), known as the Respect@Work legislation, that clarified and expanded the operation of the existing laws and amended the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth), the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)./
Read more

Qantas outsourcing heading to High Court as airline loses appeal
Qantas outsourcing of 1,683 ground crew worker jobs during the pandemic was found to be illegal by the Federal Court and the company lost its subsequent appeal against that decision. The airline now plans to take the landmark case to the High Court where it could be liable for huge costs if it loses, including compensating the sacked workers, as well as penalties for breaching the Fair Work Act.
Read more

Changes to the WA industrial relations act
Changes to the Western Australia industrial relations system come into effect on 20 June 2022. The Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2021 amends a number of acts, including the Industrial Relations Act 1979, the Long Service Leave Act 1958, the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993, and the Public and Bank Holidays Act.
Read more

Fair Work Commission Considers COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Implemented During Omicron
A recent decision relating to a dispute under an Enterprise Agreement shows that COVID-19 vaccination policies in the absence and easing of government directions can be reasonable and lawful, even with high community and workplace vaccination rates. In this case, the Fair Work Commission disagreed with submissions from union representatives that insufficient consultation occurred, the policy was unreasonable because lesser control measures could be used, or that vaccine requirements were disproportionate to the risk, particularly in light of Omicron, and upheld the policy as lawful and reasonable.
Read more

Labor unveils 'clean slate policy' as part of last-minute tweak to controversial jobseeker reforms
Jobseekers who have accrued penalties or demerits under Australia's outgoing employment services program will have their slates wiped clean, under a Labor pledge made just days before a controversial new system comes into effect. From next Monday, a new service called Workforce Australia will replace the jobactive scheme, which required jobseekers to submit 20 job applications a month to keep their Centrelink payments
Read more

"Tick-a-box exercise’: majority of jobseekers dissatisfied with billion-dollar Jobactive system, report finds
Jobseekers are dissatisfied with the poor quality service and punitive treatment they’ve received under a $1bn-a-year privatised employment services program, according to a new report. An Australian Council of Social Service report, released on Tuesday, surveyed respondents about their experiences of the Jobactive system, which has been the main scheme for people on unemployment benefits in Australia since 2015.
Read more

Workplace Gender Equality Agency report shows the gender pay gap widens as women get older
Women are vastly underpaid over their lifetimes and missing out on top management roles while pay parity with men remains elusive, according to research out today. Data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) shows that across all generations, less than 50 per cent of women are working full time and earn consistently less than men in every age bracket.
Read more

22nd June 2022

FWC hands down highly anticipated minimum wage decision
An expert panel of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has handed down its decision in its annual minimum wage review for 2021-22. In a highly anticipated decision, the FWC has approved a series of increases in respect of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and modern award minimum wages.
Read more

Workplace bullying or reasonable management action – what injured workers or employees in Victoria need to know
The negative effects of workplace bullying, stress and/or harassment on an injured worker can be traumatic, severe and permanent – often resulting in lifelong adverse mental health consequences. If you are or have been subject to bullying in your workplace, you may be entitled to monetary compensation.
Read more

Government will introduce ten days paid family and domestic violence leave
In 2018, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) varied over 100 modern awards to include five days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence. Earlier this year, the FWC began its four yearly review of the Family and domestic violence leave entitlements in modern awards and arrived at a provisional view that the entitlement should be increased to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave.
Read more

Fair Work Commission minimum and award wage increase - cost of living fire blanket for workers or inflationary fire accelerant for business?
The Fair Work Commission Expert Panel on Annual Wage Reviews has handed down its decision to raise the national minimum wage and modern award minimum wages by 5.2%. Under s.285(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Expert Panel is required to “conduct and complete an annual wage review in each financial year”.
Read more

Federal Court rules in favour of international workers in wage dispute
The Federal Court has ruled a New South Wales restaurateur significantly underpaid two international workers in a major contravention of the Fair Work Act. Indian national Midhun Basi and Pakistani national Syed Haider sued Vaisakh Usha and his company, Namitha Nakul Pty Ltd, claiming breaches of the Act.
Read more

Am I thin-skinned, or is my colleague’s nagging getting nasty?
I have a colleague who criticises my work. In the beginning, the criticism was firm but usually fair. Now it feels to me as if it often gets personal, unhelpful and even a tad nasty. It is confusing because by many measures, I see my work has only got better over this period.
Read more

Rural escape: Where talking about the weather is more than small talk
When Millie Fisher and her friend and boss Grace Brennan from rural online marketplace Buy from the Bush jump on Zoom meetings with city dwellers, they often kick off with a comment about the weather. They’re not just making small talk. “People just look at us blankly as if to say, ‘What are you telling us that for?’ Unfortunately, out here the weather affects the internet. That can definitely be a struggle at times, but we always manage to work around it,” says Fisher.
Read more

Diversity and inclusion aren’t the same, and both need your attention
Recognition and understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in Australian workplaces is increasing, which is an encouraging shift in the right direction. However, something I frequently observe is that the two terms—diversity and inclusion—are used interchangeably. In reality, they are two distinct concepts that are certainly interconnected, but not exchangeable.
Read more

Universities on workplace watchdog’s wage theft priority list
Eleven universities are being investigated for potentially underpaying staff and the federal workplace watchdog has flagged “high-level” action against several as it put the tertiary education sector on this year’s priority list. Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said underpayments in the tertiary sector had become a systemic issue, which has been linked to the use of casual academics.
Read more

Major boost for workplace mental health and mines safety
The McGowan Government has announced two major workplace initiatives that will further support the health and safety of Western Australian workers. Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has appointed an independent expert to review the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) protocols for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the mining industry.
Read more

NSW teachers to strike over pay and 'crippling workloads' next week
Teachers from NSW's public and Catholic schools will go on strike on Thursday, June 30, over a dispute about pay and staff shortages. The NSW Teachers Federation and the NSW branch of the Independent Education Union of Australia have announced the historic 24-hour strike action, for the day before the end of term two.
Read more

15th June 2022

Response to modern slavery law disappointing, report finds
When the government brought in the Modern Slavery Act in January 2019, it was hailed as a critical first step by Australia towards tackling the global problem of modern slavery. The government proclaimed it would transform the way businesses respond to modern slavery by requiring companies to report on how they take effective action to address the risks of slavery in their operations and supply chains. However, new figures reveal that the early impact of the Act is disappointing.
Read more

Terminating an Employee for Excessive Phone Usage during Work Hours
As employees start to return to the office, they may find it increasingly difficult to leave their personal lives at home. Employees may be tempted to handle private affairs such as a side business or non-work related calls during working hours. While employers may be lenient to a certain extent, what happens when this compromises the quality of the employee’s work? As an employer are you entitled to dismiss an employee simply because they were using their phone?
Read more

What can we expect from the Albanese government in relation to employment, industrial relations and workplace safety?
In the lead up to and now post-election, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has flagged several significant changes to Australia’s employment, industrial relations and workplace safety landscape. As the ALP has now formed a majority government, we can expect sweeping reform and the implementation of key policy directives. It will be important for businesses to remain attuned to developments in this space, as many of the ALP’s proposals, if implemented, will require substantial updates to workplace policies, procedures and employment contracts.
Read more

The Importance Of Understanding Award Coverage and Application
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, it’s important to know whether you/your employee’s position is award covered and, if so, by which award. Award coverage is relevant to determining monetary and non-monetary entitlements, as well as availability of/exposure to unfair dismissal claims on termination of employment and breach of award claims.
Read more

Using his own words against him: How a complete refusal to comply with an employer’s vaccination policy regardless of its contents can justify termination without notice
Mr Matthew Colwell was employed by Wellways Australia, until his employment was terminated on 18 December 2021. His employment was terminated on the grounds that he failed to comply with a policy requirement that he be vaccinated against COVID-19. Mr Colwell made an application under s 394 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) seeking a remedy for unfair dismissal. In his application, Mr Colwell claimed that the policy was not subject to proper consultation, such that a decision to dismiss him for non-compliance could not be a valid reason for dismissal.
Read more

Fair Work upholds decision to dismiss for IP disclosure
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission to uphold the dismissal under the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code highlights the value to business of ensuring employment agreements include important intellectual property protections. In August 2021 Amplified AI Pty Ltd (AAI) dismissed its Head of Design, James Mansfield, for breach of confidentiality obligations and infringement of its intellectual property (IP). In the decision in James Mark Mansfield v Amplified AI Pty Limited [2021] FWC 6702 (30 December 2021) the Commission upheld the dismissal under the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code 2011.
Read more

Sexual harassment under the microscope – importance of reform
A recent NSW discrimination case has highlighted the importance of reform in the area of sex discrimination and sends a message to employers about the impact of the proposed amendments to federal sex discrimination laws. In the recent decision of Vafa v Holdsworth; Vafa v University of Newcastle [2022] NSWCATAD 163, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) considered whether conduct occurring between an academic and his student amounted to sexual harassment.
Read more

Sexual Harassment Training Essential in Today’s Workplace
One of the objectives of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) (the “Act”) is to eliminate sexual harassment. A recent decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“VCAT”) serves as a reminder to employers of the importance of employee training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and the need for effective systems to deal with complaints. An employee, Ms Oliver, alleged that over the course of almost 11 months her co-worker, Mr Catalfamo, engaged in conduct that constituted sexual harassment at the beauty salon where they both worked. Such conduct included suggestive and inappropriate comments, enquiries, jokes, requests and touching. There was also an incident of sexual assault.
Read more

Changes to the WHS Model Laws – coming to a state and territory near you!
On 20 May 2021, the Ministers responsible for Work Health and Safety (WHS) from the Commonwealth and each state and territory met to consider a range of matters, including the response to the 2018 “Boland Review”. On 14 April 2022, a raft of amendments were made to the Model WHS Laws – but for reasons unknown, the updated model WHS Laws were not published until 6 June 2022.[1]
Read more

NSW education department launches legal action against teachers union over May strikes
The New South Wales Teachers Federation is facing potential court-ordered penalties because of widespread strikes in May over pay and conditions in public schools. In a lawsuit, the state’s Department of Education accused the union of breaching orders made by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) in November last year ordering it to refrain from further industrial action.
Read more

What Albanese needs to build a new industrial relations consensus
A few weeks before his election victory, Anthony Albanese made an important speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He talked of “socially inclusive growth – the kind of growth that is only possible with economic reform that lifts productivity”. But how to do it? Albanese’s answer was a good one: greater co-operation.
Read more

SA government reaches compromise with unions and business over ReturnToWorkSA changes
South Australian workers would still be able to claim compensation for multiple injuries caused in the same incident, under legislation proposed by the state government after backing down due to pressure from unions. However, the threshold for workers to be considered "seriously injured" would increase from 30 per cent to 35 per cent of whole-person impairment in order to keep down the premiums employers pay to ReturnToWorkSA to cover potential work injury claims.
Read more


8th June 2022



Public sector employees to join Hyde Park rally and NSW parliament march today
A statewide strike of public sector workers and a march will go ahead today, despite a commitment by the NSW government to lift wages. On Monday, Premier Dominic Perrottet said that workers could expect a pay rise of 3 per cent this year, with another 0.5 per cent increase likely next year. But the Public Service Association (PSA) NSW, which is leading the march, is calling for the government to increase wages by a minimum of 5.2 per cent.
Read more

Exempt workers: Compensation for First Responders
In 2012 and 2015, amendments were introduced to NSW workers compensation legislation. Workers compensation entitlements were reduced for all workers in NSW except emergency service workers including police officers, paramedics, firefighters and lifeguards. As these workers are exempt from these amendments, they are generally referred to as “exempt workers.”
Read more

What the ALP Election Victory Means for Employers
As the dust settles from the 2022 federal election, the election of the Australian Labor Party (the “ALP”) is likely to bring about some changes to the employment and industrial relations landscape in Australia. Throughout the election campaign a number of promises were made by the ALP and we have considered what the ALP election victory means for employers.
Read more

The Rise of Workplace Banter
There is an interesting development in the UK, with the rise of “workplace banter” as a defence to claims of harassment, bullying and discrimination. It raises the question of what constitutes light-hearted banter, what constitutes inappropriate workplace behaviour, and whether employees are aware of the distinction. The FWC has similarly dealt with many cases of inappropriate workplace behaviour.
Read more

Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission endorses a broader definition of ‘termination of employment’
A 5-member Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (‘the FWC’) has addressed the relationship between demotion and dismissal under the Fair Work Act (‘the FW Act’) in a recent appeal determination. In NSW Trains v Todd James [2022] FWCFB 55 (‘Todd James’), the Full Bench overturned a decision of DP Saunders, who in a 2021 decision held that demotions amount to dismissal where employment continues with significant reductions in remuneration or duties.
Read more

Australia is on the brink of a wellbeing recession
Lockdowns and border closures may (hopefully) be a thing of the past, but the legacy of COVID looms large over our ways of working. One of the lasting impacts of COVID is that many Australians are working more hours and feeling more burnt out than before the pandemic. Remarkably, more than 90 per cent of workers now say their physical and mental wellbeing is just as important as their pay – and that’s during a cost-of-living crisis. Simply put, Australia is in danger of tipping into a wellbeing recession.
Read more

Buzzword bingo: Corporate jargon strikes back
So much corporate gobbledygook gets thrown around LinkedIn that when an account from comic creation Alan Partridge was launched in the midst of the pandemic, his spoof posts seemed to blend in seamlessly. In one update mocking those who spout meaningless career advice, he urged his followers to “be different, be you, be best” — telling them to flex their creative muscle as soon as they wake up by thinking of unusual ways to get out of bed (“roly poly off the end”) or attend a video call (“why not host the call while scratching your feet with a pumice stone, or doing some lunges? Again, try to be creative”).
Read more

Meetings – a waste of time or valuable part of office life?
Face-to-face meetings are one of the many challenges of reintegrating back into office life. No longer can you dial into team meetings with the camera off because of your dressing gown and bed head. In-person meetings not only require a greater level of engagement, but a greater attention to grooming.
Read more

Unions claim 'astounding' changes to ReturntoWorkSA injury insurance scheme to be rushed in on budget day
SA Unions says the state's new Labor government is trying to rush through legislation to make it more difficult for workers to claim compensation for multiple injuries caused by the same workplace incident. The state government and Business SA have said the changes would make the ReturnToWorkSA scheme more affordable for employers.
Read more

Eco-friendly policies could entice workers back to the office
Climate change took centre stage at Australia’s recent Federal election with many voters using their ballots to put the environment at the top of the political agenda. While the benefits of climate change mitigation for the environment are clear, University of South Australia human resources expert Dr Subha Parida says ‘going green’ could also bring workers back to the city – a challenge many employers face as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease.
Read more

Casuals, contractors and gig workers set for 'potentially massive' changes under Labor
With the election campaign focused on issues as disparate as the cost of living, China’s growing regional influence and transgender women playing sport, you might have missed it — but the incoming Labor government has promised a radical overhaul of an employment system it says is letting workers down. "The changes are potentially going to be huge … potentially massive," says Giuseppe Carabetta, senior lecturer in employment law at the business school of the University of Sydney.
Read more


1st June 2022



Employee wins almost $100,000 in compensation and penalties following unlawful adverse action by employer
In December 2021, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia found that an employer had taken adverse action against an employee for a prohibited reason under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Mr Stuart Lees was employed in 2014 by Asaleo Personal Care Pty Ltd as a sourcing manager. Mr Lees was regarded as a good and valuable employee until 2019, when part of the business was sold. On 14 July 2019, Mr Lees requested a formal redundancy. The General Manager denied this requested as Mr Lee’s job was not redundant despite three category members no longer reporting to him.
Read more

“What’s in a Name?” High Court of Australia confirms the Employee versus Independent Contractor Test
On 9 February 2022, the High Court of Australia (High Court) altered the legal test used to determine whether a person is an independent contractor or employee at law, with the focus now on what the parties have agreed. In analysing the “totality of the relationship between the parties”, Courts will consider the rights and obligations conferred and give less weight to how the relationship operates in practice.
Read more

Exploitation of Migrant Workers Set to Increase
Natural disasters, the Covid-19 pandemic and a federal election may have knocked the exploitation of international students and temporary visa holders off the front pages of the newspapers, but it remains a significant issue in Australia – and a hidden one as workers are often unaware of their rights or too scared to speak out for fear of repercussions. There are concerns the problem could get a great deal worse as international borders reopen and students return to a nation desperate for workers, which now allows their hours to be limitless.
Read more

An employer can breach their duty of care by allowing an employee to repetitively turn their head when operating machinery
In the New South Wales District Court, Judge Russell dismissed Mr Cavanagh’s claim for injuries arising from his employment with Manning Valley Race Club. Mr Cavanagh claimed that he had suffered a serious cervical spine and right shoulder injury while working as a course manager for Manning Valley Race Club at the Bushland Drive Racecourse in Taree. Mr Cavanagh alleged that he sustained his injuries between June 1999 and February 2011 due to the nature and condition of his work, which resulted in an impairment of 27% of his spine.
Read more

Can an employer dismiss an employee following a serious drink driving conviction?
In the recent case of Sydney Trains v Andrew Bobrenitsky [2022] FWCFB 32, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission upheld an appeal on the grounds that the Deputy President erred in concluding that an employee had been unfairly dismissed following a serious drink driving conviction. Although Mr Bobrenitsky’s employment was terminated in response to misconduct that transpired away from his work, the Full Bench held that the nature of the misconduct was such that the employee could not be reasonably entrusted to continue carrying out his train driving duties.
Read more

Proposed 10 Days Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave
The Fair Work Commission has provided a provisional view that employers engaging staff across 123 different awards will be required to provide 10 days of paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave. The FWC has outlined its ‘next steps’ for FDV leave to be filed on 1 July 2022. The FWC cited the introduction of the family and domestic violence leave will “help individuals to maintain their economic security, to access relevant services and to safely exit a life free from FDV”.
Read more

Paramedics across NSW take snap industrial action after last-minute union decision
Paramedics across New South Wales will take five days of industrial action from Friday night after a last-minute union decision. The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) has moved forward with its on-the-job industrial action which was planned to begin on Monday in lieu of negotiations with the NSW government over a pay rise and a resource deficit.
Read more

Firefighter registration fuels tension between unions, Victorian government amid fire services overhaul saga
All paid Victorian firefighters will soon be certified by a new union-backed registration scheme despite the state government working on an alternative model to recognise firefighter qualifications. There are also concerns from some firefighters that the new registration board will give the United Firefighters Union (UFU) control over who can work as a firefighter.
Read more

There’s one big reason wages are stagnating: the enterprise bargaining system is broken, and in terminal decline
Real wages in Australia have been stagnating for the better part of a decade. Now, with higher inflation, they’re declining. So what can the new Albanese government, having campaigned hard on the previous government’s failures, do about it?
Read more

Anthony Albanese has some tough economic problems on his plate. Here are seven of them
All new governments face challenges but the Albanese government faces some very unique economic problems no previous government has had to deal with as it comes to grips with running the country.
Read more

Labor’s jobs summit to focus on pay deals and productivity in bid to lift wages
More immigration, improved skills policy and simplifying collective bargaining have emerged as three top demands from employers for the new Labor government’s jobs summit. Experts suggest the forum could also pave the way for reforms including wage theft legislation, which was dropped from the Coalition’s industrial relations bill, and action on union demands about insecure work.
Read more

25th May 2022

Proposals to expand the Federal System to ‘employee-like’ arrangements and alter ‘casual employee’ definition
Much of the Australian Labor Party (ALP or Labor) policy that was taken to this election concerns what the party describes as ‘insecure work’. Debate during the campaign has made clear that for the ALP, that description encompasses a wide class of worker – including casual employees, labour hire employees and independent contractors. We have reported on numerous ALP policies which impact this group, for example the same job/same pay and portable leave proposals.
Read more

Australian Federal Election Workplace and Industrial Relations Survey: Back to the future?
The results of our recent 2022 Federal Election Workplace and Industrial Relations Survey of our clients suggest that, as we emerge from the pandemic, the industrial relations challenges are quickly returning back to normal. In other words, despite the unprecedented events of the past couple of years, the headline issues in industrial relations are the same as they have always been; with limited new ideas to address them.
Read more

Case Note Update: Qantas Airways Limited v Transport Workers’ Union Australia [2022] FCAFC 71
The Trial Judge found that Qantas could not prove a negative - that the substantive and operative cause of the airline’s decision to make the staff redundant was not to prevent the workers exercising a workplace right. The workplace right was identified as the ability to negotiate a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement in the 6 months following the redundancy.
Read more

Full bench suggests ten days family and domestic violence leave
In 2018, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) varied over 100 modern awards to include five days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence. Earlier this year, the FWC began its four yearly review of the Family and domestic violence leave entitlements in modern awards. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) made arguments in support of increasing leave entitlements noting that all workers should have access to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave.
Read more

Workers in the office feel less connected than those working from home, study finds
CEOs hellbent on getting workers back in the office say that being physically together boosts connectivity. Turns out that’s not the case. Only one in six people feel strongly connected at work, with on-site employees the least connected of all, according to a study on Tuesday from global consulting firm Accenture. Some 22 per cent of fully remote workers say they feel “not connected,” while the share for those in the office is nearly double.
Read more

Unions, business, lay out priorities for incoming Albanese government
Australia’s union movement and the major business groups have staked out their priorities for the incoming federal government, with skills shortages and the spectre of an old battle over industrial law emerging as the two main themes.
Read more

Legal centres and employer groups call for better protections for migrant workers
Fernanda* was one of around 80 international students underpaid by a cleaning company that went into liquidation and set up under a new name a short time later. It is a practice known as phoenixing, where companies go into liquidation to avoid paying debts, such as entitlements owed to staff. A recent Senate inquiry found migrant workers like Fernanda were particularly vulnerable to underpayment and exploitation and most did not seek help.
Read more

Liberals should make superannuation voluntary and childcare free, moderate Andrew Bragg says
The Liberals should promise to make superannuation voluntary, introduce state income tax, offer free childcare and increase climate targets according to a radical reform agenda proposed by Andrew Bragg. The New South Wales senator has called on the opposition to abandon culture war issues in favour of economic reforms that unite Liberals in the wake of the Morrison government’s devastating defeat on Saturday.
Read more

Labor’s jobs summit to focus on pay deals and productivity in bid to lift wages
More immigration, improved skills policy and simplifying collective bargaining have emerged as three top demands from employers for the new Labor government’s jobs summit. Experts suggest the forum could also pave the way for reforms including wage theft legislation, which was dropped from the Coalition’s industrial relations bill, and action on union demands about insecure work.
Read more

Wages growth edges up, but still a long way short of the rising cost of living
Australian workers saw their base wages rise an average of 0.7 per cent over the March quarter and 2.4 per cent over the past year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The annual pay rise trails a 5.1 per cent jump in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, over the same period.
Read more


18th May 2022



DoorDash, TWU sign industry-first agreement on gig economy principles, paving the way for further regulation
Meal delivery platform DoorDash and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) have signed a first-of-its-kind agreement, laying out key principles for workers and companies operating in the gig economy while backing the push for enforceable industry standards. Major gig economy providers like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Deliveroo operate under a independent contractor model, where riders and drivers decide when, where, and how long they work.
Read more

Australian Uber drivers warn of mass exodus if base pay rates remain unsustainably low
Uber drivers, already feeling rising cost-of-living pains, say there will be a mass industry exodus if base rates don’t increase to sustainable levels. Les Johnson, the secretary of the Ride Share Drivers’ Association of Australia, said fees and charges had “gone through the roof” in recent months resulting in high driver cancellation rates.
Read more

Family and domestic violence paid leave on the political agenda after Fair Work Commission decision
Unions and advocates are calling on the next federal government to give all workers access to 10 days' paid and family violence leave, after the Fair Work Commission's landmark in-principle decision on the issue. The Fair Work Commission gave its in-principle support to vary the awards for around 2.3 million workers to include annual entitlements of 10 days' paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave.
Read more

Managing the risks of employees impaired by alcohol and other drugs
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has just released a new regulatory guidance note on managing the risks associated with alcohol and other drug use impairment in the workplace. This follows the NHVR’s first regulatory advice notices on managing the risk of transporting freight in shipping containers and managing the risks of light to medium heavy vehicles. What are the safety risks associated with drug and alcohol use?
Read more

Australia should lock in full employment: new Grattan report
Australia should shoot for full employment after the COVID crisis, according to a new Grattan Institute report. No one left behind: Why Australia should lock in full employment shows that all workers suffer when unemployment is high, but the most vulnerable workers suffer the most. And the costs of failing to reach full employment increase over time.
Read more

The side hustle supporting women post-pandemic
The impacts of the Covid pandemic have not been shared equally, with research revealing women have had a much more challenging time of it. But Australian women are resilient, and many are finding flexible work as they recover from the financial woes of the past couple of years. What the pandemic has taught us is that flexibility in where, when and how we earn a living is providing women with choices.
Read more

Why Aussies are seeking more flexible work solutions
If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that most of us work far too many hours. In fact, according to the Australian Institute of Health & Safety, Covid-19 has contributed to increased risk of burnout. This has led workers to seek out more flexible opportunities. Sydney’s Jayson Wong is a case in point. He was a business manager for a luxury car company when life stepped in and revealed it had other plans for him.
Read more

Eliminating gender bias in the workplace
Most of us don’t intend to be biased – but what many don’t realise is that removing bias requires conscious action. We are all hardwired to categorise things we encounter to help us make sense of the complex world around us, which often show up as biases both inside and outside the workplace. Many large companies have been increasing their focus on diversity and inclusion and expecting all employees to take responsibility for educating themselves and adapting their behaviours company-wide.
Read more

Employers fear the cost of making workplaces accessible. Turns out it's mostly free
Nathan Basha didn't let his disability prevent him from getting his dream job at a Sydney radio station. "I might have Down syndrome, but that is not who I am," he said. With a passion to work somewhere that embraced his interest in film, music and celebrities, Mr Basha said it was his supportive mum who asked him "how do we make this happen?"
Read more

Employer duty of care greater where risk of injury at work is obvious
An employer’s duty of care to its employees is greater when there is an obvious risk of psychological or physical injury (whether or not it results in a workers compensation claim) due to the nature of the work and/or the working environment. Zagi Kozarov was a dedicated and hard working solicitor, repeatedly exposed to traumatic sexual material which caused her to suffer psychiatric injury. She brought a WorkCover common law claim for compensation against her employer after being diagnosed with PTSD and depressive disorder.
Read more


11th May 2022



Pre-election workplace relations policy tracker
Since the release of the Australian Labor Party’s Secure Australian Jobs Plan, the team at Corrs have been tracking key announcements made by major political figures regarding industrial relations, workplace relations and other issues potentially relevant to business.
Read more

The flip side of the 'Great Resignation'
The so-called “Great Resignation” has recently taken up a lot of headline space, with many self-appointed experts providing plenty of fact-light assessments about the effect of the pandemic on people deciding to leave their jobs. Much less time has been devoted to understanding those who want to stay put in their jobs, especially those employees who were forced by the pandemic to work from home and have now decided they should be allowed to keep working from home indefinitely.
Read more

Journalist Awarded $180,000 in WorkCover common law claim for PTSD
A journalist was awarded $180,000 for pain and suffering damages in her WorkCover common law claim for psychiatric injuries after she was exposed to traumatic events as a crime and court reporter. YZ (a pseudonym) brought a claim against the Age in 2019 after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (‘PTSD’).
Read more

Labour Hire Agreements
In the current environment, it is not unusual for businesses to enter into an arrangement with another party for the provision of workers, whether for a specific task or type of work, or for the ongoing performance of services. Labour hire agreements can be drafted to reflect the terms and conditions of such an arrangement, that is, between one party who provides the workers (“Provider”), and the other party who “hires” the workers (“Client”).
Read more

Top 5 Tips for Employers to manage risk in 2022
Depending on your industry, you may be operating your business from home, or you may be exercising a hybrid working model (balancing work from home with work from the office). Whatever your current method of managing your working arrangements with your employees, our experience of COVID-19 over the last two years, and of the ebbs and flows of professional legal services within the employment scape, has equipped us with a knowledge of the risks, experiences, and concerns of employers within these unprecedented times.
Read more

Employee monitoring software became the new normal during COVID-19. It seems workers are stuck with it
In early 2020, as offices emptied and employees set up laptops on kitchen tables to work from home, the way managers kept tabs on white-collar workers underwent an abrupt change as well. Bosses used to counting the number of empty desks, or gauging the volume of keyboard clatter, now had to rely on video calls and tiny green "active" icons in workplace chat programs.
Read more

The solution to Australia’s jobs crunch could be already here
Australian businesses starved of skilled workers could recruit from a pool of more than half a million job-ready women, but only if the next government invests in better childcare, improves access to paid parental leave and drives higher wages in critical industries. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese clash over how to drive up pay packets in the face of sharply rising inflation, new research shows a solution to the nation’s skilled worker crisis could already be here.
Read more

How an auto-reply helped me regain control of my inbox
Send me an email and you'll immediately get a reply — one informing you that I might not get back to you for a good week or more. It's an auto-responder I set up two or three years ago, as the weight of an ever-expanding inbox and the pressure to reply speedily began wreaking havoc on my workday and my mind.
Read more

Industry warns ’small business can’t afford it’ after Albanese backs 5.1% minimum wage rise
Employers have warned against “unaffordable” wage increases after Anthony Albanese backed a 5.1% minimum wage rise to keep up with inflation. Despite the warnings, the Australian Industry Group has raised its own submission to the Fair Work Commission from 2% to 2.5%, while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked for low-paid workers to get a 3% rise.
Read more

Underfunding and staff shortages are driving aged care sector to ‘untenable standstill’, major provider warns
The head of a major Australian aged care provider has warned workforce shortages and underfunding are exhausting staff and driving the sector into an “untenable standstill”. The BaptistCare NSW and ACT chief executive, Charles Moore, has issued a plea to whichever party forms government to act immediately to improve aged care funding, warning the current pressures are unsustainable and are hitting vulnerable residents as well as staff.
Read more


4th May 2022



The importance of giving employees an opportunity to respond before termination
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (Commission) has affirmed the importance of giving employees (subject to termination) a genuine opportunity to respond, even where the reasons for dismissal are valid. Employers should consider the following to ensure that the dismissal of employees does not contravene the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act),
Read more

High Court decides the Commissioner of Police’s decisions to medically retire police officers are not exempt from unfair dismissal
On 3 November 2021, the High Court determined that a decision made by the Commissioner of Police (NSW) (Commissioner) to medically retire a police officer was not excluded from challenge under the unfair dismissal regime in the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) (Industrial Relations Act).
Read more

Eco-focused talent is in high demand
Demand for green skills is surging in the Australian labour market, driven by the transformation of the energy sector and the ongoing, economy-wide transition to a lower-carbon future. Jobs data backs up the idea that Australia’s economy is transitioning to be greener in nature. In 2021, the recruitment of sustainability managers was 24 per cent higher than 2016, according to LinkedIn’s most recent Global Green Skills Report, which analyses the platform’s data.
Read more

Opinion: Why the Great Resignation is a myth in Australia
“March is the Month of Expectation. The things we do not know - The Persons of prognostication Are coming now,” wrote poet Emily Dickinson in March is the Month of Expectation. Well, March has been and gone, a month in which prognosticators writing in major news outlets last year claimed “millions of Australians” would leave their jobs.
Read more

Consumer finance fintech InDebted named Australia’s best place to work
Consumer finance fintech InDebted has won the top spot in the 2022 AFR BOSS Best Place to Work list, thanks to its newly implemented four-day work week, work from anywhere policy, and payment of a quarterly office stipend. The online debt collection agency was also crowned the AFR BOSS Best Place to Work in the technology sector over progressive companies including employee wellbeing startup Culture Amp and online jobs company SEEK.
Read more

Qantas loses appeal on 'illegally' outsourcing jobs, with compensation and penalties awaiting
Qantas has lost its appeal against a Federal Court decision that found the outsourcing of about 2,000 ground crew workers was illegal. But the company now plans to appeal the landmark case to the High Court. If it loses it could be liable for hefty costs including compensating the sacked workers as well as facing penalties.
Read more

Teachers to strike despite plea from NSW government to delay industrial action
Teachers in New South Wales will go ahead with a planned strike on Wednesday despite an 11th-hour plea from the government for the union to delay action until after the June budget. Teachers will walk off the job for the second time in five months, amid long-running concerns over wages and conditions. It is the latest in a series of strikes in the state’s public service, with train drivers, nurses and paramedics recently taking such industrial action.
Read more

Industrial Relations on the Agenda in the Upcoming Election
With the 2022 federal election looming, PCS examines some of the prominent industrial relations policies being put forward by the major parties and the implications for employers. Both the Liberal-National Coalition (the “Coalition”) and Australian Labour Party (the “ALP”) have put forward policies to protect employees and employers, boost wages and address unlawful practices in the workplace.
Read more

Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission confirms the meaning of ‘dismissed’ in unfair dismissal cases
A five member Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in NSW Trains v James [2022] FWCFB 55 has reversed a single member decision that would have allowed employees who were lawfully demoted to challenge their demotions as unfair dismissals. This is a significant decision confirming that section 386(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) exclusively defines the meaning of whether an employee is ‘dismissed’ and that employers with a right under an enterprise agreement, or other industrial or legislative instrument, to demote an employee are not exposed to unfair dismissal claims if they properly exercise that right.
Read more

Managing Sick or Injured Employees
This podcast is the second part of our series discussing managing absent employees. In this episode we address the management of employees that have had a long term absence due to personal injury or illness. We discuss how to take the next steps, the legal risks, and the procedures that need to be followed when it becomes apparent that the inherent requirements of the role can’t be met. This is a complex and high risk area of law and employers are advised to proceed with caution and seek legal advice for their specific situation.
Read more


27th April 2022


Graduate hiring on the rise as employers offer more than money
As more graduate roles open up, employers will need to ensure their offer is attractive. While salary is a key component of any good offer, graduates consider more than money when deciding where to start their career.
Read more

Main parties fall short on career development policy
As we are frantically wooed by political parties, once again, policies that relate to career development are heavily targeted at relatively short-term exercises in boosting numbers enrolled in courses or apprenticeships, with little or no consideration (and therefore support) of the longer-term outcomes.
Read more

Managing Personal Leave
Businesses report that one of their biggest costs of managing their business is the cost of personal leave. Personal leave is an employee entitlement under the National Employment Standards, but is commonly misused, and this misuse costs the Australian economy millions of dollars each year. There are steps that all businesses can take to minimise this exposure.
Read more

Respect@Work: positive duties for a new age
Two years after the landmark Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces Report (Respect@Work Report), it is clear that the prevention of and response to sexual harassment and sex discrimination in the workplace will continue to be a significant issue for employers, irrespective of which party wins the federal election.
Read more

Demotion did not Trigger Dismissal
In certain circumstances the demotion of an employee can trigger the termination of their employment and allow them to bring an unfair dismissal claim. A recent decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has found that an employee who was demoted was not dismissed despite an almost 10 per cent reduction in salary.
Read more

Australian farm revolution: hopes and fears as a new workforce replaces backpackers
The government’s visa refund scheme to entice working holidaymakers back to Australia ended this week, with little more than 7,000 backpackers having taken advantage of the offer. That modest return is one indicator of a profound change in the fabric of Australia’s agriculture industry, as backpackers are replaced by migrant workers thanks to pandemic restrictions and a wider shake-up in the visa system.
Read more

ReBOOT: what is the ‘better off overall test’, and should you be worried about it?
The Coalition and Labor have been arguing over the “better off overall test”, known as the BOOT. What is it, why are they arguing, and who is right?
Read more

Factcheck: has the Coalition really ruled out industrial relations changes that could cut pay?
Labor is warning that a return of the Coalition’s omnibus industrial relations bill will mean changes to the better off overall test, allowing pay cuts.
Read more


20th April 2022



Should pay secrecy clauses stay or go?
There’s been a lot of debate in mainstream and social media in the past week about major Australian corporates removing pay secrecy clauses from their employment contracts. The Financial Services Union is keeping sustained pressure on employers in that industry to remove the clauses from their employment contracts.
Read more

Bosses don’t follow their own advice in returning to the office
Bosses are hellbent on getting their staff back into the office. It’s just that the rules don’t necessarily apply to them. While 35 per cent of non-executive employees are in the office five days a week, just 19 per cent of executives can say the same, according to a survey by Future Forum, a research consortium backed by messaging channel Slack.
Read more

‘Retention is the new black’: Bosses must earn the commute or pay the price
For Australian employers, the writing is on the wall: there’s little choice but to take a proactive approach in tempting workers back into the office, or pay the high cost of staff turnover amid an increasingly expensive war for talent. As the post-pandemic “hybrid work” model becomes the norm, experts are warning organisations large and small they must offer flexibility as well as “earn the commute” in a red-hot job market where a poor return-to-office policy can see even the most loyal employee walk out the door.
Read more

Gannawarra Shire Council pleads guilty to safety violations over Kerang thumb amputation
A northern Victorian council has been slapped with a $15,000 fine after pleading guilty to workplace safety breaches that resulted in an employee losing part of his hand. The incident occurred in October 2019 when the man, a diesel mechanic employed in Kerang by the Gannawarra Shire Council, was attempting to adjust the height of a hydraulic press that had a broken handle.
Read more

Aged care workers across Australia vote to take industrial action
Aged care workers across the country have voted to take industrial action over acute staff shortages and continuing low rates of pay, and their union says the mood for strike action prior to the election is “very strong”. The United Workers Union says members at five aged care providers collectively employing 7,000 workers have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, with three more ballots due in the next week.
Read more

Workcover weekly payments after 130 weeks
Most people need some time off work after sustaining an injury. If this injury occurred at work or in the course of your employment, you would likely be entitled to WorkCover payments of weekly compensation. But what happens if you can’t get back to work for a very long time or can’t go back to work at all? This article will examine how long your entitlement to weekly payments will last and what happens once you’ve been on WorkCover in Victoria for more than 130 weeks.
Read more

Compensation win for vulnerable victim of workplace racial abuse
Hall Payne Lawyers recently successfully represented a First Nations worker who had suffered a serious psychological injury after being the victim of ongoing, nasty racial abuse from colleagues. A workers compensation claim was initially accepted then subsequently denied before finally being won on appeal at the Northern Territory Work Health Court.
Read more

Changes to employee share schemes a win for talent
Employee share schemes have been overhauled as a part of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Budget 2022/23 announcements, with the government introducing a number of changes to increase access to share schemes. Companies use employee share schemes to incentivise current and potential employees by offering an opportunity to purchase shares or options in the company, usually at a discount.
Read more

Labour reform: a key issue for employers in the Federal Election
This election will be held in an Australia that is facing, what must feel to many of us, a very challenging and complicated world — the erosion of the rules-based order with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on-going and persistent tensions in Australia’s relationship with China, the trials of exiting the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, inflation, rising interest rates and energy costs, and challenges in supply chains from shortages of labour. Organisations have much to contemplate — and we will continue to hear lots about these issues in the election campaign.
Read more

New OHS regulations dealing with psychosocial hazards
The Victorian government is on the way to making employers more accountable for the mental health of their employees. Important amendments relating to psychosocial hazards have been proposed to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic). The proposed changes are to commence on 1 July 2022. We expect the proposed changes will largely be made in their current form. Under the new regulations, employers will need to identify psychosocial hazards, properly manage psychosocial hazards and actively report complaints of psychosocial hazards to WorkSafe. Failing to do so will expose an employer to prosecution and penalties.
Read more

Can the Fair Work Commission and federal courts award costs in employment matters?
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) and the Fair Work Division of the federal courts are both ostensibly ‘no costs’ jurisdictions. This means that the default position regarding claims and litigation associated with employment (e.g., unfair dismissal and general protections claims) is that no claims for costs against the other party can be made and consequently each party will pay its own costs.
Read more


13th April 2022



Thousands of health workers walk off the job over pay dispute with NSW government
Thousands of health workers have walked off the job as they call for a pay rise in an ongoing dispute with the New South Wales government. The strike is designed to put pressure on the government before a conciliation hearing at the Industrial Relations Commission next week. Under the state’s wages cap, public sector pay increases cannot legally exceed 2.5%. The Health Services Union said this was not enough as inflation is running at 3.5%.
Read more

Hospitality industry calls for pay freeze for Australia’s lowest-paid workers
Workers on the lowest pay would receive a real pay cut under a proposal to freeze the minimum wage pushed by the cafe and restaurant industry. The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association called for no increase in the minimum wage in its submission to the annual review, arguing take-home pay is already rising due to job shortages, on top of super increases and budget giveaways.
Read more

WFH forever? Two years into a work-from-home revolution, some may never return to the office
For almost a decade, Jenny Searle has had the same job. However, in the past two years, everything has changed for the better. Jenny is part of a social revolution that has swept the nation in the two years since March 2020, when governments mandated people who could work from home should do so, to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more

Australia enshrines protection against modern slavery
In the past four years, the Australian government has taken steps to address workplace exploitation in the operations and supply chains of Australian companies and this week it ratified the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Protocol on Forced Labour. With the ratification of the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour, Australia inches closer to making its response to modern slavery more survivor-centred, placing increased emphasis on the rehabilitation and compensation of those that have been exploited.
Read more

Temporary migrant workers remain vulnerable to workplace exploitation
Our borders have reopened. International students and backpackers are returning. Employers who complained of labour shortage can rejoice. But temporary migrant workers were vulnerable to workplace mistreatment before COVID-19. And there is no reason to think that employers will benevolently pay legal wages where they didn’t before. So, what has Australia’s government done to ensure businesses act appropriately now? The federal government has regularly touted its two main responses to the wage theft crisis – raising maximum penalties and increasing the Fair Work Ombudsman’s funding.
Read more

Consequential conditions – circumstances where a diagnosis is required
In the recent case of Grant v Dateline Imports Pty Ltd [2022] NSWPICPD 3, on appeal, Deputy President Wood confirmed the worker must have evidence of a diagnosis in support of an alleged consequential condition. The presence of symptoms, rather than a diagnosis, was insufficient to support a finding of consequential injury.
Read more

Workplace sexual harassment and compensation
Everyone has the right to a workplace that is safe and free from sexual harassment. Despite legislation across multiple Acts of Parliament aimed at protecting workers against sexual harassment, incidents continue to occur. In this article, we look at the options for compensation for those who have experienced sexual harassment at work. If you or someone you know has been physically or mentally injured from sexual harassment in the workplace, you can make a WorkCover claim for no fault statutory benefits including weekly payments, medical expenses and a lump sum claim for permanent impairment.
Read more

Blindsiding a worker into a redundancy meeting is not “reasonable management action”
In this article, we explore a case where a worker’s initial claim for workers compensation was denied by WorkCover Queensland due to the employer’s actions being considered “reasonable management action”. Upon application to Workers’ Compensation Regulator, that original decision was confirmed. The worker appealed to the Queensland Industrial Relations Tribunal (“QIRC”) who overturned the prior decisions and the workers’ compensation claim was ultimately accepted.
Read more

Stop Sexual Harassment Order Not Made by FWC Due to Employee’s Resignation
In 2021 the Government brought in reforms designed to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. This included the introduction of a “stop sexual harassment order”, equivalent to a “stop bullying order”. In accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (the “FW Act”) a worker who believes that they have been sexually harassed at work may apply to the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) for an order to make the sexual harassment stop. The FWC can make a stop sexual harassment order if it is satisfied that the worker has been sexually harassed at work and there is a risk that the harassment will continue.
Read more

Self-opinionated bore is making work unbearable
I want to know how I should deal with an annoying person at work. This guy refers to himself as a “renegade” and a “free thinker”. He says he’s the only person at the company who “thinks outside the box” and could easily be the CEO of the organisation, but “couldn’t deal with all the brown-nosing”.
Read more


6th April 2022



NT WorkSafe charges Darwin construction company with industrial manslaughter
The Northern Territory's work safety watchdog has launched its first industrial manslaughter prosecution, over the death of a worker in a remote Aboriginal community two years ago. The 50-year-old man suffered fatal injuries after a chain allegedly failed during a towing operation in Maningrida, about 370 kilometres east of Darwin.
Read more

Network effect and how it is changing face of work at CBA
Social media and advocacy networks such as LinkedIn are playing an increasingly important role in attracting, recruiting and retaining people in a highly competitive world for employees, says Sian Lewis, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Group Executive for Human Resources. Being able to leverage these internal and external connections forged between existing employees, potential recruits and professional links outside of an organisation has expanded the pool of available talent nationally and internationally, she states.
Read more

Three emerging trends in a post-pandemic hybrid work era
The first national study of working arrangements in Australia since government work-from-home directions were lifted shows post-pandemic office life is going to be dramatically different to what existed before. Our survey of 1421 knowledge workers — essentially anyone doing computer-based work able to be done remotely at least some of the time — was conducted on March 21-25, 2022. It shows fewer than a quarter of workers (about 23%) returning to commuting five days a week, with about the same percentage working remotely full-time.
Read more

Employee or Contractor?: the High Court decides
The High Court of Australia (HCA) handed down two major decisions that highlight the importance of getting contractual terms correct and how those terms can determine the nature of the relationship. In the two decisions, the HCA makes clear that where the terms of the parties’ relationship are comprehensively committed to a written contract, (and the contract is not a sham or otherwise varied), there is no reason why the contract should not determine the character of the relationship.
Read more

Dismissal of unvaccinated employee supported by Fair Work Commission due to vaccination being a ‘regulatory requirement’
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has again confirmed that although a worker can refuse COVID-19 vaccinations, terminating their employment for that reason will not be considered harsh, unjust, or unfair when there is a vaccine mandate in place, making vaccination an inherent requirement of the role. In Isabella Stevens v Epworth Foundation [2022] FWC 593, the FWC upheld the dismissal of a dietician who refused to provide her employer with proof of her vaccination status.
Read more

Sick Pay Guarantee Introduced for Casual Employees in Victoria
The nature of casual employment means that casual employees are not ordinarily entitled to paid leave such as annual leave or personal/carer’s leave. In order to compensate for the loss of these entitlements, casual employees are usually entitled to a casual loading rate under relevant awards and agreements which affords them a higher rate of pay. The Victorian Government has recently introduced its Sick Pay Guarantee, which provides casual and contract workers from selected industries with access to five days of personal and carer’s leave each year to be paid at the national minimum wage.
Read more

Sexual Harassment Update in the Fair Work Commission
A recent decision of Deputy President Beaumont in the Fair Work Commission ('FWC') (Application by Ranmeet Kaur [2022] FWC 487) has examined the scope of the FWC’s power to make orders to stop sexual harassment which were introduced under amendments to the Fair Work Act ('FWA') in 2021. The case examined both the jurisdictional requirements necessary for the FWC to make orders and the evidentiary requirements for it to be satisfied that a contravention had occurred, warranting the making of orders.
Read more

Individual jailed for WHS Industrial Manslaughter in Queensland
History was made on Friday, 25 March 2022 when Gympie business owner Jeffrey Owen was found guilty of an industrial manslaughter offence under Queensland’s work health and safety laws, and sentenced to a five year jail term (with 18 months to be served until the remaining period is suspended). This is the first successful prosecution of an individual since this offence was brought onto Queensland’s statute books in 2017. The previous, and only other, time this offence was successfully used in a Queensland prosecution was against a company, Brisbane Auto Recyclers, in 2020. In that matter, the company’s directors separately pleaded to charges of recklessness.
Read more

Hospitality workers say unfair rostering practices driving people out of industry
From the age of 15, Erin Thompson dreamed of having a career in hospitality, but after 10 years working unpredictable hours they decided to call it quits. "The lack of security when it came to rosters encouraged me to leave the industry," they said.
Read more

Businesses, industry groups call for visa process to be sped up, as skilled worker shortage stings
Maria Zia is a vocational education trainer for international students in Brisbane and says her business, like many across the country, has been crippled by the halt to immigration during the pandemic. While borders have reopened and international students and workers can apply for visas to Australia, a backlog of applications has put further delays on what can already be a lengthy years-long approval process.
Read more


30th March 2022



Job services industry stunned after wave of contract terminations
A federal government shake-up of employment services and job providers will disrupt hundreds of thousands of long-term unemployed and risk up to 10,000 jobs, the sector’s peak body has warned. The National Employment Services Association estimates the government has this month turned over existing job providers in 80 per cent of 51 regions, a level of “disruption” that the association’s chief executive, Sally Sinclair, said was unprecedented and without regard for past performance.br />Read more

Why all Australian organisations need to address racism in the workplace, DCA report
Organisations looking to effectively address racism in the workplace, will now have access to evidence-based guidelines thanks to a new report by Diversity Council Australia. The report, Racism at work, combines the survey responses of more than 1500 Australians across industries, pinpointing the barriers facilitating racism in workplaces and how corporations can address the issue.
Read more

Culturally diverse women paid less, stuck in middle management longer and more likely to be harassed
When Sarah Liu started her career in corporate Australia, her superiors gave her some unwelcome so-called advice. "I was actually told by different recruiters and different leaders that I was way too ambitious for my own good," she recalls. "That for a young, culturally diverse female like me in Australia, I needed to manage my own expectations around how far I can get to." At every turn, working in branding and marketing, Ms Liu was confronted by the lack of young, culturally diverse female representation.
Read more

Labour-hire firms leaving workers with $100 a week after deductions not appropriate, minister says
The federal Agriculture Minister has taken a swipe at labour-hire companies that leave foreign workers with just $100 in weekly wages. David Littleproud said it was not appropriate the workers be left with such little take-home pay after their employer made deductions for things like accommodation, transport and visas. "There is a small cohort in agriculture, as there is in every industry, that do the wrong thing that cut corners," he said.
Read more

Nurse loses fight against South Australian COVID-19 vaccine mandate as 3,724 new cases recorded
South Australia's industrial relations court has thrown out a bid by a nurse to continue working while not being vaccinated against COVID-19. The decision comes four days ahead of a Supreme Court challenge against the same regulations that require healthcare workers to have an approved vaccine against the coronavirus.
Read more

Workers in Belgium can now request a four-day week. Should Australia do the same?
Belgium is the latest country to allow its residents to work a four-day week in a bid to provide greater flexibility options for employees. The government's new law reforms allow people to request working 10-hour days across four days in order to have an additional day off in the week, without a reduction in salary. Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that employees' new rights will aid in their productivity after the COVID-19 pandemic required the global labour market to change rigid working arrangements.
Read more

Managing Underperforming Employees
Managing performance effectively is one of the critical aspects of the management of any business. Employers who fail to tackle, promptly and effectively, the problem of underperforming employees, risk long running and often expensive legal and operational problems. Not only can poor performers undermine the efforts of co-workers and harm workplace culture, but their failings can have consequences for the bottom line.
Read more

Return to Work: Addressing Issues of Culture, Workplace Behaviour and Performance Management
For two years, restrictions and lockdowns have kept workplaces empty. However, the easing of restrictions across Australia has seen employees return to the workplace and offices comeback to life. This has been met with enthusiasm by employees and employers alike. This return to work presents the opportunity for employers to re-engage with employees and it is a good time to consider how employers can ensure high workplace standards.
Read more

Labor Government to reform South Australia’s employment laws
The newly-elected Labor government has pledged to introduce significant and varied reforms to South Australia’s employment laws which are likely to impact employers across all industries. Notably, the policy foreshadows the introduction of maximum prison terms of up to 20 years and significant financial penalties where an employer acts recklessly and their actions are the primary cause of an employee’s death.
Read more

FWC decision reminds employees to update their contact details
In the recent case of Daniel James Hunter v Karara Mining Ltd [2022] FWC 494, a senior Fair Work Commission (FWC) member (Member) found that an employee’s failure to update their contact information, which resulted in the employee missing his termination notice, is not enough to warrant the FWC accepting an unfair dismissal claim filed one day late.
Read more

A FIFO Tale: Tell him he’s dreamin’: Employer liable for sleepwalker who urinates on co-worker
The Queensland Court of Appeal recently reignited the debate on the liability of an employer for an employee’s conduct while ‘working away from home’. For contractors pursuing or taking on ‘remote’ work, this should be a reminder to carefully consider the implications of FIFO living arrangements for workers. Employers and contractors may find themselves legally responsible for the actions of their employees and workers in circumstances usually considered to be outside their scope of control.
Read more


23rd March 2022



Hybrid work becomes new battleground in war for talent
A swathe of Australians are expected to hand in their notices over the next two months when they start to collect their bonuses in the latest wave of the ‘Great Resignation’, as employers struggle to convince workers to come back into the office. Experts say employers hoping for a return to the status quo are making a mistake, as workers now crave novelty, a sense of adventure and enjoyment after two years in ‘survival mode’.
Read more

Five Key Issues in the Australian Workplace—Highlights for Multinational Employers
The key issues affecting Australian workplaces bear a strong resemblance with those in the United States. While generalizations suffer from the limitations of being just that, here are five issues HR and workplace leaders in Australia are grappling with in a two-minute read.
Read more

FWC Holds Unpaid Authorised Absences do not Count when Calculating the Minimum Employment Period
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the “FW Act”) one of the conditions an employee must satisfy to bring an unfair dismissal claim is that they have completed a period of continuous service at least equal to the minimum employment period. For businesses other than small businesses, the minimum employment period is six months. A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) confirms that unpaid authorised absences will not count when calculating an employee’s period of continuous service.
Read more

“But I don’t want to go” – a subjective belief of unlawfulness cannot amount to a reasonable excuse
A subjective belief alone, as to the unlawfulness of a Notice to undergo a medical examination, cannot amount to a reasonable excuse for the purpose of section 57(2) of the SRC Act.
Read more

Victorian Sick Pay Pilot – A Sign Of Things To Come For Australia's Casual Workers?
On 14 March 2022, the Andrews Labor Government announced the start of a two-year pilot program to make personal and carer’s leave payments to eligible casual and self-employed workers under its Sick Pay Guarantee. It is available now. While the scheme only applies to eligible Victorian workers, the Sick Pay Guarantee is clearly consistent with the Australian Labor Party's (ALP's) National Platform’s focus on ‘insecure’ work and reinforces that the Covid-19 pandemic provides strong political grounding to launch workplace reform of this nature.
Read more

At what point does a psychiatric injury become reasonably foreseeable to an employer?
The Queensland Supreme Court has recently considered in detail whether a psychiatric injury suffered by a worker subject to disciplinary action was reasonably foreseeable. The Court’s decision highlights the importance for employers to be on the lookout for employees who may be developing a psychiatric injury.
Read more

Spilling the beans: Waiver of privilege for your investigation reports
There are a wide range of workplace and safety scenarios where employers may undertake an investigation and obtain a written report. Sometimes these investigations and reports are set up to be the subject of the legal professional privilege. However, while the report may start out as being subject to a claim for legal professional privilege, this can be waived by subsequent conduct and result in ‘spilling the beans’.
Read more

NSW parliament proposes making COVID19 long service leave flexibility permanent
The proposed Bill will provide employers and workers with greater flexibility in accessing long service leave.
Read more

Natural disasters: Navigating business closures and employee leave entitlements
Australia is exposed to a unique range of natural disasters than can occur year-round including droughts, floods, earthquakes, tropical cyclones and bushfires. Natural disasters can have a devastating impact on businesses and often require that employers make immediate decisions about business operations and employee entitlements.
Read more

Even Google agrees there’s no going back to the old office life
The great enforced global experiment in working from home is coming to an end, as vaccines, the Omicron variant and new therapeutic drugs bring the COVID-19 crisis under control. But a voluntary experiment has begun, as organisations navigate the new landscape of hybrid work, combining the best elements of remote work with time in the office.
Read more


16th March 2022



Culturally diverse women paid less, stuck in middle management longer and more likely to be harassed
Div Pillay, the CEO of diversity research and consultancy firm MindTribes, says cultural diversity is difficult for corporate Australia to discuss, even at companies working to address gender diversity.
Read more

BP worker wins unfair dismissal case after being sacked for posting Hitler meme
In 2018, a BP employee was sacked after sharing a Hitler meme on social media. The court case caused a media flurry, with journalists writing headlines such as “Hitler a joke court finds”. But behind all the commotion was a complex unfair dismissal case that dragged on for two years and cost the employer $200,000.
Read more

Can your boss use electronic surveillance to monitor you when you’re working from home?
We know the boss can monitor everything we do in the workplace, whether they do it in person or via electronic surveillance. They can keep tabs on your computer use, time spent in the tearoom, smoko breaks and long boozy lunches. They can also track websites you’ve visited, chats with colleagues or phone calls to friends and family. But what about when we work from home, as many of us are now doing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Read more

Losing it not using it: Half of new fathers not taking up paid parental leave
Impact Economics’ Angela Jackson says the government would be “squibbing it” if it fails to learn lessons from overseas that parental leave must offer more time and more money for Australia to get closer to equal take-up between mothers and fathers.
Read more

In a post-COVID workplace, is dressing for success old hat?
A new report from the University of Sydney Business School highlights the importance of appearance in the office and the refashioning of professional attire in the age of remote work.
Read more

Can You Furlough Employees in Australia?
Furlough is not a common term used in Australia. However, there is an equivalent known as ‘stand down’. Stand down is when an employer places an employee on unpaid leave rather than discontinuing their employment. There are various circumstances where you, as an employer, would consider standing down an employee.
Read more

Commission upholds dismissal of employee sacked for objecting to working with ex-con
Highlighting the difficulties faced by employers, the Fair Work Commission recently upheld the dismissal of a supermarket employee who objected to working alongside a co-worker with a criminal record in Tiffany Stodart v The Employer [2022] FWC 277.
Read more

It’s time Australia dumped its bureaucratic list-based approach to temporary work visas
Australia’s temporary skilled migration program is hard for businesses to use while still not protecting migrants from exploitation. There is a better way, concludes a new report from the Grattan Institute on fixing temporary skilled migration.
Read more

Rise in hours worked signals post-lockdown recovery, but more people have multiple jobs than ever
But while the job recovery has been better than expected, when we look at what type of work has grown, we see some big concerns.
Read more


9th March 2022



Study Reveals the Bias Still Needs to be Broken
HiBob’s Annual Study “Women Professionals in the Modern Workplace” shows that only 32% of Australian professional women surveyed believe that men and women are paid equally.
Read more

Reckitt transforms workplace culture to promote inclusivity
Whether it be concerning economic security, workplace participation or women in leadership, current statistics continue to reflect a culture of male dominance in Australia’s workforce – however not at Reckitt Australia and New Zealand.
Read more

Australia needs another 280,000 skilled workers by 2025
Australia’s near-insatiable need for foreign skilled workers could be alleviated by allowing students to stay longer than two years, as well as creating more flexible office practices made possible by the pandemic, said three top human resources tech specialists.
Read more

The huge changes coming to your workplace if Labor wins the election
Workers will legally be allowed to discuss their pay-packets with their colleagues if Labor wins power at the Federal election. If elected, the ALP will also change the definition of a casual worker to make sure employees with a fixed roster are given permanent jobs. And gig workers such as Uber and Deliveroo drivers will be covered by new rules to ensure they earn at least the minimum wage.
Read more

There’s never been a better time for Australia to embrace the 4-day week
Unlike the end of paid work, a four-day week is well within the realm of economic feasibility. But how much, if anything, would it cost in terms of lost production and lower wages?
Read more

Why insecure work is finally being recognised as a health hazard for some Australians
Whether you are labourer engaged by a labour hire company, a checkout operator, a ride-share driver or a university lecturer on a casual contract, job insecurity can harm both your physical and mental health. In an Australian first, Western Australia has formally recognised this in its new Code of Practice on Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace.
Read more

A ‘sound, defensible and well-founded’ approach to dismissing unvaccinated employees
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has provided some comfort to employers affected by vaccine mandates who are forced to make the difficult decision to terminate an otherwise model employee. The decision confirms that employers who provide procedural fairness to unvaccinated employees and follow a fair termination process will not be penalised for unfair dismissal.
Read more

Growing mismatch between where Sydney’s skilled workers live and work
The number of Western Sydney residents with professional skills, including IT, finance, science and public administration, has spiked by up to 34 per cent in five years, but tens of thousands still face long commutes to jobs outside the area.
Read more

How women can protect against ‘COVID burnout’ at work
Women bore the brunt of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic and there are fresh warnings that women’s longer-term financial independence may be in peril amid the return to the office.
Read more

What if women were to go on strike from unpaid care?
Emily Dimitriadis loves being a mother, but she admits what some mothers feel guilty confessing to. Which is that having a "strike day" – or in her case, simply a few hours a week away from child-raising and unpaid domestic work — is important for one's sanity.
Read more


2nd March 2022



Back to Work! FWC Upholds Dismissal of Employee who Refused to Return to Work
A decision of the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) has provided guidance as to the ability of employers to take disciplinary action against employees who refuse to return to work after a period of working from home. The employee commenced employment with the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) in or around 2010 in the News & Online Services Team. In 2017 the employee, who had autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and depression, moved workstations pursuant to the medical advice of his treating doctor.
Read more

Gambling with transfer of business under the Fair Work Act
Prior to the enactment of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act), an enterprise agreement (EA) could only transmit from the employer who made it, to bind another employer, where all or part of the ‘business’ of the first employer had transferred to the second. Despite the fact that Part 2-8 of the FW Act is titled ‘Transfer of business’, this is a misnomer. That is because an EA now transfers to a new employer where there has been a ‘transfer of work’ – so long as the work being performed after the change is ‘the same, or substantially the same’ as before the change.
Read more

Death in hotel gym found to be compensable
The South Australian Employment Tribunal has recently ruled that the family of an Adelaide businessman who suffered a lethal heart attack while exercising in a hotel gym during a work trip to Hangzhou City, China should be eligible to apply for compensation, because the exercise was conducted with “the implied encouragement” of the employer.
Read more

Examining the proposed employee share scheme changes
Equity ownership is an important tool for Australian businesses, particularly those in their start-up phase or which are cash-poor. Equity ownership though an employee share scheme (ESS) or similar is critical for these businesses to attract and retain top talent – talent that will be the defining factor in whether or not a company is able to compete and succeed in a globalised environment.
Read more

Offensive posts on personal social media accounts can get you sacked – some people still don’t get it…
It is somewhat surprising that, in 2022, we still see unfair dismissal claims involving employees dismissed for offensive posts on their personal social media accounts. It is also surprising that some employers’ social media policies do not expressly deal with out-of-hours conduct. We have a look these issues here, and conclude with some important take away points for employers.
Read more

Three defendants found liable in workplace injury common law damages claim
The 2021 case of Muller v Klosed Pty Ltd gives a good insight into how Victorian Courts assess personal injury compensation and the calculation of damages for injured workers where there is more than one defendant. In this case, an apportionment of liability was determined for the employer as well as two further companies associated with the safety of equipment involved in the accident.
Read more

Flexibility At Work
For many of the world’s traditional nine-to-five ‘office workers’, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the concept of the workplace. For many employers, this has been an opportunity to explore and embrace technologies and remote work practices to unprecedented levels. For many employees, remote working has become the new ‘norm’, and an expectation therefore that jobs will include at least a partial ‘working from home’ component, has become standard.
Read more

Sexual harassment in the workplace: Australia’s first stop sexual harassment case
On 11 November 2021, the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) anti-sexual harassment jurisdiction commenced operation. Section 789FF of the Fair Work Act provides that a “worker” (as defined under work health and safety legislation) can apply to the FWC for orders to stop sexual harassment if, while they are at work, one or more individuals sexually harasses them and there is a risk of future sexual harassment.
Read more

Contracts: sometimes worth the paper they're written on
Last year (2021), the decision in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato (Rossato) provided clarity to business owners about the difference between permanent and casual employees. The decision emphasised the importance of written contracts in assessing whether a casual employee was legally recognised as 'casual'. This decision was significant, and to some surprising, outlining the High Court's view as to the primacy of a written contract.
Read more

Why HR is becoming increasingly more strategic for business
The events of the last few years have blurred the line between our work and personal lives and catapulted the HR function into the world's spotlight, according to United VARs. HR leaders have been instrumental in steering organisations through the challenges caused by Covid-related restrictions and disruptions. They have had to cope with much uncertainty and still face the unknown, but tumultuous times can open the doors to greater opportunity and creative developments.
Read more

HR morality police won’t make parliament safer
Two big challenges face parliamentary workplaces. First, those little fiefdoms of MPs that have operated as the wild west, with few rules and no clear lines of accountability, need to change. Immediately. Parliament must be brought into the real world to protect staff from workplace misbehaviour. The Jenkins review into parliamentary culture, instigated by Scott Morrison, is an important part of that reckoning.
Read more


23rd February 2022



ATO to ramp up use of powers against employers that don't pay their workers superannuation
The ATO held off enforcement action against businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they now ramping up enforcement and renewing their debt collection activities.
Read more

International students say career opportunities in Australia do not match their qualifications
Confusion around visa policies and a lack of career development services are issues that graduate employability experts and advocates say have left many people without a job.
Read more

Omicron hits hours worked as unemployment holds steady through January
If it felt to you like no-one was at work for large parts of January, then the latest official employment figures confirm your hunch.
Read more

Let’s circle back: The 14 most-despised workplace phrases
Are you guilty of just checking in on a team player, circling back and touching base, or demanding 110% ASAP? These are the workplace jargon phrases that make employees cringe, especially in the — ahem — ‘new normal’ of hybrid work.
Read more

Returning to COVID-normal in the workplace
The last two years have been full of unique challenges and unexpected pivots that have forced the business world to adapt quickly. One function that has risen to centre stage across all businesses, regardless of industry, is safety...
Read more

A totally fabricated diary of working hours, and still no costs!
A recent decision of the Federal Circuit and Family Court serves as a reminder of just how difficult it can be to be awarded costs in the Fair Work jurisdiction.
Read more

2022 Australian Federal Election and Workplace Reform
Another federal election campaign is almost upon us, with expectation for a 14 May poll date building. For industrial relations practitioners, this often means that it is time to brace for impact. IR is almost always a hot topic in politics, with each major party having different views on how workplaces and employment relationships should be regulated. Law reform is almost always on the agenda in the lead up to an election.
Read more

What businesses need to know as masks scrapped in Victorian, Queensland workplaces
It’s masks off in Victoria and Queensland after both states confirmed they are easing the rules in the coming weeks, a move that could see workers returning to the office unencumbered by the facial covering.
Read more

Half of all Australians with a disability are not employed. This business model could fix that
When Paralympian Dylan Alcott won Australian of the Year in January, he took the opportunity to issue Australian business a challenge. “Of the 4.5 million people [living with disability in Australia], only 54% of them are employed. That number hasn’t moved in 30 years … It’s you who need to start changing your unconscious biases and leave the negative stigmas in the past,” the tennis star said.
Read more

Job complaints policies don’t work for those they aim to protect
Most of us have no experience of a legal process or the ways and means of a court. Yet, it is this system where ultimately we may have to turn to enforce our legal rights at work, or anywhere else for that matter. The problem is obvious. The system that ultimately can provide a remedy, punishment, or act as a barrier against those that might trespass against us, is no more than the vaguest abstract notion to most people.
Read more


16th February 2022



Contract Rules – In two landmark decisions, the High Court has restored some confidence in contracting with individual workers
Businesses can now have more confidence in sourcing work from individuals who agree to be treated as self-employed, provided the terms of their contracts are consistent with that characterisation. There is less risk that the practical reality of a working relationship might be invoked by a court to find such workers to be employees.
Read more

Flexible Work Arrangements – Responding Flexibly
A recent NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) decision has highlighted the potential pitfalls that can arise when dealing with flexible work requests, and the benefits of attempting to accommodate an employee by proposing alternate arrangements.
Read more

The other 'CTO': The emerging role of the chief transformation officer
While the role of the chief technology officer has long been considered critical to business, organisations are starting to recognise a different CTO: The chief transformation officer.
Read more

What Are the Work Health and Safety Duties?
This article explains the WHS duties and offences in the workplace and outlines a recent case example in New South Wales.
Read more

What Is an Employment Separation Certificate and When Do I Need to Provide One?
As an employer, you have legal obligations when you terminate an employee. For example, if you are an employer terminating an employee, you must complete an employment separation certificate upon request. Indeed, it is important that as an employer you take such obligations seriously to avoid issues in the future. Therefore, this article will explain what this certificate is for employers who have terminated an employee, to help you understand and navigate this obligation.
Read more

Corporate Giant Accused of Systemic Workplace Bullying and Harassment
Another corporate global giant has been caught out covering up systemic bullying, assault and harassment within its Australian workplace.
Read more

FWC Dismisses Privacy Concerns About Employers Collecting Sensitive Information
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) provides greater clarity for employers in relation to whether collecting sensitive information from employees regarding their vaccination status is a lawful and reasonable direction.
Read more

Do I have to provide suitable employment?
An examination of two recent decisions of the South Australian Employment Tribunal regarding South Australia’s extremely generous obligations to provide suitable employment under the Return to Work Act 2014.
Read more

Fighting at work can lead to disciplinary action, including termination
A worker involved in a physical altercation in the workplace can face serious disciplinary consequences, including the immediate termination of their employment.
Read more

Even bosses are giving up on the five-day office week
Offices are getting busier. Yet vast numbers of desks still remain empty. Even with COVID-19 case numbers flat or falling in the UK, US and much of Europe, many employees are still actively choosing to work from home for at least part of the week. It’s increasingly hard for managers to claim that their offices will simply fill up when the virus abates.
Read more


2 February 2022



Workplace commission rejects an employee’s bid to work remotely from interstate
A workplace tribunal has found a Queensland employer’s decision to reject a worker’s request to work remotely was “fair and reasonable” in a case that could foreshadow an end to the widespread shift towards working from home.
Read more

65,000 Belgian workers given right to ignore their boss after hours
Thousands of Belgian federal employees will be given the legal right to ignore work calls or emails outside of business hours from Tuesday.
Read more

Reputational Risk – FWC Upholds Dismissal of Employee who Breached Stay-at-Home Orders
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) demonstrates that conduct by an employee which creates reputational risk can be a valid reason for dismissal. In this case, an employee’s attendance at a violent protest in breach of Victorian stay-at-home orders presented enough of a reputational risk to warrant his dismissal.
Read more

Breaking down an employer’s ability to collect and store an employee’s vaccination status under the Privacy Act
With a rising number of employees claiming that asking for their vaccination status is a ‘breach of their privacy’, it is important for employers to understand their rights and obligations under the Privacy Act.
Read more

Employer fined $124,000 for injuries sustained by teenager on 14-day work trial who repeatedly failed to follow instructions
In an important lesson for employers, this case demonstrates that a worker’s disobedience or failure to follow instructions does not excuse inadequate safe work procedures and training.
Read more

Employers lure talent with flexible hours in tourism job boom
Over the past two years Australians who love travel will undoubtedly have felt the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. But lockdowns impacted tourism operators too, and as we open up, so do careers in an industry that in 2019-2020 directly employed 621,000 Australians.
Read more

Staff could walk out on the job unless they get RATs free of charge
Unions are threatening to walk off the job unless employers give out elusive rapid antigen tests (RATs) free of charge — but with shortages predicted ’til February, a stalemate could see Australia’s already-choked supply chains placed under greater strain.
Read more

Repeated instances of unreasonable behaviour do not necessarily constitute workplace bullying
To constitute bullying in the workplace, the test of ‘repeatedly behaving unreasonably towards an employee’ requires more than a mere finding that unreasonable behaviour has occurred repeatedly. While this appears confusing, it was confirmed and explained by the Industrial Court of Queensland in the recent case of Greenall v State of Queensland (Queensland Corrective Services) [2021] ICQ 19.
Read more

Leave options for self-isolating employees
As an employer, it is very likely you will be required to consider how to best manage a situation where an employee either tests positive to COVID-19, is caring for someone with COVID-19, or is required by a government directive to self-isolate as a close contact.
Read more


27 January 2022



Reworking the week: Let’s lose a day and find more time for life
What can the rest of the world teach us about beating occupational fatigue?
Read more

More than two in five Australians seek workplace flexibility
More than two in five (41 per cent) Australians indicate that having the option of full flexibility – regarding days, hours and location – for everyone would be the best working model for their team. This compares to 19 per cent preferring that all employees are together at the worksite and 10 per cent preferring that all employees work fully remote.
Read more

Global HR Trend Watch - Wrapping up 2021, Moving into 2022
The pandemic continues to shape workplace policies and practices, with an increasing move towards Mandatory Vaccination for workers, continued hybrid and remote working arrangements, ongoing changes to travel restrictions and more. Meanwhile, legal frameworks are evolving as governments step up their inclusion and diversity agendas, with Pay Transparency gaining traction in the US, a proposed Pay Transparency Directive on the horizon in Europe and the Work-Life Balance Directive due to be implemented this year. Other trends in local labor regulations include changes in Employee Privacy Rights and a myriad of pandemic-related measures for employers to keep up with as they prioritize compliance across their operations in the coming year.
Read more

Everything You Should Stop Doing on Your Work Computer
Employee monitoring software — which you can safely expect to be installed on your work-issued computer — allows your workplace to view every site you visit, every email you’ve sent, and even all the personal passwords you save.
Read more

Can employers mandate the booster shot?
With the emergence of the COVID-19 booster vaccination over recent months, you may be wondering whether the booster can, or in fact should, be mandated in the workplace.
Read more

QIRC rejects employee request for remote working arrangements
As we see many businesses returning to their offices after lengthy periods of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are likely to receive an increase in requests for remote working arrangements. Employers will need to balance the employee desires for remote working arrangements with the need to meet business operational requirements.
Read more

The Omicron workplace safety dilemma
While some State Governments have reduced the isolation requirements in health orders, especially for workers employed in health care or other critical industries or functions, employers still need to be mindful of their obligations under workplace health and safety legislation.
Read more

What it takes to get an FWC order to stop sexual harassment
On 24 December 2021, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) dismissed the first application to be heard based on the newly-legislated anti-sexual harassment provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), in the decision of THDL [2021] FWC 6692. The decision to dismiss the application was based on a finding that there was no ongoing risk of bullying or sexual harassment to the relevant worker.
Read more

FWC upholds dismissal of unvaccinated aged care worker
An unvaccinated aged care sector worker in Victoria, who was dismissed for incapacity to perform his job, has failed in an unfair dismissal application.
Read more


19th January 2022



15 jobs on the rise in Australia
Human resources and technology-focused roles have been the fastest-growing job titles over the past five years, according to LinkedIn.
Read more

Diversity in the workplace must be matched with an atmosphere of genuine inclusion
Diversity initiatives often originate in the belief that a true meritocracy can be achieved only by creating an environment in which everyone has the same chance of succeeding. Yet there is no blueprint for creating a true meritocracy. It may not even be possible.
Read more

Engineer unfairly dismissed due to lack of procedural fairness
When considering whether a dismissal is unfair, the Fair Work Commission (the "FWC") must be satisfied that the dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. An important consideration in this decision is whether the employee was afforded procedural fairness.
Read more

Employee surveillance kills workplace culture dead
Spying on your team might excite those in the corner offices in the proverbial ivory towers, yet nothing destroys trust like Big Brother. Never before has staff retention been so important. And never before has organisational culture been so influential in avoiding the costs associated with recruitment and onboarding.
Read more

The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme is now live! What compensation is payable?
This article will look at the eligibility requirements, what compensation is payable, how to claim and how to dispute a rejected claim.
Read more

Worker dismissal for protesting against vaccine mandates was lawful, Fair Work Commission finds
The Fair Work tribunal has upheld a company’s decision to immediately terminate a construction industry worker after he attended rallies in Melbourne outside the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) office in the CBD.
Read more

Why we need more ‘me’ time at work
The "always on" work culture was already a problem before the pandemic. It started with the advent of email, accelerated with smartphones, and exploded during the pandemic. Particularly for those with jobs that allow working from home, 8-5 isn't even a guideline anymore. Emails, texts and Slack messages come in at all hours, making it hard to ever truly unplug from work.
Read more

If I get COVID on annual leave, can I use sick leave instead?
After an exhausting year fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australians were looking forward to switching off for a summer break. As we all know, the Omicron variant had other ideas.
Read more


12th January 2022

Your Head of H.R. Is Now Basically the School Nurse

Vaccine mandates. Boosters. Exemptions. Testing protocol. Just a handful of public health questions that human resources departments now have to answer. Just as the Covid-19 crisis made amateur epidemiologists of people trying to go about their daily lives, it also forced H.R. professionals, especially those at small and midsize businesses, into a new focus on public health. As companies weighed when to return to the office, whether to require coronavirus vaccines and what sort of exemptions from those rules to allow, it was often H.R. directors who were asked to lead those efforts. It was no longer sufficient for these professionals to manage the job satisfaction and career development of their colleagues. Suddenly, they were also charged with monitoring their health, safety and views on immunization.
Read more

Job ads offering permanent work from home arrangements increased by 95% in 2021. Experts say it’s now the defining factor in attracting highly-skilled workers.
The number of ads for Australian jobs offering work from home arrangements skyrocketed in 2021, new research shows. Younger companies operating for two years or less recorded a greater proportion of WFH job ads. Experts say flexible work policies are now a defining factor in attracting talent.
Read more

Sacked for Being Vaxxed
A New South Wales woman is seeking damages for unfair dismissal after she was allegedly fired from her job for having the Covid-19 vaccination. Lainie Chait says she was dismissed by the Newcastle-based Church of Ubuntu last October after her boss found out that she had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Read more

Who pays compensation if you are injured from the COVID-19 vaccine?
With the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines increasing and the introduction of COVID related directives, associated penalties, and restrictions if not vaccinated set to remain, is it time for Australia to establish a no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme? In this blog, we look at where the Federal Government is to date with a compensation scheme, how it will work, what evidence will be required and, importantly, what compensation may be currently available.
Read more

Independent Contractors – how will the High Court approach the issue?
There are two cases currently before the High Court involving the distinction between independent contractors and employees. One of those cases involves a traditional two party relationship and the other involves a labour hire relationship. The question many practitioners are now asking is how will the approach the High Court took in Rossato, which concerned whether an employee was a casual, affect these two cases?
Read more

Working from home shouldn’t hinder promotion chances
Working from home during Sydney’s four-month COVID-19 lockdown didn’t stop Tracy Floro getting a promotion. She was elevated to partner at Ernst & Young, one of the world’s biggest professional services companies, in July. “During my promotion I didn’t ever feel hamstrung by lockdown,” she said. “I don’t believe that additional face time in an office environment is necessarily the key factor in a successful career.” Swinburne University of Technology researcher John Hopkins said while working from home might ordinarily hamper chances of progression, the pandemic had “levelled the playing field” for many.
Read more

Does knowledge of a candidate's salary history affect the hiring process?
New research explores the impact of voluntary disclosures of salary history on wage offers and hiring. The researchers conclude that employers see disclosing salary as a positive signal of candidate quality.
Read more

More than half of HR professionals factor vaccine status into hiring decisions. Is it legal?
Human resources experts are warning recruiters to be careful of their legal obligations when screening candidates, after a study found more than half of HR professionals said they factor applicants’ vaccine status into hiring decisions. The Australian HR Institute surveyed 760 HR professionals across Australia in late November, finding that 59% of respondents said they consider the vaccination status of job candidates when making recruitment decisions. Meanwhile, 10% said they don’t, and the remaining 31% were unsure.
Read more

Western Australia's vaccine mandate deadline passes for majority of workforce
The majority of the West Australian workforce subject to a vaccine mandate must have had their first or second dose by today, with those who do not comply risking heavy penalties. On October 20, the West Australian government announced about 75 per cent of the workforce would have to be vaccinated by early 2022.
Read more


22nd December 2021



Why the gig economy needs its own place in Australia’s industrial relations system
Spare a thought for the gig worker this holiday season. They are the connective tissue that held us together during a very difficult two years, delivering us food and goodies while in lockdown and getting us safely from point A to point B when public transport became too scary. Yet, despite our increased reliance on the industry, the status of the gig worker remains in limbo. The gig economy has been around for over 10 years and by now, most are aware of the issue. Gig workers are engaged as independent contractors. However, many believe the substance of gig work is better characterised as employment, arguing workers are entitled to leave benefits, insurance coverage, and unfair dismissal protection.
Read more

The majority of Australian workers keen to quit their jobs are looking to change industries, LinkedIn data reveals
Amid fears Australia would succumb to the ‘Great Resignation’ that has seen workers leaving the US workforce in droves, employment figures instead show the country experienced a reshuffle instead, according to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s annual Workforce Confidence Index showed that among those open to changing jobs, nearly six out of 10 are considering a change in industry.The results echo similar data released by LinkedIn in November that showed employees are transitioning to new jobs at the fastest pace since the start of the pandemic, with 26% of Australian workers changing jobs in October compared with the same month in 2019.
Read more

Qantas facing a fine for sacking 2000 crew despite court ruling
Qantas is facing a fine and paying compensation to workers for sacking 2000 ground crew after the Federal Court rejected a union bid for it to reinstate the personnel. In July, the court found the airline had acted unlawfully when it sacked the baggage handlers, aircraft towing crews, cleaners and other ground workers in November 2020 because it was partly motivated by a desire to avoid future industrial disputes with the unionised workforce.
Read more

Christmas party drink limit set at BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside
If you've ever had to organise your work Christmas party, you've probably wondered if you've ordered enough food and chosen the right venue. But should party planners and employers also be considering how much alcohol is too much? BHP, Woodside and Rio Tinto have and decided four alcoholic drinks per person was the maximum they would serve staff at their Christmas functions this year.
Read more

‘This is just like Groundhog Day’: Omicron wrecks plans for office return
Just as it seemed like corporate America was on a path toward normalcy, a new wave of COVID uncertainty is upending business plans from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. The latest virus resurgence is putting bosses in a tough spot navigating employee safety and constantly shifting plans for office work, business travel and social gatherings after almost two years of COVID confusion. At the same time, many people have largely resumed normal activities in their personal lives, from dining out to attending big events, creating a disconnect between what’s happening at jobs and at home.
Read more

How to keep the 'human' in human resources with AI-based tools
The past decade has brought a rapid expansion in the availability of and interest in artificial intelligence (AI) based tools to do HR tasks, but currently these tools risk being on the one hand oversold while at the same time overly feared. These opposing forces in turn make it difficult to implement AI-based HR tools in an effective and responsible way. AI-based HR tools come in a wide range of forms, aiming to take on some aspect of HR work such as hiring, training, benefits, or employee engagement. They can be oversold when their creators rely on the aura and mystery surrounding AI to promote their product, furthering the belief that AI is all-powerful and incomprehensible to the average person.
Read more

WA announces mandatory COVID booster shots for some workers, extends hard border across country
Western Australia has become the first jurisdiction to introduce mandatory COVID-19 booster shots for certain sectors of its population. More than one million WA workers will be required to get vaccine booster shots, under an expanded mandate announced by Premier Mark McGowan. All workers who were previously required to get two doses of the jab will now also be required to get a booster shot within one month of becoming eligible.
Read more

Man sacked over pizza awarded quarter of a million for unlawful termination
A man who was sacked for buying a pizza on his corporate credit card has been awarded $276,000 for unlawful termination. The man’s employer terminated him for what it called “serious misconduct”. The company claimed the man had taken a larger hotel room than necessary for a business trip to Melbourne, where his wife and two children joined him. The man filed an unlawful termination claim in the NSW District Court.
Read more

And the First Vaccine Mandate to get the Flick goes to BHP
Although the Fair Work Commission has seemed to take an employer friendly approach when dealing with challenges to employer vaccination mandates over the last 12 months, the recent rejection of BHP’s vaccination mandate reminds us that the Commission is not willing to overlook the basic legal standards required of an enforceable employer direction. An employer direction must be lawful and reasonable to be valid. On 3 December 2021, the full bench of the Commission found that BHP failed to adequately consult with workers at its Mount Arthur mine before it mandated vaccination deadlines as a condition of site entry. It therefore failed to make a lawful and reasonable employer direction.
Read more

The alignment of statute and common law: defining a casual employee
On 27 March 2021 the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Act 2021 (Cth) (“Amending Legislation”) amended the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FWA”) and inserted a definition of “casual employee”. This new definition provides that a person’s status as a casual employee is determined at the beginning of the employment relationship, regardless of subsequent conduct. It is important to note that the Amending Legislation applies to offers of employment that were given before, on, or after commencement, but not in place of binding decisions made by courts before the Amending Legislation.
Read more

New ruling on fruit picking wages shakes up farming industry
In a major shake-up in the horticultural farming sector, employers will have to pay minimum fruit picking wages to their workers under a new decision by the full bench of the Fair Work Commission. This means if you earn less than $25 per hour fruit picking in Australia, the farm employer is breaking the law. Penalties for underpaying employees can be as high as $126,000. Directors can also be held personally liable and fined. The ruling will effectively abolish “piece rates” which paid a “pieceworker” according to how much fruit or vegetables they pick in a shift, rather than being paid by the hour.
Read more


15th December 2021



Consultation is Key – FWCFB Rejects Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Direction
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (“FWCFB”) has found an employer’s efforts to put in place a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for entry onto its sites has fallen short of its consultation obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (the “WHS Act”). While confirming the key focal points for employers considering the introduction of a mandatory vaccination policy, the decision emphasises the criticality of consultation before a decision is made with respect to its adoption and implementation, and that a failure to adequately consult is likely to render any subsequent direction, unreasonable.
Read more

Mandatory vaccination policies: “a strong case in favour”
If the average punter was to solely rely on media reports on the recent Full Bench Fair Work Commission decision in CFMMEU v Mt Arthur Coal Pty Ltd [2021] FWCFB 6059, and unhelpful headlines like ‘policy not lawful and reasonable’, then they could be forgiven for having a false sense of the merit of mandatory vaccination policies. While the Commission found that Mt Arthur’s direction to workers at its Mine to be vaccinated was ‘unreasonable’ on this occasion, it did so on the basis of an apparent lack of consultation in the factual circumstances of this case.
Read more

Government directions for "critical" businesses released
The government has today introduced its access directions, requiring vaccination for critical workers across a large range of industries. Which premises do these apply to? Any critical business site, which means a "critical accomodation premises", or a "critical hospitality premises", or a "critical retail, service or distribution premises".
Read more

Picturing an inclusive, accessible and sustainable future
Last week, on Friday 3 December, we recognised the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). This day aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and to celebrate their achievements and contributions. Each year, the United Nations announces a theme, and for 2021, the focus is on ‘leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world’.
Read more

Workplace consultation crucial when mandating vaccination
Many employees wonder whether their employer can lawfully direct them to obtain a vaccination. Complexities including vaccine aversion and the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic have influenced the approach taken by Australian courts and tribunals in response to employer mandated COVID-19 vaccination. A recent decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has again considered the lawfulness of an employer’s vaccine mandate.
Read more

Employer policies and political opinions
The question of how far employer policies can apply to the personal lives of employees is age old. It is one that has become relevant again amid the climate of social and political uncertainty facilitated by COVID-19. This question creates, and is likely to keep creating, conflict between employers and employees. A recent example of this is seen in the court action brought against the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by an ex-employee, whose employment was terminated after she expressed a political opinion on LinkedIn.
Read more

A Lesson for Employers in Coles’ perpetual underpayment
Underpayment of wages happens when an employee or worker is paid less than their minimum legal entitlement. The Fair Work Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) explains that it happens often because of a mistake or payroll error, which can lead to serious penalties if not rectified quickly and permanently. However, it can also happen intentionally (i.e. wage theft) as is often seen in amongst minority groups of workers. Although underpayment is particularly rife in industries, such as the building and construction industry, it does not discriminate, and is an ongoing, widespread concern across the Australian workforce.
Read more

Work-related psychological injury - a sensitive and complex area
For reasons we all understand well, the last two years have seen major changes in how we work. With that has come challenges for both employers and employees in how to manage psychological wellbeing, highlighting the fact that workplaces are made up of human beings, who each respond to life’s – and work’s – challenges differently. From what we are seeing at Bartier Perry, councils are no exception.
Read more

Out of my comfort zone, I’m rediscovering the joys of the office
In theory, working from home should have suited me down to the ground. I’m an introvert and a creature of habit; working from home, with my thrice daily walks around my neighbourhood, an extra hour each day thanks to the absence of a commute, my own cosy little routine should have been idyllic. But this last fortnight, I have been surprised by a decided lifting of the heart. Once again, there is a spring in my step which has been missing for too long.
Read more

Pregnant pause leaves job seekers and employers out of sync
Nurse Lydia Joyce was two days away from starting a new job when she had her second miscarriage. “I thought, who is going to hire someone that has to go on leave straight away? I thought it was better to tell them I had gastro rather than tell them the truth,” Ms Joyce, 37, from Clyde, says. Worried about the stigma around pregnancy and miscarriage, she didn’t tell anyone what she was going through and started work a few days later. A survey conducted by hiring platform Indeed found that employees and employers are out of sync when it comes to recruitment.
Read more


8th December 2021



Stoppage of Work – Wrongly Stood Down Worker Failed to Share the Burden
A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) demonstrates that while employers must ensure that they have a legitimate reason to stand down employees, in some circumstances employees will have a part to play in sharing the burden of dealing with COVID-19.
Read more

Tribunal: actions to address underperformance were reasonable
The Tribunal was asked to consider liability for a psychological condition, claimed to have been caused by bullying and harassment at the Department of Home Affairs.
Read more

Tribunal finds lower back injury not caused by prolonged sitting/standing at government department
The Tribunal was asked to determine liability for a lower back injury claimed to have been sustained due to prolonged sitting and standing in the workplace.
Read more

Queensland Businesses Vow Not to Discriminate Against the Unvaccinated
After months of living across closed borders, the Queensland hospitality and tourism industries, which have been the hardest hit financially and had been looking forward to borders being opened by Christmas, have been hit with another blow: the banning of unvaccinated people from their premises.
Read more

Prediction: 2022 will be the year of workers’ compensation claims by work-from-homers
Results from a 2019 survey, conducted by Melbourne University’s HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia), showed that only around 8% of employees had a formal work-from-home arrangement averaging one day per week.
Read more

Paralympian Katie Kelly is helping workplaces be more inclusive
It's important we consider people in our workplace, and where they are in both life cycle and with their disability.
Read more

How Linguix, an AI Writing Assistant and Coach, Helps to Overcome Language Barrier in the Workplace
Because of the pandemic, a lot of businesses have shifted to remote work, allowing talented non-native speakers to join predominantly English-speaking companies. Despite all the advantages, there is one significant issue that affects successful teamwork and communication–the English language proficiency level.
Read more

Women do 21 hours more unpaid work than men a week, national survey finds
The annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) survey is a nationally representative study involving interviews with 17,500 people in 9,500 households. This year’s report, released on Tuesday and compiled by the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Institute, covers data from 2019, before the massive social and economic upheaval caused by Covid-19.
Read more

Migrants in Australia to be fast-tracked into jobs to fill shortages, Employment Minister Stuart Robert announces
Migrants will be fast-tracked into jobs to help meet Australia’s urgent workforce needs as it recovers from the Covid pandemic.
Read more

1st December 2021

Asbestos exposure: can I make a compensation claim?
It is easy with the benefit of hindsight to see that asbestos exposure in millions of Australian workers would cause such significant harm and damage in the form of asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases.
Read more

Government introduces the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021(Cth)
This week the Morrison Government has introduced into Parliament the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) . The Bill seeks to make it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the ground of religious belief or activity in various areas of public life, including work, education, access to premises and the provision of goods, services and accommodation. However, it permits faith-based employers to discriminate against workers based on their “religious belief or activity” if it is connected to their position as an employee or prevents them performing inherent requirements.
Read more

Public school teachers defy order to cancel planned December strike
The NSW Teachers Federation says a strike planned for next week will go ahead, despite the Industrial Relations Commission demanding it be called off. Public school teachers across the state voted on the weekend to strike on December 7 over pay and staff shortages.
Read more

Reminder: Changes To Sexual Harassment Legislation
Following changes made to the Sexual Harassment Legislation, Australian employees are now better protected from sexual harassment from their colleagues in an attempt to make the workplace more safe. For a detailed summary of the changes made to the legislation, please refer to our previous blog titled Changes To Sexual Harassment Legislation.
Read more

How the Covid pandemic exposed deep cracks in the Australian farm labour model
The Covid pandemic turned off the cheap labour tap. That has delivered a “come to Jesus” moment for employers of farm labour. But people shortages are not a new thing in the bush. The underemployment dilemma has been building for a while. John Goldsmith, the former principal of Longerenong Agricultural College, said a decade ago: “It’s not a skills shortage, it’s a people shortage.”
Read more

Lockdowns have mostly ended, but the scarcity of international students is impacting Australian businesses
Howin Chui has been running nightclubs in Sydney for 10 years, but now describes the place as a "dead city". Sydney's recent lockdown had a "very, very big" impact on his businesses, including Chinatown's Ni Hao Bar, both through a lack of customers and understaffing. The federal budget projects COVID border closures caused the first fall in migration since 1946, with overseas migration falling sharply and a net outflow of 71,600 people during 2020-21, exacerbating Australia's existing labour shortages.
Read more

Sex discrimination commissioner finds gender inequality key driver of toxic culture in federal parliament
Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, has recommended a significant overhaul of federal parliament’s toxic workplace culture after handing down her landmark report that found one in three staffers interviewed had been sexually harassed. The Jenkins inquiry into parliament’s workplace culture was triggered after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped after hours in a ministerial office in March 2019. Higgins’ allegations are the subject of separate criminal proceedings.
Read more

Australia relies on migrants to fill job shortages but many are exploited, survey reveals
Sixty-five per cent of temporary visa holders in Australia have experienced underpayment, while one in four say they have been exploited in the workplace, a survey has found.
Read more

Record number of apprentices begin training – but fewer are completing it
State and federal governments are under pressure to boost low apprenticeship completion rates in the face of skills shortages and an expected infrastructure boom. Data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows just 55.1 per cent of apprentices across a range of trades who started their training in 2016 had completed it by July this year – a decrease of 2.5 percentage points from the 2015 cohort.
Read more

To condemn or condone: the pressure to pick a side
Question: There is a person at my work who really splits opinions. I’ve heard him called “divisive”, “larger than life” and “the best thing to ever happen to this organisation”. During a discussion among our team, he was described as basically evil by one person and in the most glowing terms by someone else. I was asked where I “stood” on this character and said I wasn’t sure. I admitted I hadn’t had as much direct involvement with this person as many of my colleagues and didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about him. I said I didn’t worship or hate him.
Read more

One in five plan to continue working from home one or more days
Up to one in five Australians are likely to keep working from home at least part of the week according to new research which also found an increase in the number of people moving out of the cities. The CSIRO research analysed NBN internet data of more than 8 million households, census data and Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys.
Read more

24th November 2021

What is workplace discrimination and what to do if you think you are a victim
Every two years, the Diversity Council of Australia publishes the Inclusion@Work Index, a study that maps inclusion and harassment and discrimination across the Australian workforce.  The next Index is being released in December this year.  But what is workplace discrimination exactly?
Read more

Paramedic loses challenge to COVID-19 vaccine mandates
New South Wales paramedic John Larter has lost his challenge to COVID-19 vaccination mandates, and could now also lose his job. The New South Wales Supreme Court dismissed Mr Larter’s challenge to provisions in the state’s current public health order which prohibit healthcare workers from continuing in their employment if they are not fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption by 30 November 2021.
Read more

Employers warned of COVID-related workers' compensation risks when Queensland opens borders
Businesses could face workers' compensation claims if staff can prove their employers failed to protect them from catching COVID-19 at work. But legal experts warn that it is not yet clear how far Queensland businesses would need to go to demonstrate they took adequate precautions to keep their staff safe.
Read more

Push to make more employers report progress of workplace gender equality
More businesses may be forced to report things, such as whether they pay superannuation on parental leave, how much their chief executive is paid and provide a clearer breakdown of wages, if recommendations to a government review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act are taken up. The suggested changes were made in a submission by the agency in charge of implementing the act, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)
Read more

New laws to bolster employment protections in WA inch closer
McGowan Government passes the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 in the Legislative Assembly. The Bill will provide the McGowan Government the power to start the process to bring local government industrial relations within the State industrial relations system.
Read more

Workers Compensation entitlements for consequential injuries
Construction worker John suffered an injury to his left shoulder whilst at work. Due to the ongoing symptoms he was experiencing, over time John become reliant on his right shoulder to compensate for his injured left shoulder. As a result of his overreliance on his right shoulder, John then began to experience symptoms in his right shoulder including pain and loss of range of movement.
Read more

Australians working 1.5 hours more unpaid overtime each week compared with pre-Covid
The average Australian is working 1.5 hours more unpaid overtime each week since the start of the Covid pandemic, according to a new survey. The poll, which used a nationally representative sample, found the average employed Australian is working 6.13 hours unpaid each week in 2021, up from 5.25 hours in 2020 and 4.62 hours in 2019.
Read more

Employee vaccinations a complex decision
Like the Pat Benatar song, we are currently in a world where the majority of people are saying ‘hit me with your best shot’ and getting one of the vaccines for Coronavirus. There are still some people, however, who are unwilling or reluctant to get a vaccine. All businesses, including those in regional areas, will be left with a difficult decision about what to do in relation to unvaccinated people, whether that is employees, contractors or customers.
Read more

COVID-19 workplace vaccination policies – FAQs
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedent impact on employment and workplace conditions generally. Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more readily available, there is an increase in employers seeking to implement mandatory vaccination policies. Here we have answered some of the frequently asked questions about vaccine requirements in the workplace.
Read more

What Do I need to know about hiring Christmas casual employees?
With Christmas shopping lists getting longer and longer, retail stores are starting to get busier and busier. As a result, it is usual for retail businesses to employ extra staff for the Christmas period to manage increased customers who are enjoying the Christmas specials. When you employ a worker for a short period, this is known as casual employment. As an employer, you must understand your obligations to your employees and what you need to consider when hiring Christmas casual employees.
Read more


17th November 2021

The death of the workplace as we know it may have been exaggerated
As companies prepare for a post-pandemic world, the much-mooted “hub and spoke” workplace model is evolving in unexpected ways. Forget the idea of a city-centre office hub and a handful of smaller, suburban spoke offices. Most large corporates are doubling down on existing prime locations, hoping to lure workers back to the office with swish buildings and proximity to restaurants and shops. In the new hybrid set-up, the low-cost, commute-free spoke is your own home.
Read more

When casual becomes committed
One of the key amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) required employers (with 15 or more employees) to proactively offer casual who were eligible, the opportunity to convert to permanent employment. These changes affected every national system employer in Australia that employs casual employees.
Read more

Driver shortage, heavy compliance making life hard for trucking companies
A shortage of workers is exposing deep-set issues within the road transport industry, with regional Victorian trucking bosses describing mounting issues over safety and properly trained drivers. They say the strain is showing in supply chains with some regional trucking companies unable to find drivers to run routes.
Read more

In Tasmania's first, stonemasonry pleads guilty after workers exposed to risk of silicosis
A Hobart stonemasonry business has pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches that exposed workers to the risk of developing the incurable lung disease silicosis. It's the first successful prosecution in Tasmania for engineered stone benchtop silica-related work health and safety offences and only the second in Australia.
Read more

Rise in reports of sexual harassment in public service during lockdown
Reports of sexual harassment in the public service have slightly increased despite months of COVID-19 lockdown when many people were working from home. The NSW Public Service Commission’s annual people matter employee survey which was open to 400,000 workers from August 23 until September 17 suggests that the four months of lockdown failed to lower the proportion of people who had experienced sexual harassment or bullying.
Read more

Australia’s version of the ‘great resignation’ revealed as staff swap jobs
The post-lockdown recovery is driving a resurgence in job hopping, in Australia’s version of the “great resignation”, after employees stayed put and focused on retaining work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Figures from professional networking site LinkedIn provided to The Sun-Herald show a 26 per cent jump in Australian workers moving from one company to another in October, compared with the same time in 2019, before the pandemic.
Read more

Your workplace rights to paid or unpaid leave and free counselling to escape domestic violence
More Australian employers are implementing policies to fight domestic and family violence, recognising it's a workplace health and safety issue. According to a report released by the Champions of Change Coalition this week, it is a problem costing employers $2 billion annually because of absenteeism and lost productivity. How do you tell your boss that you are in an abusive relationship?
Read more

How to safely manage COVID-19 in the workplace
As we move closer to full reopening in Victoria and NSW, the challenge for businesses is how to reopen safely. Open-plan offices, common areas such as meeting rooms and kitchens, hot-desking and the importance of air ventilation are factors that impact the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted in the office. But for all businesses across Australia, even those not under lockdown, the key emerging issue is the impact on safety, if any, of the interaction between unvaccinated workers and visitors.
Read more

NSW workers compensation entitlements when working from home
One of the biggest surprises that has emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability for a large number of workers to productively work from home (or WFH as it has come to be known). With WFH options continuing for many workers even after the pandemic, this poses the question, “What are my workers compensation entitlements if injured while working from home?”
Read more

Commencement of stop sexual harassment orders in the Fair Work Commission will provide new protections for workers
From 11 November 2021, a worker who has been sexually harassed at work will be able to apply to the Fair Work Commission (Commission) for an order to stop the sexual harassment. It is now time for businesses to urgently review their sexual harassment policies and complaint handling processes. What is a stop sexual harassment order?
Read more

10th November 2021

Lawsuits and workers compensation claims to rise as workers catch COVID
Workers compensation claims are expected to rise as COVID-19 restrictions ease and borders reopen, leaving businesses open to being sued by staff if they get sick at work. In Australia since the pandemic began there have been around 3,000 COVID-19 related workers compensation claims, according to data obtained by the ABC from state and territory agencies.
Read more

Domestic violence was treated by workplaces as personal, now it's a $2b business problem
It takes, on average, seven attempts to leave an abusive relationship and about $18,000 and 141 hours to extricate oneself. But what if your employer helped you escape the situation? Kristy McKellar wishes she had the support of her employer when she was trying to leave her former partner years ago.
Read more

The truth behind workplace lies that form the norm
Lying at work is probably more common than we appreciate, until we stop to consider all the ways in which we deploy untruths. It can start with exaggerations and falsehoods when applying for jobs. Once in place, we may express agreement in meetings with ideas we think are wrong to keep the peace. We may be tempted to call in sick tomorrow (I write this on Melbourne Cup day). We lie because it is political and strategic for us to do so. Furthermore, we should not be surprised therefore to discover that capital-P politics is no different if recent world events are anything to go by.
Read more

Injured SA workers entitled to higher compensation payouts following High Court ruling
Injured South Australian workers will be entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of additional compensation following a High Court ruling. The man at the centre of the complex legal case, Shane Summerfield, said he hoped it would make it easier for others to get adequate payouts.
Read more

What can you do when a workplace gets too loud?
Struggling in a loud environment is difficult under the best circumstances, but I know well that it’s particularly difficult for people who can’t concentrate on work with voices in their ear. I’m certainly one of them. I can’t listen to music with words when I’m working, and if someone’s talking in the background or if I can hear any kind of speech around me, I’m liable to include someone else’s words or phrases in what I’m writing.
Read more

The Great Resignation: can you feel the winds of change?
It is said that in the post-lockdown era the workplace will be beset with what has become known as The Great Resignation. This is the idea that because of the pandemic, and a two-year stoppage in immigration causing a skills crunch, the skilled workers of the world are now primed and ready to resign en masse in order to take up better, more lucrative, offers.
Read more

Not unfair dismissal for failing to vaccinate
A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has refused an appeal of an unfair dismissal application related to an employee’s defiance to obey a mandated workplace vaccination policy. The decision of Jennifer Kimber v Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care Ltd [2021] FWCFB 6015 has confirmed that a vaccination direction issued by Sapphire Community Aged Care was both lawful and reasonable in the circumstances, and that the employee’s noncompliance to be vaccinated rendered her unable to perform the inherent requirement for the role.
Read more

Department of Justice fined over attacks on staff, including infamous guitar 'scalping'
Victoria's Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) has been fined $100,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace at its youth justice facilities, after two staff members were seriously injured in 2018. But a lawyer representing a female worker who was bashed with a guitar told the ABC the same authority that prosecuted DJSC over the incident had determined the injury as not serious.
Read more

Sexual harassment in the workplace
Recommendations made in the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect at Work Report (2020) have now been implemented in the new Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill (Respect at Work Bill), which is expected to become law imminently. The Respect at Work Bill has addressed a number of the recommendations made (but not all of them) by clarifying and expanding on the operation of existing laws, and proposing amendments to a number of key laws.
Read more

Clarity at last! When an employee’s complaint qualifies as a workplace right
The Fair Work Act 2009 prohibits employers from taking “adverse action” against an employee (including dismissal) because the employee has, or has not, exercised, or proposes to exercise a “workplace right”. Among other things, an employee has a “workplace right” if they are “able to make a complaint or inquiry in relation to his or her employment”. On first read, it may seem an employee has a workplace right to complain about anything to do with their employment.
Read more

3 November 2021

Can my redundancy payment be reduced by my employer?
If the requirements for redundancy, as set out in the Fair Work Act, are met, an employee is ordinarily entitled to redundancy pay depending on the size of their employer and their length of service. However, employers are increasingly attempting to utilise a provision of the Act to reduce an employee’s entitlement to their redundancy pay.
Read more

Tribunal upholds employer’s consultation steps and directions about COVID-19 vaccination
Mandatory vaccination is on the minds of many Australian employers and employees, but there is a lot of uncertainty amongst employers about how to go about it. The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) recently handed down a decision that helps explain the steps an employer needs to take when consulting about mandatory vaccination requirements. It also addresses what an employer does not need to do.
Read more

Employers trying to escape psychological injury and stress claims
Psychological injuries can be just as debilitating as physical injuries, and yet there remains a stigma about seeking help and claiming compensation that you rightfully deserve. In this article, we will outline some of the common problems encountered in dealing with psychological injury claims, and how we have successfully overcome them in the past.
Read more

Laws introduced to boost employment protections
The McGowan Government will today introduce the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 into State Parliament to modernise Western Australia’s employment laws. The Bill implements the Government’s election commitments to make Easter Sunday a public holiday from 2022, and to introduce an entitlement to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year for all employees.
Read more

PwC fires racist staff and fines partners for not intervening
Two of PwC Australia’s senior human resources specialists have been asked to leave the firm, following an internal investigation into alleged incidents of racism. The behaviour in question occurred during a staff event, and a “number of partners” who also attended but failed to intervene have also been penalised.
Read more

Best HR software to manage employees in 2021
The best HR software makes it simple and easy to manage your employees, from hiring to firing, and from taxes and benefits. That could be a massive boon to your business, especially if you struggle to find the time to tackle HR tasks yourself or if you don't have an in-house department.
Read more

Workplace deaths increase two years in row, report shows
Workplace fatalities have increased for a second year running according to data released this week. In a year that saw the Morrison Government reject including industrial manslaughter in model OHS laws, 194 workers lost their lives due to injuries at work.
Read more

Qantas charged for standing down cleaner who raised COVID-19 concerns
Qantas has been charged with breaches of workplace safety law after it stood down an employee who raised concerns staff could be exposed to COVID-19 when cleaning an aircraft that arrived in Sydney from China early in the pandemic.
Read more

Reports of epoch-shattering jobs change are a little overworked
Christmas has come early for a cabal of management consultants gifted “the great resignation” myth. They have pounced on figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in October that show the rate of people quitting their jobs in August 2021 had hit “a series high of 2.9 per cent”.
Read more

What legal rights do you have if you catch COVID-19 at work?
The transition to living with COVID-19 makes contracting the virus at work a distinct possibility, even with high vaccination rates. So, what are your rights as an Australian employee if you catch COVID-19, particularly if you believe you have caught it while doing your job?
Read more

27 October 2021

Refusal to Provide Urine Sample Costs Employee Job
The duty on employers to ensure the health and safety of workers includes mitigating the risks associated with drug and alcohol use, which are especially pronounced in industries such as construction, mining and transport. As such, employers in these industries are entitled to carry out workplace drug and alcohol testing to manage these risks. However, drug and alcohol testing is invasive and employers need to exercise caution when carrying out such testing.
Read more

Sexist Dress Codes: Why Employers Should Walk a Mile in Their Employees’ Shoes
To avoid workplace sexual harassment, women should refrain from wearing “tight jeans and short shorts”. Such an eyebrow-raising statement from an employer may appear to be from a bygone era. Yet, this advice was actually delivered in 2013.
Read more

“Right to Disconnect” After Hours in Victoria Signifies a Substantial Change to the Modern Working Environment
Police officers in Victoria have this week won the “right to disconnect” from work with a new clause that has been officially included into the Victoria Police Enterprise Agreement 2019 (Agreement). In essence, the clause directs the employer to respect an employee’s period of leave and rest days and provides that the employer is not permitted to contact an employee outside of the employee’s agreed working hours (unless it is a genuine emergency or welfare matter).
Read more

Super Stapling – the new rules affecting employee onboarding processes
From 1 November 2021, employers need to ensure that their employee onboarding processes, payroll systems and contracts comply with the Government’s new super stapling requirements. These new rules are aimed at reducing the number of superannuation accounts that are established each time an employee commences a new role.
Read more

Bullying policies and responding to complaints: is your house in order?
Two recent legal decisions have emphasised the importance of employers having an adequate workplace bullying policy or procedure and that a failure to have these in place (or having an inadequate policy or procedure), can have serious consequences.
Read more

Employer liable to pay compensation for COVID-19 death
In what is believed to be the first decision of its kind, the Personal Injury Commission of New South Wales has found that an employee was in the course of his employment when he contracted COVID-19 and his employer was held liable to pay compensation to his widow. The decision in Sara v G & S Sara Pty Ltd [2021] NSWPIC 286 highlights the workers compensation risks faced by employers associated with COVID-19 and the importance of managing those risks.
Read more

Skills Commission: Australian Jobs 2021 Edition
Australian Jobs gives an overview of trends in the Australian labour market. It is designed to support students, career advisers, job seekers, those considering future training and work and people interested in labour market issues.
Read more

Unions are good for workers and good for society
Unions have a proud history in Australia of fighting for and winning improved rights and conditions for their members and for workers more generally. At Hall Payne, we think it is integral that these victories are continually recognised and celebrated so that society continues to appreciate the key role unions have played in Australia’s history; not just for workers but for their families and their communities.
Read more

Radical workplace changes needed to improve work-life balance
Moves to keep work and home lives separate indicate once again how important maintaining a healthy “work-life balance” is for employers and employees. Both sides have a lot at stake.
Read more

Disagreements over flexibility cause 'massive, growing divide' in 2021's final months
The divide between executives and staff over flexible work still has not been bridged entering the final months of 2021, creating two competing visions of the office's future, according to a recent multinational survey of executives and employees by Slack-owned think tank Future Forum.
Read more

20 October 2021

Work safety poster leads to $200,000 damages award

A work safety poster has ended up costing $200,000 in damages after a court agreed it had made a female employee of Sydney Water feel like a "sex object". The problem was that the poster bore the words "Feel Great – Lubricate!" over a photo of the smiling female employee, who was stretching up and appearing to point to the word "lubricate".
Read more

5 Key Questions Regarding Workplace Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment
There have been changes to the Fair Work Act and Sex Discrimination Act to adopt some recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report. So, it is a good time for employers to take stock and make sure they understand their obligations. To help, this article answers five key questions that employers frequently ask.
Read more

Post-Employment Restriction Upheld by Court
The important role of post-employment restriction in protecting an employer’s legitimate business interests has again been highlighted in a recent decision of the NSW Supreme Court. In the decision, the Court upheld restraint clauses in the employment contracts of a Senior Manager and Sales Employee, finding that a nine-month post-employment restraint was reasonable for the purpose of protecting the employer’s confidential information.
Read more

Update to Victorian mandatory vaccination requirements
This update summarises the key impacts on employers and the steps employers should take. It is a ‘must read’ for all Victorian employers.
Read more

This proposed law would make employers liable for injuries arising from vaccine mandates
Fred Nile, a member of the Christian Democratic Party and the NSW Legislative Council, has introduced a Bill into State Parliament which would make employers who require their staff to be vaccinated liable for any injury, loss or damage caused by the vaccine.
Read more

Working with children check (NSW)
This article explains what's involved in a WWCC, how it differs from a regular police check and some of the potential hurdles.
Read more

Is it time for a public sector workforce 'right to disconnect' clause?
Hybrid models will continue as an established norm for the public sector workforce, bringing new challenges and opportunities for the post-covid workplace, according to a report by the UNSW Public Service Research Group.
Read more

Four HR Trends That Are Driving The Future Of Work
The Covid-19 pandemic touched every corner of the globe, forcing countrywide lockdowns, disrupting business and driving HR departments around the world to make radical changes in how we operate.
Read more

Unilever's HR chief: The future of work requires this key skill
Leena Nair talks about new programmes Unilever is experimenting with, from a 4-day work week in New Zealand to programs like U-Work, a model that joins the flexibility of contract work with the security (and benefits) of a traditional in-house role.
Read more


13th October 2021



Court of Appeal finds 'heavily redacted' investigation report denied employee procedural fairness
The Victorian Court of Appeal (Court) recently held that the State of Victoria (by its department, the State Revenue Office) (SRO)’s “heavy” redaction of an investigation report into harassment claims against an employee, Mr Tobias Tucker, denied Mr Tucker “procedural fairness” and fell short of the SRO’s obligations.
Read more

WA labour hire company and contractor penalised $29,000 for age discrimination
The Federal Court has penalised West Australian labour hire company, CoreStaff WA Pty Ltd, $20,000 and a WA based contractor, Gumala Enterprises Pty Ltd, $9,000. CoreStaff and Gumala Enterprises were found to have discriminated against a worker when they refused to hire a qualified 70 year old grader because of his age. The Court ordered 50 per cent of the penalties, totalling $14,500, be paid to the affected worker who was denied the opportunity to work.
Read more

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace: the new norm?
Encouraging, rather than coercing, employees to get vaccinated will likely be favoured by most employers. But if this is insufficient, what options do employers have open to them? What are the objections to mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace? And, more importantly, can these issues be addressed both from a legal and an ethical perspective?
Read more

Priority Processing Arrangements for Permanent Skilled and Temporary Work Visas
The Minister for Immigration has updated his directions to the Department of Home Affairs which outline the order of processing for permanent skilled and temporary work visas (specifically the Subclass 482 visas).
Read more

Case review - when does unpaid work constitute employment?
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission has again considered whether unpaid work constitutes employment. It is a timely reminder of the factors that workers must consider when determining whether they are entering into, or have entered into, an employment relationship.
Read more

Returning to work after parental leave – your rights
No matter how much you love your job, going back to work after parental leave can be a scary prospect. The main concern for most parents is how to manage competing work and family responsibilities but some employees also face the prospect of their job changing or being made redundant before they return to work. So, what obligations does the employer have and what rights do you have, as an employee returning after parental leave?
Read more

Ways technology can help transform mental health in the workplace
A recent report by WTW showed that focus on well-being and health is a top priority for human resource managers, especially after the pandemic. Over the last one and a half years, it has become obvious to organisations that keeping employees healthy and safe should always be a prime focus of attention.
Read more


6th October 2021




Australia’s gender pay gap reporting missing the full picture
Gender pay gap reporting in Australia is failing to deliver constructive change, with an international study on the subject saying current practices are failing to account for a significant chunk of the country’s workforce.
Read more

Can an employer mandate that employees be vaccinated? It depends ...
Whether employers can mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 for employees depends on the unique circumstances surrounding each workplace and whether it is lawful and reasonable. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has set out guidance for employers to determine when a direction for employees to be vaccinated may be considered reasonable.
Read more

Double-dipping provisions for casual employees
The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 offers employers greater certainty and protection from the threat of double-dipping practices in relation to casual employees. Previously, employers have sought (often unsuccessfully depending on the nature of their documentation) to set-off amounts paid to employees over and above the base requirements of an award or enterprise agreement, to satisfy any entitlement of the employee to accrue benefits such as paid annual and/or personal leave.
Read more

Loaded rates for the hospitality industry
Employers in the hospitality industry have been successful in obtaining approval from the Fair Work Commission to roll overtime, penalty and split shift rates into the base hourly rate for higher paid full time staff. The aim was to increase flexibility to an industry that has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. The Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020 has now been updated to include a schedule of the new loaded rates.
Read more

Respect@Work: The Government's response
Protections against workplace sexual harassment have been substantially improved following changes to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SD Act), the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (AHRC Act), which commenced on 11 September 2021. The amendments implement important changes recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, following the Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (2020).
Read more

Tribunal confirms physiological change necessary for an “Injury” under Comcare scheme
The Tribunal was asked to consider whether an Executive with Services Australia was entitled to further compensation in relation to a shoulder injury suffered in 2015. The Tribunal found that the original injury was a sprain, without physiological change, which did not constitute an “Injury”. The Tribunal found in favour of Comcare and the decision under review was affirmed.
Read more

Australian Court raises the bar on Compensation Award for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
On 9 August 2021, the Industrial Court of Queensland in Australia handed down its judgment in Golding v Sippel and The Laundry Chute Pty Ltd [2021] ICQ 14 awarding combined general and aggravated damages of $130,000 to an employee, Ms Goulding, who had been subjected to sexual harassment and sex discrimination in the workplace. Ms Golding was also awarded an additional sum of $28,702.60 for economic loss, bringing her total award of compensation to almost $160,000, which is a record-breaking amount of damages in the State of Queensland. This decision has significantly increased the amount of damages sexual harassment and discrimination victims can expect to be awarded.
Read more

Deloitte issues mandatory vaccination order for employees
Professional services firm Deloitte has informed its 10,000 Australian staff-members that they will require full Covid-19 vaccination to return to the office or attend Deloitte events. According to reports, the vaccine mandate will be in place from at least the beginning of next year, and will extend to all partners and employees together with contractors. It’s unclear whether unvaccinated clients will be able to visit Deloitte offices or events.
Read more

Football Australia responds to Lisa De Vanna allegations with independent investigation
Football Australia has responded to historical abuse claims made by former Matilda Lisa de Vanna, saying it is in the process of developing an independent investigation of historical allegations. De Vanna, 36, alleged she was bullied, sexually harassed and ostracised on a number of occasions during her stellar international career, in an explosive interview with The Daily Telegraph.
Read more

NT Health warns of 12-month ban on junior doctors who resign early amid growing staff pressures at Royal Darwin Hospital
NT Health has sent a letter to junior medical officers warning them that if they fail to complete a contract, they will not be hired again for at least a year. The letter was written by Dr Colin Feekery, who is the acting deputy director of medical services at Royal Darwin and Palmerston Hospitals. "I have instructed our Medical Services Unit and our locum recruitment service, that if a doctor fails to complete a contract, this is to be recorded on their Human Resources file," he wrote.
Read more

Deloitte takes top honours at human resources awards
As rivals PwC and KPMG deal with serious personnel misconduct issues (separately, a widespread cheating scandal and allegations of racism among staff), Deloitte has walked away with one of Australia’s top human resources honours, earning the HR Team of the Year gong at the Australian HR Awards for 2021. In addition, the firm was recognised for its diversity & inclusion and learning & development programs among others.
Read more

Melbourne Port to face stoppages over MUA strike, supermarkets threaten closure
Port workers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle are preparing to strike as New South Wales and Victoria move towards easing lockdown restrictions. Sky News Business Editor Ross Greenwood said industrial action by the MUA had come to a head at “exactly the wrong time” for farmers and businesses.
Read more


29th September 2021



What’s your age again? The AHRC has released a report on ageism in Australia
Discrimination takes many forms. When we think about “age discrimination”, discrimination against “older” workers is generally the first thing that comes to our mind. However, the reality is that young people are also subject to this type of discrimination.
Read more

‘Your feelings are your problem’ – a lesson for employers about how not to treat employees
In Qu v Monards Gold Coast Pty Ltd; Tak Wing Wong [2021] FWC 4507, an employee successfully obtained a stop bullying order despite being fairly criticised at times for being engrossed in her mobile phone while working. This case highlights the importance of implementing effective workplace bullying policies and appropriately responding to employee complaints.
Read more

Revisiting the limits of unfair dismissal claims: when is a contract expiry a dismissal?
The recent decision of Nasr v Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd highlights the importance of the specific factual scenario when considering the expiry of a time-limited contract as part of an unfair dismissal claim. Although the employee’s unfair dismissal application was ultimately dismissed the decision demonstrates the risks associated with multiple time-limited contracts.
Read more

Employee awarded nearly $1.5 million in compensation for vibrating finger injury caused by employer’s negligence
In Tyndall v Kestrel Coal Pty Ltd (No 3) [2021] QSC 119, Mr Tyndall claimed that he developed white finger syndrome during the course of his employment, which was caused by the significant vibrations he experienced while driving a loader. After hearing considerable medical evidence, the Court awarded Mr Tyndall almost $1.5 million in damages.
Read more

Term contracts: lessons learned from Naulty v Shoalhaven City Council
When employment ends as a consequence of the expiry of a term contract, an employee will not be eligible to access the unfair dismissal jurisdiction. However, it is critical to ensure that compliance with clause 34 of the Local Government (State) Award 2017 (Award) headed “Term Contracts” when considering whether a term contract is appropriate in the circumstances.
Read more

Court confirms that employees refusing to perform work that may expose them to serious health and safety risks are protected
The recent Federal Circuit Court decision of McNamara v Era Pacific Pty Ltd [2021] FCCA 1689, involved an employee who was dismissed after refusing a task that he believed would expose him to a serious health and safety risk. The employee alleged that adverse action had been taken against him because he exercised a workplace right, being the refusal to carry out the risky task.
Read more

Mandatory vaccinations: key considerations for local Councils
COVID-19 vaccination requirements in the workplace is an evolving discussion in Australia. Public health orders apply to some industries, but most employers in New South Wales are considering their obligation to implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy to ensure health and safety, and respond to employee and community concerns.
Read more

Successful compensation claim paid due to a COVID-19 death found to be work-related
On 10 August 2021, the Personal Injury Commission handed down its decision to award $834,200, weekly compensation and potentially medical expenses in the vicinity of $11 million (USD) to the estate of a deceased employee who contracted COVID-19 during the course of his employment.
Read more

Charity CatholicCare NT jumps gun on mandatory COVID vaccines for staff
A Darwin charity and social service provider has demanded its staff be vaccinated or their employment will be terminated, prematurely quoting not-yet-existent government rules. CatholicCare NT director Jayne Lloyd sent a memo to its 230-plus staff across the NT and SA last week, saying anyone "unable or unwilling to get vaccinated" by November 1 "will not be able to work at CCNT".
Read more

Surveillance in the Workplace
The use of surveillance devices by employers can be an important and effective way to manage workplace risks. However, there are strict laws regulating the use of surveillance devices in the workplace and employers can incur significant penalties for non-compliance. This article explores an employer’s obligations under the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW) (Act) and some of the important issues your organisation must consider before engaging in workplace surveillance.
Read more


22nd September 2021



What to do when someone's friends or family get involved in a workplace dispute
Is it a matter for the workplace to resolve? Officially, WorkSafe Victoria says that "employers have an obligation to take every reasonably practicable step to protect their workers from the risks of work-related violence and aggression, including bullying and harassment." This directive is consistent with Safe Work Australia and Work Health and Safety laws within Australia across all states and territories.
Read more

In the dog house for callous dismissal
The Industrial Relations Commission of Western Australia recently made an award of $9,438.89 against an employer whom it found had unfairly dismissed an employee in a manner it described as “callous”, causing the employee “distress beyond that of most dismissals” and resulting in the employee changing careers. The employment relationship between a kennel operator and one of its employees began to deteriorate when the employer accused the employee of reporting mistreatment of animals by the kennel to the RSPCA. The employee in question strongly denied making any such complaint.
Read more

Australia's biggest banks look to paid internships to draw in new tech talent
NAB brings in hundreds, others dozens, to sate demand for digital skills. An investigation by iTnews shows that many of Australia’s largest financial institutions have increased their intakes of both interns as well as more traditional university graduates in recent years as they build upon existing technology foundations or replace outdated legacy systems.
Read more

Victorian mother considering damages lawsuit one year on from family's COVID battle
In August last year, Angie Shrimpton was one of the thousands of Australians who contracted COVID-19 while at work. While Ms Shrimpton made a successful WorkCover application which covers the cost of some of her treatments and rehabilitation, the financial support does not extend to her dependents, meaning she's out-of-pocket paying for their ongoing treatment.
Read more

Transport company claims strike will put vaccine supplies at risk
Australia Post-owned delivery company StarTrack has moved to terminate a planned strike by its workers over job security, claiming it will imperil coronavirus vaccine supplies as the rollout of the Moderna jab begins. About 2000 employees of the company who are members of the Transport Workers Union have legal protection to go on strike for 24 hours on Thursday as part of a national campaign during pay negotiations to roll back outsourcing and labour hire in the industry.
Read more

New workplace rules spark concern for regional fire fighting volunteer numbers
Volunteer bushfire officers and regional shires in WA are concerned the threat of jail or large fines under new West Australian workplace legislation could see fewer people volunteering to fight fires in rural areas this summer. The WA Government's Work Health and Safety Bill — which introduces industrial manslaughter as a crime — passed through parliament in November last year.
Read more

Victoria’s construction industry shutdown could cost billions as protesters regroup in Melbourne’s CBD
Victoria’s construction industry has been forced to a standstill with a two-week shutdown estimated to cost more than $6bn, after violent protests outside Melbourne’s CFMEU offices. The building and construction industry is the fourth largest sector in Victoria, accounting for 46% of the state’s tax revenue and employing more than 320,000 Victorians. Projected costs of the industry shut down amount to $455m a day, and $63m in lost wages.
Read more

Why unions support vaccination — but not employer mandates
The American union movement has split over President Joe Biden’s proposal for companies with more than 100 employees to vaccinate their workforces against COVID-19. With increasing numbers of employers mandating COVID-19 vaccination, will something similar play out in Australia?
Read more

Mental health days are on the rise in the corporate world, but they're not a silver bullet for workplace stress
Nicole Scott has a better understanding than most of the importance of looking after your mental health. As a peer-support worker at a mental health organisation, she spends her days counselling people through their own struggles. The emotional toll the job can take is why the organisation has a clear policy for mental health leave — employees are encouraged to take it whenever they feel like they need to, no questions asked.
Read more

Qantas fails to delay push to reinstate 2000 sacked workers
Qantas has failed to delay court proceedings that could force it to reinstate some of the 2000 ground handlers it sacked last year after a judge ruled that it was illegal to outsource those jobs to third-party providers. The Federal Court ruled in July that the airline acted illegally when it laid off the baggage handlers, aircraft towing crews, cleaners and other ground workers in November 2020 because it was partly motivated by a desire to avoid future industrial disputes with the highly unionised workforce.
Read more

I run a gig economy business. What are my employee obligations?
The gig economy is an integral part of everyday life for many Australians, both as customers and service providers. Whether you are a customer using a ride-sharing service as a mode of transport, or an individual using these app-based platforms to earn income, you are participating in the gig economy. The gig economy is notably a grey area of employment law.
Read more


15th September 2021



What does the minimum wage increase mean for my business?
Each financial year, the Fair Work Commission reviews the minimum wage and decides whether to increase this amount and if so, by what percentage. As of 1 July 2021, both the national minimum wage and the award rates have increased by 2.5%. This decision accounts for (without limitation) the current COVID-19 context and its impact on businesses and also inflation. This article explains what the changes are and what this means for you as an employer.
Read more

Employee who left work to obtain a medical certificate for an injury dismissed for ‘abandonment’
Mr Fe Ben Acal (the Applicant) was employed at the Rockhampton Plant as a maintenance fitter until he was dismissed for serious misconduct on 2 October 2019. JBS Australia Pty Limited (the Respondent) claimed that the Applicant had abandoned his employment by walking off the job. The Applicant brought an unfair dismissal claim against the Respondent.
Read more

CBA steps up corporate Covid vaccination program
Commonwealth Bank of Australia is accelerating its COVID-19 vaccination program through the availability of the Pfizer vaccine to thousands of its people, their family and other household members in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area. The Pfizer vaccine will be made available to staff and their dependents as young as 12 years of age from today (Wednesday 15 September) as part of an expanded corporate vaccination project organised by Australia’s largest bank.
Read more

Casual employee’s dismissal held to be unfair despite them not complying with company policies
A casual employee recorded conversations between herself and her managers without their knowledge or consent. The Court held that while the unauthorised recordings were a valid reason for dismissal, the employer did not know about the recordings at the time of the dismissal and therefore did not provide the employee with the opportunity to respond to this reason. The Court rejected the employer’s other reasons for dismissal and found that the employee had been unfairly dismissed.
Read more

Having more female CEOs and stronger laws could help stamp out workplace sexual harassment
No female CEOs were appointed to ASX 200 companies in last financial year. Not one. This financial year has started on a slightly brighter note with Woodside appointing Meg O’Neill as the company’s chief executive officer and managing director.
Read more

Pacific island meat workers on $9 per hour after wage deductions
Pacific island workers employed at a Victorian abattoir are taking home little more than $9 an hour after hundreds of dollars are deducted from their weekly pay to cover airfares, visas, phone plans, housing and furniture rentals. Contracts between Pacific islander meat workers and labour hire firm Regional Workforce Management Pty Ltd show some workers are left with just $310 from their weekly pay of $753 after the deductions are made, prompting exploitation concerns.
Read more

Sometimes workplace training can be ridiculous
How many hours of productive work are lost because somebody with an overactive imagination has made up a list of hazards that have a theoretical chance of actually happening about as great as Peter FitzSimons releasing a Christmas book entitled “101 reasons why we should retain the monarchy”. Training staff is a good idea. Forcing employees to engage in time-consuming courses for “compliance” smacks far more of organisations covering their backs than providing any benefit to the individual concerned.
Read more

StarTrack postal workers vote in favour of strike action: union
Workers at parcel and freight service StarTrack have voted to strike, which could add strain to a postal system already impacted by record volumes during COVID-19 lockdowns. The Transport Workers’ Union said an “overwhelming” 90 per cent of StarTrack workers who are union members voted in favour of strike action if certain job security guarantees were not met.
Read more

NSW Personal Injury Commission finds workers compensation potentially exceeding $11 million payable for COVID-19 death
The New South Wales Personal Injury Commission has determined that a worker who contracted COVID-19 during the course of his employment has a compensable injury within the meaning of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW). The worker, a Director of a company dealing in dental technology whose primary business was based in Australia, had travelled to the United States in July 2020 in order to oversee the set-up of an American facility when he contracted COVID-19. The worker contracted the virus having attended several networking functions with colleagues.
Read more

How changing work practices increase the risk of employee underpayment
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our work lives in a multitude of ways, forcing many companies to change their business models, reassess their requirements of employees and facilitate employees working from home. These changes have seemingly happened overnight and, in many cases, are becoming our new normal. This perfect storm of flexible working arrangements, changing roles and rapidly diversifying business models can unwittingly cause companies to find themselves underpaying employees, especially when record keeping is insufficient.
Read more

Respect@Work – Amendments Pass Parliament
We have closely followed the progress of the reforms recommended in the Respect@Work Report, published following a 2018 Government commissioned national inquiry into sexual harassment and discrimination in Australian workplaces. We wrote about the background to the recommended reforms and outlined which of those recommendations had been endorsed by the Government, making their way into the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 (the “Bill”). The Bill has now passed Parliament, amending the Fair Work Act 2009 (“FW Act”) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (“SD Act”) to introduce a number of noteworthy reforms.
Read more

Explainer: what is a 'positive duty' to prevent workplace sexual harassment and why is it so important?
This week’s national women’s safety summit has been roundly criticised by community and women’s groups as being little more than a talkfest. It was intended to inform the development of a national plan to prevent violence against women and their children. But the government’s recent steps on this issue show how it is more committed to rhetoric and spin than taking real action.
Read more


8th September 2021



Psychological injuries arising out of employment
The Applicant sustained psychological injuries arising out of or in the course of his employment with Genesis Care Pty Ltd (‘the Respondent’) and was assessed by Dr Michael Hong as having 17% Whole Person Impairment. The Applicant was receiving weekly benefits at the maximum statutory rate however they ceased for 22 weeks from 13 August 2020 to 13 January 2021. The Insurer, iCare, issued a section 78 Notice disputing liability and the Applicant’s entitlement to lump sum compensation, weekly payments, and medical expenses.
Read more

Government Passes Landmark Bill to Combat Sexual Harassment
The House of Rep­esentatives has passed the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021. The Bill implements certain recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission report, Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces presented to the Government by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, in March last year.
Read more

Unions call for consultation before Australian businesses adopt ‘no jab, no work’ policies
Unions will continue to support workers who push back against employers mandating Covid-19 vaccination, and have urged consultation before the implementation of “no jab, no work” policies. As the Australian Medical Association calls for mandatory vaccination for all healthcare workers, police forces in New South Wales and Queensland mandate vaccinations, and major employers including Telstra, Qantas, Virgin Australia and SPC consider their own mandates, unions are caught in a bind: supporting the rights and choices of individual workers, but knowing that boosting the national vaccination rate is pivotal to resuscitating the economy.
Read more

Your workers Compensation Payments may have been inaccurate
Have you received a letter from icare? According to the media, icare have written to thousands and thousands of injured people about their PIAWE (Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings). An incorrect calculation process may have happened when determining your Weekly Earnings in relation to your Workers Compensation Claim.
Read more

Former Uber Eats courier paid $400,000 in out-of-court settlement
Is an Uber Eats courier an employee or an independent contract worker? The line that separates the two classifications is becoming increasingly blurred, especially in the gig economy. In 2019, after being told she’d failed to meet delivery time standards, Uber Eats courier Amita Gupta had her access cut off. With the support of the Transport Workers’ Union, Ms Gupta brought an unfair dismissal case against Uber.
Read more

Workers Rights During COVID 19
Workers are entitled to elect a health and safety representative (HSR) if they wish to be represented by one, request the formation of a health and safety committee, cease unsafe work in certain circumstances, have health and safety issues at the workplace resolved in accordance with an agreed issue resolution procedure, and not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues.
Read more

SA Parliament to set up HR unit to tackle harassment
State Parliament has agreed to establish a specialised unit tasked with stamping out harassment at Parliament House, months after the Equal Opportunity Commission revealed findings of a “toxic” and “rotten” workplace culture.
Read more

No jab, no job: David Walsh mandates Covid vaccination for all Mona staff
The owner of the Hobart gallery penned a colourful memo defending his decision, which has renewed discussion on the legality of compulsory vaccination. Tasmania’s flagship gallery, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), has become the first cultural institution in Australia to compel employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Read more

Deakin University to lay off more staff amid fears of second wave of education job cuts
Vice-chancellor Iain Martin says international student numbers will not return to pre-pandemic figures in the foreseeable future. Deakin University has announced plans to terminate up to 220 employees as the tertiary education sector braces for a “second wave” of job cuts. During a town hall conference on Tuesday, the Deakin University vice-chancellor, Prof Iain Martin, announced a plan to cut between 180 and 220 jobs, citing rising staff costs and falling revenue, the latter exacerbated greatly by the pandemic.
Read more

Hundreds of Victorian ambulance paramedics decline COVID-19 vaccine
Hundreds of Victorian ambulance paramedics have declined to be vaccinated for COVID-19, reinforcing calls for mandatory vaccination of all frontline healthcare workers in the state. Internal Ambulance Victoria figures obtained by the ABC show that 256 "on-road clinical staff" from Ambulance Victoria have declined to be vaccinated, 4.6 per cent of the total number of paramedics.
Read more

Management culture to blame for sexual harassment crisis in FIFO mining, union tells inquiry
Representatives of the Western Mineworkers Alliance (WMWA) have told WA’s inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry that the problem in the industry is endemic and driven in large part by management actively discouraging women from coming forward.
Read more


1st September 2021



When a duck is not a duck: Differentiating contractors from employees
Earlier this month, the High Court handed down a landmark decision providing certainty on casual employment in WorkPac v Rossato & Ors [2021] HCA 23 (WorkPac v Rossato). In WorkPac v Rossato, the High Court rejected that the courts should focus on the “real substance, practical reality and true nature of that relationship” and found that the relevant test is to be determined by the terms of the employment contract.
Read more

Working From Home With Kids: What Options Do Employers Have With Working Parents?
When working parents are struggling to balance remote learning and their own responsibilities as an employee during lockdown, employers often wonder what options are available for them to help their staff. As each employee’s circumstances will be different, it is impossible to apply a blanket rule - so the best way for employers to assist their employees in managing their individual responsibilities during lockdown is to have a full understanding of the options available to them.
Read more

The High Court to determine whether truck drivers were employees or independent contractors
The decision handed down in Jamsek v ZG Operations Australia Pty Ltd [2020] FCAFC 119 (Jamsek) is set to be heard by the High Court, as the next in a recent slew of employment matters being decided at the highest level.
Read more

Australia Post to notify former employees of final pay error
Australia Post has identified a payroll processing error that caused some former employees to not receive their full accrued annual leave entitlement when they left the organisation, with an average amount owed of $92. The error was identified by an internal proactive compliance review to ensure Australia Post’s human resources and payroll systems are working effectively, and processing pay and entitlements correctly for employees.
Read more

Employers at the pointy end of Covid compo war
When it comes to the pandemic, some can afford an ideological viewpoint. They can rail against restrictions and demand we start “living with the virus”. At the same time, they may oppose compulsory vaccinations in employment settings and “vaccine passports”, citing freedom, liberty and choice. Politicians and commentators can see the world through the prism of politics, with a culture war focus. Their position is all care, no responsibility.
Read more

Morrison government under pressure from within to expand aged care Covid vaccine mandate
The Coalition is facing calls from within its ranks to extend a Covid vaccine mandate for workers in residential aged care to all aged care and disability care workers. Warren Entsch, the Liberal MP for Leichhardt, raised the issue with the health minister, Greg Hunt, this week, saying the mandate for the residential aged care workforce did not go far enough.
Read more

The implications of WorkPac v Rossato – not just a casual issue
In the recent decision of WorkPac v Rossato the High Court unanimously held that Mr Rossato, a former employee of WorkPac, was a casual employee and therefore not entitled to benefits such as annual leave. Ben Motro, Partner, and Professor Andrew Stewart, Consultant, consider the High Court’s reasoning in this case, and explore the implications that the Court’s findings have for the future of employment law.
Read more

My Employer Forced me to Resign
The Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) states that a forced resignation happens when you have no ‘real choice’ but to resign. That is, your resignation was likely not a ‘clear and unmistakable resignation’, therefore raising questions regarding whether your resignation was, in fact, voluntary. In any subsequent claim or proceedings, you must prove that you did, in fact, not resign voluntarily and / or prove that your employer forced you to resign. Whether your employer gave you no choice but to resign is a tight threshold, however it is a threshold that must be closely drawn and rigorously observed.
Read more

Employees – Damages for Breach of Contractual and Fiduciary Obligations
Employees are generally subject to the express terms of their employment agreements and implied and fiduciary duties and statutory duties. Breaching those duties may lead to significant damages claims against them, although the exact measure of damages may require an election by the Employer.
Read more

Rather Than Enforce, Employers Should Encourage Facilitate Uptake, Says ACTU’s Sally McManus
As the push for greater COVID-19 vaccination levels grows as the outbreak of the Delta variant of the virus continues to spike, the debate around workplace vaccination mandates is starting to reach fever pitch. Whilst the federal government made it mandatory for aged care workers and those employed in quarantine to get the jab in late July, PM Scott Morrison stated early this month that while vaccine uptake should remain “voluntary and free”, businesses are obliged to keep workplaces safe.
Read more

Long Service Leave – Employment Outside of Victoria not “Continuous Employment”
Most employees in Australia qualify for long service leave once they have worked continuously for their employer for at prescribed period of time (at least seven years in many States and Territories, and ten years in others). However, this entitlement only arises if there has been “continuous employment” with the employer for that period and what qualifies as “continuous” is not always straightforward and can vary from state to state.
Read more


25th August 2021



Major changes for casual employees in 2021
In March 2021, changes to the Fair Work Act (‘FW Act’) came into effect which were the result of the federal government’s attempts at defining casual employment. Importantly, the new definition applies to former, current and future employees – it is retrospective.
Read more

Linfox gains Pfizer allocation as Toll initiates injection leave
Linfox and Toll say they are making moves to ensure their employees have improved chances of gaining Covid-19 vaccinations. Linfox revealed it had received an allocation of Covid-19 Pfizer vaccines from the federal and NSW governments for eligible team members, as health authorities prioritise the vaccination of essential workers.
Read more

Workers compo changes amended after medical, legal backlash
The state government has ruled out approving controversial changes to workers compensation guidelines after they were criticised by the medical and legal sector, but concerns about the reforms remain. Return to Work SA, the regulators of South Australia’s return to work insurance scheme, earlier this year recommended Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas tighten the Impairment Assessment Guidelines (IAG) which injured workers are assessed against to determine whether they are eligible for compensation.
Read more

Roundtable discussion to support employers with Covid vaccination
Minister for Industrial Relations, Michaelia Cash, today led a virtual roundtable discussion with around 50 leaders from unions, employer groups and government to discuss how best to support the vaccination rollout in workplaces. Minister Cash brought together stakeholders to address concerns about how they can and should approach COVID-19 vaccination policies in the workplace and to support the vaccine rollout more broadly.
Read more

The High Court provides employers with welcome clarification in the casual employee debacle: the contract is king
In recent years, employers have grappled with the concept of who is a “casual employee” for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). Following a lengthy legal process, the High Court has provided clarity in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato & Ors [2021] HCA 23. In finding that Mr Rossato was a casual employee, the High Court agreed with the parties that a casual employee is an employee who has no firm advance commitment of ongoing work from the employer.
Read more

AI in HR
HR professionals widely recognize the power of AI and plan to rely more heavily on it over the coming years. As the world of talent management continues to evolve quickly given the accelerations caused by the pandemic and development of new working environments, HR leaders are increasingly leaning on technology to help their companies rightside their talent processes.
Read more

History tells us what will decide whether we work from home in the future
By now it seems cut and dried. The pandemic has taught us to love the benefits of working from home and stopped bosses fearing it, so we’ll keep doing it once the virus has receded and the kids are back at school. Well, maybe, maybe not. Any lasting change in the way we work is likely to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
Read more

Transport Union slams FedEx for failing to protect workers following COVID-19 case at Matraville depot
The Transport Workers Union claimed FedEx failed to protect workers after a person at their Matraville site contracted COVID-19 - and declared the incident could keep Sydney "in lockdown longer than we need to be".
Read more

Truck driver strike at Toll Group set to cause road block, with Linfox also facing industrial action
Thousands of truck drivers will stop deliveries on Friday as part of a planned national strike at transport giant Toll Group, and transport workers at LinFox and Bevchain also look set to take industrial action. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said "crisis talks" over a new enterprise bargaining agreement with Toll collapsed yesterday.
Read more

The official figures say wages aren't growing — here's why they're wrong
Have you heard about the latest wage figures? They're meaningless. What the widely quoted measure of average weekly earnings purports to show is that wages grew a mere 0.1 per cent over the year to May. It's not true. It's not what happened. For most of us, wages grew by much more.
Read more


18th August 2021



SA Parliament to set up HR unit to tackle harassment
State Parliament has agreed to establish a specialised unit tasked with stamping out harassment at Parliament House, months after the Equal Opportunity Commission revealed findings of a “toxic” and “rotten” workplace culture.
Read more

The Do's and Don'ts of Workplace Investigations
Workplace investigations involve several (and often complex) procedural and substantive requirements and considerations which are easy to get wrong. Consequently, an investigation can be a source of risk to an employer, particularly where they are not conducted properly, or in haste.
Read more

Cut the jab-erish – no jab, no job…… or get sued!
The current media storm about compulsory COVID-19 vaccination in workplaces has most people talking and it’s become the great debate. Industry bodies, unions, employers and workers all seem to have differing views as to what is, and isn’t appropriate but one thing’s for sure; without legislation to define rights and obligations, we’re going to see lawsuits aplenty by this time next year!
Read more

What constitutes a psychological injury?
Legal explainer about about what constitutes a psychological injury under the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme.
Read more

Mandatory workplace vaccination: Some myths
With SPC putting its head above the parapet by mandating COVID19 vaccination for its workforce, and the National Cabinet Statement on 6 August, the topic of mandatory workplace vaccination has never generated such interest, analysis or debate. In discussion and reporting on the issue there are some regularly recurring myths. It is timely to examine some of those a little more closely.
Read more

Court Upholds Sexual Harassment Decision over Suggestive Poster
A recent decision by the NSW Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by a contractor against a ruling by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”) that Sydney Water and the contractor had engaged in sexual harassment of a female employee after a suggestive safety poster was displayed at work. The decision confirms that even unintentional innuendo can be considered unwelcome sexual harassment under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) (the “Act”).
Read more


11th August 2021



Two more senior executives leave Sony Music Australia as workplace investigation continues
A changing of the guard at Sony Music Australia has seen two long-term senior executives leave the company before an internal investigation into workplace culture has concluded.
Read more

'It's hard to get work when you're older': Ageism in the workplace
When Kate decided to make a sea change at the age of 60, she thought there would be no shortage of work for her. But she claims age discrimination is alive and well in Australia.
Read more

New tools to stamp out sexual harassment
There is no quick fix for the complex issues of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, but new resources are being developed to support victims and to challenge ingrained attitudes and an outdated framework for addressing the problems.
Read more

FIFO miners' mental health in spotlight, amid calls for onsite psychologists
New initiatives are being introduced into the mining industry to support miners' mental health, but there are calls for more significant change, including on-site psychologists at every mine.
Read more

Australian MPs can opt to participate in one-hour sexual harassment training
Critics have slammed the basic training for people working at parliament house that will be implemented in response to the alleged historical rape of staffer Brittany Higgins by a colleague in a minister’s office.
Read more

Decision to adopt independent complaints process will create safer parliament, Brittany Higgins says
Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has welcomed the Morrison government’s decision to adopt an independent complaints mechanism for serious incidents in Parliament House, which is the central recommendation of the Foster review.
Read more

Universal Music Australia Launches Investigation Into 'Inappropriate' Office Behavior
In the wake of reports of widespread sexual harassment at Sony Music Australia, Universal Music has become the second major label in the country to launch an investigation into inappropriate behavior at its offices, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Read more

WFH experiment not working for everyone
We know COVID-19 lockdowns and myriad restrictions on our normal daily activities are wreaking devastating harm on our CBD and the thousands of businesses and workplaces located there. But one of the matters we need to think seriously about is the impact of working from home as we responsibly track our way back, as far as possible, to working in the office.
Read more

CEOs say carrots, not sticks, should drive vaccinations
Chief executives from a broad range of industries across corporate Australia believe incentives and encouragement for staff are the best way to ensure vaccination rates accelerate much faster once supply improves, and are steering clear of following a controversial move by fruit packaging company SPC to pursue a no-jab, no-job approach.
Read more

Unpaid Work Experience: What You Need to Know
Volunteer opportunities, including unpaid internships and other unpaid work experience, allow individuals to gain valuable practical experience and make connections in professional fields they may be considering for future careers. However, these arrangements are not without risk.
Read more


28th July 2021



'Essential worker hero' shelf stackers in pay dispute with Woolworths
Supermarket giant Woolworths has significantly cut the take-home pay of up to 1800 nightfill workers in a move that has prompted ongoing workplace disputes at its Victorian stores.
Read more

No pain, no gain – Tribunal rules that incapacity is a requirement for a Section 18 application
The South Australian Employment Tribunal has handed down another favourable decision for employers relating to Section 18 of the Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) – the section that allows injured workers to apply to the Tribunal for an order requiring the pre-injury employer to provide "suitable employment".
Read more

'Hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube': Young workers resisting returning to office
David Gross, an executive at a New York-based advertising agency, convened the troops over Zoom this month to deliver a message he and his fellow partners were eager to share: It was time to think about coming back to the office. Gross, 40, wasn’t sure how employees, many in their 20s and early 30s, would take it. The initial response — dead silence — wasn’t encouraging. Then one young man signalled he had a question. “Is the policy mandatory?” he wanted to know.
Read more

Show me the money: London staff want pay rises to return to office
London office workers want an average pay rise equivalent to the cost of some annual railway season tickets to return to their desks full-time after the pandemic, according to a survey.
Read more

'It's hard to get work when you're older': Ageism in the workplace
When Kate decided to make a sea change at the age of 60, she thought there would be no shortage of work for her. But she claims age discrimination is alive and well in Australia..
Read more

Sony's Workplace Culture Crisis: Where To From Here?
'The Music' speaks to PR and HR experts in the midst of the ongoing Sony Music Entertainment Australia situation to explore what could, would and should happen in workplaces when faced with similar situations.
Read more

Why businesses should hire refugees amid Australia’s labour shortage
Australia is in the grip of a labour shortage, as pandemic border closures stem the flow of workers from other countries. At the same time, Australia has an untapped talent pool of workers: refugees who have settled here and are urgently looking for work.
Read more


21st July 2021



'I resign' versus 'I will hand in my notice'- there is a difference
Usually, when an employee resigns there is no doubt about their intention. A resignation letter is provided, accounting for a period of notice; the employee works out that notice and the employment ends. However, sometimes the language used by employees can give rise to uncertainty as to whether the employee has actually resigned.
Read more

We have a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy, so we do not have to pay compensation for the workers injuries
Maintenance manager was injured after going back to work to deal with an emergency after drininking alcohol. What happened next?
Read more

JobKeeper and Weekly Compensation Payments
What is meant by “returned to work for not less than 15 hours per week” or “It is beyond my control”? The Applicant suffered an injury to his lumbar spine in the course of his employment with the Respondent on 30 July 2018. The Applicant also suffered a consequential umbilical hernia while undergoing rehabilitation exercises for the original back injury. The Applicant sought weekly compensation benefits pursuant to Section 37 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (the 1987 Act).
Read more

Warning – Blanket application of the new super guarantee to big business employees may be super risky
It’s that time again – From 1 July 2021, Australia’s superannuation guarantee (SG) will increase from 9.5% to 10%. An employer’s approach to implementing the new SG should first and foremost be guided by the way an employee’s contract is drafted. This will effect whether any change needs to be made to an employee’s remuneration or the wording of their contract.
Read more

Mandatory workplace vaccination: Reflections on recent developments
With the current troubling Covid-19 cluster in NSW, and a deep concern about the relatively low rates of vaccination of staff in some industries which deal with the sick and the vulnerable, most notably aged care, the issue of mandatory workplace vaccination has gone from being an interesting theoretical consideration to a matter of immediate practical concern.
Read more

FWO announces 2021-22 priorities
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker has announced the regulator’s strategic priorities for the year ahead, with the key focus supporting workplaces as they manage the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.
Read more

Out of Hours Conduct – Reinstatement after Drink Driving Charge
A recent unfair dismissal decision by the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) highlights the limits of an employer’s power to discipline employees for their out of hours conduct, even where that conduct may attract criminal convictions such as a drink driving charge.
Read more

We versus they: How COVID-19 has completely changed our concept of a workplace
What makes people tick and stick around in the workplace has changed. Gone are the days of the corner office in the ivory tower, with the expense account and secretary that brings a fresh Danish and macchiato just the way you like it every morning. These kinds of features and the culture they represent are relics of a bygone era. Even financial compensation itself — the only rule of thumb consideration in outdated but still heavily relied upon economic theory — is just one element of what people seek from their workplaces in 2021.
Read more

Poor understanding of mental health stifles employment
When asked whether someone should disclose their mental illness to an employer, Lucy Brogden regrets her answer is “no”. Mrs Brogden said she had received anecdotal reports of high-functioning employees who had felt it was safe to disclose their mental illness to an employer or manager before discovering that when they did, “everybody’s attitude towards them suddenly changed”.
Read more

Work from Anywhere? Gen Z and Millennials Ask, "Why Not?"
There’s no denying that the pandemic has and continues to challenge companies to rethink their workforce strategies, particularly with respect to remote work and gig opportunities.
Read more


14th July 2021



Employees in Iceland start working four days a week, and they’ll get more done
Researchers in Iceland have found that a four-day work week, without a pay cut, improved workers’ well-being and productivity.
Read more

'Dystopian nightmare': The unlikely opponents of working from home
The flexible work revolution triggered by COVID-19 is set to endure in Australia long after the danger of the pandemic has passed. A survey of 50 of the nation’s biggest companies conducted by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald this week found that major employers are overwhelmingly planning to adopt hybrid work models permanently, and only seven respondents will require workers to be in the office a set number of days each week.
Read more

Casual workers to get government-funded sick leave in Victorian trial
The Victorian government will provide sick leave to casual workers in a trial program developed in response to the spread of coronavirus in insecure workplaces during Melbourne’s second wave.
Read more

Victoria introduces reforms to expand worker protections
The Victorian Government has introduced the Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 to parliament, to make Victorian workplaces safer. The new reforms are expected to expand worker rights and protections, boost employer accountability and streamline enforcement.
Read more

Return to Work – It’s all about that Flex
reports are that most employers have their employees back in the office for majority of the working week. However, this won’t suit everybody. For some, WFH has made its mark and flexibility is not only desired but necessary to accommodate an ongoing balance between home life and work. Eligible employees may wish to request flexible working arrangements and employers should know how to respond.
Read more

Chucking the sickie: no-questions-asked 'doona days' give workers a break
Employers are increasingly seeing the wisdom in offering staff days off for mental health – no leave application or medical certificate required.
Read more

The implications of implying a term of reasonable notice
In a decision that demonstrates the need for employment contracts to clearly specify a term for notice of termination, Judge Obradovic in the Federal Circuit Court case, McAlister v Yara Australia Pty Ltd [2021] FCCA 1409, has implied a term of 9 months' notice into an employee's employment contract.
Read more

Countdown to casual conversion
Less than three months to go until employers must make conversion offers to eligible casual employees
Read more

No jab, no job, no problem? Not quite.
Vaccines and mandatory vaccination programs have received a lot of media attention lately. There’s been Australia’s roll-out of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine (see here for government information). Alliance Airlines announced that COVID vaccination was mandatory for all staff members (see here). There has also been a slew of reports of misinformation related to vaccines (remember the Bill Gates tracking microchip theory?). Vaccines have been front and centre of media bulletins for months now. But can an employer actually require employees to be vaccinated?
Read more


30th June 2021



Deloitte to allow all staff to decide where and when they work
The consultancy firm has eliminated set start and finish times, and there is no requirement to be in the office for any set number of days a week. The changes also mean Deloitte’s 10,000 staff are entitled to one paid wellbeing day a year and have the ability to swap public holidays for days of cultural or religious significance to them.
Read more

HR Research: Employee-Centered Experience Drives Business Agility In Australia
A recent study showed the vast majority of surveyed Australians said their organization had effectively handled new ways of working in response to COVID-19 (80%), and was well prepared to address the changing work environment (78%). That said, Australian executives may be underestimating upcoming challenges...
Read more

Multiple allegations of toxic culture at Sony Music Australia as CEO Denis Handlin leaves
The most powerful man in Australian pop music, Denis Handlin, has been removed as head of Sony Music Australia, a week after Guardian Australia approached Sony’s head office with multiple complaints from former employees alleging a toxic work environment at the global company’s Australian operation.
Read more

Construction company wins case on exception to redundancy payments
A Full Federal Court has found, in a case involving a construction company and the CEPU, that the “ordinary and customary turnover” exception to redundancy pay in section 119 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) applied to employees employed for a specific construction project. Having properly drafted contracts and enterprise agreements and using clear and unambiguous wording around the nature of employment is vital in being able to rely on the “ordinary and customary turnover of labour” exception.
Read more

Tribunal finds ATO Analyst suffered burnout and depression from employment
The Tribunal was asked to consider liability for a psychological condition suffered by an analyst for the Australian Taxation Office. The Tribunal found that the reasonable administrative action exclusion did not apply to this claim, and ultimately concluded that the condition was contributed to, to a significant degree by employment and found in favour of the employee.
Read more

Do I have to pay for work outside of work hours?
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently determined that the time spent by an employee putting on and taking off personal protective equipment (PPE) during their unpaid meal break needs to be paid by the employer. The decision highlights the risk that employees must be paid for any substantive task required by the employer in what may otherwise be considered unpaid time. It also demonstrates the value of a well-drafted set-off clause when employees are paid above the award.
Read more

Does an employee have the right to silence?
A recent Full Bench decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) considered the circumstances in which a dishonest answer by an employee to their employer’s questions provides a valid reason for dismissal.
Read more

How to respond to vexatious bullying in the workplace
Receiving a bullying complaint from an employee and working out what to do next can be stressful for an employer. Then, to add another layer of complexity - what happens if the bullying complaint is made vexatiously and without a legitimate reason?
Read more

Once more for good measure – employer directions to be ‘lawful and reasonable’
The Fair Work Commission is progressively finalising matters that have arisen out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Albeit gradual, we are gaining clarity on the various questions posed by the last 18 months of life, such as when can an employer direct an employee to get vaccinated?
Read more

Calculating Superannuation Payments From 1 July 2021 - A Contract Clause You May Not Be Aware Of
From 1 July 2021, the superannuation contributions employers are required to make will increase to 10%. Have you checked to ensure whether your payments to employees will change from 1 July? There is one contract provision that may be lurking in your employment contracts, that you may not be aware of that can affect the calculation of your payment obligations to employees.
Read more


9th June 2021



Company director jailed for death of worker in WA
A prison sentence recently handed down to a company director in the Magistrates Court serves as a timely reminder that regulators are willing to seek, and courts are increasingly willing to impose, tougher sentences on businesses that fail to meet their duties under workplace health and safety legislation.
Read more

Zip Co offers two weeks of paid leave to employees experiencing miscarriage or pregnancy loss
Aussie buy-now, pay-later giant Zip Co has introduced a policy offering two weeks of paid leave for employees who suffer miscarriage or pregnancy loss before 20 weeks.
Read more

The right to ‘chestfeed’ enshrined in government workplace agreement
The Victorian government has become the country’s largest employer to include the term “chestfeeding” in a workplace agreement as part of a broader push to use gender-inclusive language.
Read more

False perceptions are not considered contributing factors to psychological condition
The Tribunal was asked to consider initial liability for a psychological condition. All that is required is that the employee is exposed to some incident, or state of affairs, in the course of the performance of his/her duties and to which he/she would not otherwise have been exposed ...
Read more

Ageism and countering effects of COVID-19 on Older Australians at work
Transcript of a speech by Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Kay Patterson..
Read more

"Team Anywhere": Atlassian’s new flexible work model means employees will only go into the office 'four times a year’
Atlassian is planning big changes in how it operates. Step one: mandate that employees will get to work from home.
Read more

COVID-19 vaccine: Employers are “willing to step up” and offer staff incentives to get the jab
Australian business leaders are calling on employers to play their part in the vaccine rollout by offering incentives to workers to get the jab. Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, said on Monday that the vaccine rollout needs to be accelerated and employers can help by offering incentives such as paid leave to their staff.
Read more

Reforms arising from Marie Boland’s review of WHS laws
The the NSW Government have introduced the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2021 (Bill), which proposes to create two new offences relating to industrial manslaughter under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). A conviction may result in a maximum $10.1 million penalty for a body corporate and 25 years’ imprisonment for an individual. These reforms are key recommendations arising from Marie Boland’s Final Report following her review of the model work health and safety laws. .
Read more

Crown's 'pretty grim' culture laid bare
From employees right up to the chief executive, feedback given to an auditor about the workplace culture at Crown Resorts has painted a “pretty grim picture”, the royal commission in Victoria has heard.
Read more

Employee Performance Improvement Plan: What you need to know
When an employee is found to be underperforming, the start is for the employer to discuss the issue/s with the employee (usually informally). More often than not, the employee will improve after this discussion. But what happens if an employee argues that the PIP is unreasonable? What are some of the things that employers can do to combat this argument?
Read more

 
25 May 2021



Employers To Consider The Implications Of Changing Terms Of Employment When Employing Across Multiple Jurisdictions
In Qantas Airways Ltd v Tohrlach [2021] NSWCA 48, Qantas appealed a decision of the New South Wales Supreme Court seeking to have a post-employment restraints dispute determined in Australia after an employee had commenced proceedings in Singapore seeking declarations the restraints were void and unenforceable.
Read more

The business case for diversity in one word: profit
Imagine a technology or product that would increase organisational performance and profitability by 36 per cent. It would sell out overnight...
Read more

Workers want fewer days in office in post-COVID Brisbane: survey
Future Brisbane office spaces in the post COVID-19 era should have fewer desks and more workers should use collaborative work spaces, a survey of more than 7500 office workers and 150 executives has found.
Read more

Five things to think about before you rush your team back to the office
With the vaccine for COVID-19 being rolled out around the world, and case numbers low here in Australia, many companies are starting to push for all employees to return to the office. Sure, everyone loves to catch up (and let someone else make them a cuppa), and face-to-face, round the table meetings are where the magic happens, right?
Read more

Former media adviser to WA Treasurer, gets payout for unfair dismissal from government
A former ministerial media adviser who was acquitted of an indecent assault accusation will receive nearly $300,000 after settling his case with the state government.
Read more

Dishonest General Manager was not wrongfully dismissed
It is well known in employment, especially in senior roles, that honesty is an important quality. This is especially so in public sector employment. This principle was recently made abundantly clear by President Bell of the NSW Supreme Court in Eldridge v Wagga Wagga City Council [2021] NSWSC 312 (31 March 2021).
Read more

Inappropriate Social Media Activity is a Valid Reason for Dismissal
The Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) has upheld the dismissal of a finance broker who was terminated for inappropriate social media activity. The decision serves as a reminder that inappropriate social media activity can be a valid reason for dismissal, and the importance of enforcing expectations of appropriate behaviour.
Read more

Company found not to have coerced workers by warning they would not have a job if they did not approve a pay cut for new employees
In Compass Group (Australia) Pty Ltd T/A ESS [2021] FWCA 1234, a large catering company made an application to the Fair Work Commission to vary an Enterprise Agreement (“Agreement”) which resulted in a pay cut for new employees engaged by the Company, after a majority of employees overwhelmingly voted to vary the Agreement. The Australian Workers Union, who were bound by the Agreement, objected to the application on a number of grounds including that they asserted the statements provided to employees ahead of a vote on the Agreement were coercive.
Read more

Am I Allowed to Conduct Surveillance on My Employees?
Like most employers, you may only consider whether you are permitted to conduct surveillance on employees following allegations of misconduct. In such circumstances, you may seek to conduct an investigation that is compliant with relevant laws and which you can rely on for disciplinary action. However, to be compliant with relevant laws, it is important to consider such questions before undergoing investigation.
Read more


12 May, 2021



Fair Work Ombudsman secures penalties in court over underpayment of Sydney nanny
The rights of in-home care professionals, who provide early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the homes of children and families, to award wage conditions have been highlighted in a recent case brought before the Federal Court.
Read more

Mandatory vaccinations – A ‘Goodstart’ for employer guidance
Employers are more frequently asking whether they can require their employees to be vaccinated against diseases for which there is a vaccine. The answer will usually turn on whether a direction to be vaccinated is a "lawful and reasonable direction".
Read more

"Right to Disconnect" After Hours in Victoria Signifies a Substantial Change to the Modern Working Environment
Employers in Australia should prepare themselves for the ongoing debate around the establishment of workplace boundaries as pressure around the issue intensifies.
Read more

Gartner HR Survey Shows a Quarter of Australian Employees Are Seeking a New Job
Work-life Balance, Manager Quality and Respect are the Top Three Reasons Australian Workers Cite for Leaving Their Organisation.
Read more

Re-engaging in a post-pandemic world: the great HR challenge of 2021
Is a significant reset in the offing? From a human resources perspective, the answer appears to be a resounding ‘yes’. Here in Australia and elsewhere in the world, we’re seeing professionals and leaders addressing some big issues in the wake of the COVID pandemic and the extraordinary changes it has engendered, to our way of life and work.
Read more

What is new Super Guarantee in 2021?
When it was first introduced in 1992, it was intended that the SG would gradually increase over time. Although it wasn’t mentioned in the May Federal Budget, it’s expected to rise to 10% from 1 July 2021.
Read more

‘Insulting’ and ‘degrading’: budget funding for childcare may help families but educators are still being paid pennies
The government has committed an additional A$1.7 billion over five years to reduce the cost of childcare for around 250,000 families with more than one child. Another $1.6 billion is going into ensuring each four-year-old child gets 15 hours of preschool a week. But these budget announcements, framed in part as being a boost for women’s participation in the workforce, hold no good news for the early childhood workforce - 95% of whom are women.
Read more

Budget 2021: $450 Super Threshold Axed
The government has established it is looking towards a number of reforms to boost the efficiency and competition of financial markets. It has an aim to roll out the red carpet for global talent and investment into Australia. The $450 threshold for mandated employer super contributions has been axed, allowing more part-time and casual workers to payments from their employers.
Read more


28 April 2021



LinkedIn to introduce 'stay-at-home' parenting option in profiles
LinkedIn says in response to feedback, particularly from women and mothers, it's adding "stay-at-home mum", "stay-at-home dad" and "stay-at-home parent" to its job options in the "coming weeks". "In the near future, we'll also add a new field specifically for employment-gap types to the profile like 'parental leave', 'family care' or 'sabbatical' so that people can address any gaps in their career journey"
Read more

'We must act now': Businesses seek urgent global push for skilled migrants
A Shepparton business and industry leader has told a parliamentary inquiry into skilled migration that the federal government should fund a worldwide recruitment campaign to bring skilled workers to the region.
Read more

Horseplay in the workplace leads to $662,102 in damages
A certain amount of joking, skylarking and horseplay in the workplace is usually harmless and lightens the atmosphere, keeping up the spirits of workers. But when it goes too far and someone is injured, the consequences can be very serious and costly.
Read more

COVID-19 vaccinations: workplace rights and obligations (Fairwork)
Find answers to common questions about different workplace issues and COVID-19 vaccinations.
Read more

ABCC takes action against Brisbane labour hire company for failure to comply with two investigations
The ABCC has commenced Federal Circuit Court proceedings against Brisbane based company ADADN Pty Ltd alleging failures to comply with formal requests to provide documents in investigations into alleged underpayment of wages and unlawful industrial action.
Read more

Gender Equity Insights 2021: making it a priority
This sixth BCEC|WGEA Gender Equity Insights report, Gender Equity Insights 2021: Making it a Priority, uncovers further insights about effective initiatives to improve gender equality across Australia’s workplaces, by identifying the top performers, who have consistently taken steps to improve gender equality outcomes over the last seven years.
Read more

Women’s casual job surge widens gender pay gap
The gendered nature of the pandemic’s effects on Australia’s labour market have clear implications for addressing pay inequality. Not only has the quantity of women’s paid work been reduced compared with men, but the quality of those jobs has been undermined during the post-COVID recovery. Women workers are 'snapping back' to a world of paid work that engages them on inferior terms compared with men (lesser hours, security and pay).
Read more

Vaccinations and the workplace
The new guidance suggests that most employers will not have a right or obligation to require employees to be vaccinated, however, all employers will continue to have an ongoing duty to eliminate or if not possible, minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
Read more

Queensland workers with psychological injuries are getting short-changed!
According to data released by the state’s worker’s compensation insurer, those who have the misfortune of developing a psychological condition at work can expect to be “put through the wringer” in what’s become an application process that is only guaranteed to bring you a standardised rejection letter.
Read more

What else should employers know about the new casual landscape?
The new statutory definition of ‘casual’ employment in the Fair Work Act (explained in our earlier article) comes with a new regime for dealing with casuals. This is a summary of the other aspects of the regime which employers need to know.
Read more


24 March 2021



Casual work defined for the first time under new laws
The federal government has been forced to abandon the bulk of a controversial industrial relations bill, failing to negotiate it through the Senate. The only measure in the wide-ranging bill successfully passed was to legally define casual work, in an effort to avoid leaving businesses liable for potentially billions of dollars in back-pay.
Read more

A Reminder On The Importance Of Consultation
The Melbourne lockdowns have had an undeniable impact on businesses and seen a number of redundancies. In a recent Fair Work Commission decision the importance of consultation as required by a modern award was made clear.
Read more

Young Adelaide worker blacklisted online after speaking out against her former employer
A young female victim of an alleged assault that took place in an Adelaide bubble tea bar has been blacklisted by an anonymous user after speaking out about her former employer.
Read more

Australian businesses can require customers to prove they've had Covid jab, regulator says
Businesses will be able to require customers and visitors to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition for entry, according to guidance by Australia’s work health and safety regulator.
Read more

Vaccine rollout ‘one of biggest workplace relations issues’ of year
The state’s peak business body says the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be one of the biggest workplace relations issues of the year and is warning that employers face potential legal action if state and federal governments can’t provide better advice about health and safety obligations.
Read more

With no incentive to do better, bad behaviour keeps festering in the dark corridors of power
Our politics desperately need HR reform.
Read more

Guidance on COVID-19 Consultation
The Fair Work Commission has put forward a recommended framework for consulting about COVID-19 related proposals to Santos, AWU and the AMWU, after the AMWU and the AWU notified disputes about changes regarding Government COVID-19 guidelines and Santos’ responses. Commissioner Peter Hampton recommended a broader approach to consulting workers and their representatives.
Read more

Dealing with Issues of Sexual Misconduct through People Management
In light of the recent controversy surrounding allegations of sexual assault occurring in Parliament, organisations need to consider whether they are addressing systemic issues of sexual misconduct.
Read more

The arbitral power of the Fair Work Commission: Dispute resolution provisions under inherited enterprise agreements
The Federal Court of Australia recently decided that the Fair Work Commission has the power to arbitrate disputes under enterprise agreements inherited by new employers following a transfer of business. The decision may have far reaching consequences for employers who have inherited an enterprise agreement, which can happen when businesses are acquired, merged or restructured.
Read more


3 February 2021



Mandatory vaccinations in the employment law context
Following Scott Morrison’s decision on 7 January to roll out the COVID-19 Vaccine National Strategy, businesses may be considering mandatory vaccinations for all employees to reduce the risk to their business, employees and customers. But what happens when your employees refuse to be vaccinated?
Read more

Wage theft crisis opens gate for graduates who can navigate IR waters
Amid all the challenges of the global pandemic, there was another issue that loomed large last year: wage theft in businesses that are household names. The human resources and industrial relations functions have become increasingly important to achieving legal compliance and avoiding negative media attention. Given this, we can expect rising demand for university graduates with the skills to navigate the industrial relations system.
Read more

One Nation warns Coalition on workplace changes as Labor ramps up attack
The omnibus bill, released in December, has sparked a major political fight between the government, unions and Labor, which resolved on Tuesday at its caucus to oppose the bill.
Read more

Stress-related absence among HR increased by 70 per cent in 2020, research suggests
There was a 70 per cent rise in the number of stress-related absences among HR professionals in 2020 compared to the previous year, research has found.
Read more


13 January 2021



My employer wants me to return to the workplace. Can I refuse?
There’s an interesting workplace battle brewing around Australia between office workers and their employers. While many employers have found that working from home has had negligible, if any, adverse effects on productivity, others believe it has indeed had a negative impact, and want to get things back to the way they were pre-pandemic, in order to start rectifying the economic damage done. But what does the law say about returning to the workplace?
Read more

Workplace Culture – a Proactive Approach to Bullying and Harassment
It has recently been alleged that the NSW Police has a culture of bullying and harassment. The allegation made by both former and current officers is that the internal complaints system is being misused to target “good” officers. It is a timely reminder for leaders to reflect on whether their organisation’s culture post-pandemic has remained consistent across all teams. More broadly, organisations should take active steps to audit and rectify workplace cultural issues rather than await adverse reporting.
Read more

Changes to casual employment, awards and paid domestic and family violence leave in store for 2021
At the end of 2020, the Federal Government introduced two new bills to amend the Fair Work Act. The DFVL Bill proposes to improve the existing entitlements of the National Employment Standards of the FW Act. The SAJER Bill proposes to ‘improve the operation and usability of the national industrial relations system’ by making a number of changes to the FW Act.
Read more

Hope and Counting Time are not People Management Strategies
COVID-19 is not going anywhere. While individual states and territories apply their own strategies for managing outbreaks and community transmission, the universal reality for business is the need to develop a people management strategy which operates within the uncertainties, rather than waiting for certainty to return.
Read more

Reasonable or burdensome? To what length should an employer mitigate the risk of injury
In workers’ compensation negligence claims, it is necessary to show that a reasonable employer ought to have taken preventative measures to guard against the risk of harm to the employee. However, what are reasonable preventative measures and when do precautions become unreasonably burdensome?
Read more

Overtime or overload? When is working on weekends part of the job?
We all know how precious our weekends are - for well-earned downtime and respite from work, but many of us also spend time on weekends caring for children and other family members. In a recent decision, Commissioner Webster of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW provided local councils with helpful guidance on their ability to make employees work overtime on weekends when they didn’t want to.
Read more

Will the government’s new casual loading offset provisions prevent double-dipping?
Over the last six months, the federal government has been openly critical of the decisions of the Federal Court of Australia in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 and WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131. It has also recently supported a successful application for special leave to appeal the Rossato decision in the High Court of Australia
Read more

Mechanic’s redundancy pay cut after FWC rules redeployment opportunity with additional travel time was acceptable
Employers have long known they are obliged to try to find new employment opportunities for employees who are faced with the redundancy of their current role. This might include redeployment within the business or its related companies, or finding employment with a third party. Despite employers’ best efforts to preserve employment, from time to time, disputes arise when employees would rather have redundancy pay than a new role, or where the new role is not an adequate substitute for the old one.
Read more

Full-time works: Why the unrelenting pandemic is actually a reason against hiring contractors
Contractors can seem like a great solution for small-to-medium businesses. On the face of it, they provide fewer outgoings, greater flexibility and less management. They don’t need extensive training, and they’re generally happy to get on with the job with a minimum amount of fuss. After a year of unpredictability, what’s not to like? Unfortunately, there’s a problem with this approach.
Read more


3 Dec 2020



The New Normal: Could we see 'No jab no work'?
With Australia transitioning into a recovery phase, there are new areas of the working relationship which employers will need to adjust to in the post-pandemic working environment. There have been developments in recent weeks which have shed light on new work paradigms which employers need to prepare for.
Read more

WorkPac vs Rossato - how employers can prepare for the outcome of the High Court decision
The High Court of Australia has granted labour hire company WorkPac Pty Ltd special leave to appeal the controversial decision in WorkPac v Rossato in an attempt to correct the confusion around the definition of casual employment.
Read more

IR reforms could see higher casual wages for retail and hospitality workers
The federal government is expected to introduce an industrial relations reform package to parliament next week, in a move that could see a new definition of casual work, and result in a higher rate of pay for retail and hospitality workers.
Read more

Compulsory vaccinations for employees: The legal position
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the race to create a safe, effective vaccine for the virus, the issue of vaccination is firmly on the agenda. For instance, the CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, has recently caused controversy by suggesting that passengers on Qantas international flights might need to be vaccinated as a condition of boarding.
Read more

Another day, another sacking by text message
Employees of retail chain Riot Art & Craft were recently terminated after the company went into liquidation. The 300 odd employees from the company’s 56 stores are reported to have learned about their dismissal by a group text message sent by a director after weeks of assurances from management that new stock was coming in and everything would be back to business as usual. It’s an all too familiar story and an issue that our reliance on technology is allowing to become more prevalent.
Read more

Sexual Harassment met with Aggravated Damages
Recently, the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal made an aggravated damages order against a Toll Transport courier for sexually harassing a Sanity store manager and then serving her with a retaliatory defamation letter after she lodged an internal complaint about his behaviour.
Read more

Tips for starting a new job while working from home
Starting with a new employer remotely has been a shared experience for many during the pandemic. While a lot of making the transition smooth will come down to your boss, there are things individuals can do to make it as successful as possible.
Read more

Workplace relationships not unlawful, but difficult if there’s a power imbalance
Angela Knox, an associate professor of human resources at the University of Sydney’s Business School, says a consensual relationship between co-workers is not unlawful but “it’s an ethical conundrum”.
Read more

Workers bear 71% to 100% of the cost of increases in compulsory super
The government’s much-anticipated Retirement Incomes Review has found that increases in employer’s compulsory superannuation contributions are financed by reductions in workers’ wage growth. This isn’t obvious, and it certainly isn’t what the superannuation industry has been saying.
Read more


18 Nov 2020



Personal Liability Under The Fair Work Act: Could A Recent High Court Decision Widen The Scope Of Liability?
The scope of persons who may be held personally liable under the Fair Work Act 2009 for contraventions by their employer, may be wider than first thought as a result of a High Court decision which has held that “influence” and not position title, is a key consideration in determining whether a person meets the definition of an “officer” of a corporation under the Corporations Act 2001.
Read more

More than 200,000 aged care workers seek 25% pay rise in landmark Australian case
Unlike enterprise bargaining, in which employees and their unions seek pay rises from their employers, the case in the Fair Work Commission would allow the industrial tribunal to lift wages across the sector by varying the award. The case picks up a recommendation of counsel assisting the aged care royal commission to seek higher minimum wages in the sector by arguing that the conditions, nature and skill of the jobs justify a pay rise.
Read more

Cosmetics company Lush admits to underpaying Australian workers by $4.4m
The British based firm prides itself on its hand-made products and ethical supply chain. "The contraventions were caused by Lush’s inadequate workplace relations systems and processes, including a lack of training for staff and managers, a manual payroll system, and the absence of a HR department in a rapidly growing business," the ombudsman said.
Read more

Working from Home: Employer not Required to Supply Desk
With large portions of the workforce continuing to work from home, a recent Fair Work Commission decision provides employers with some guidance on complying with workplace health and safety requirements through an unfair dismissal lens. In particular, in relation to the provision of "furniture" for employees working from home.
Read more

Privacy and Discrimination concerns with Online Meetings
The way we communicate with our colleagues, customers and suppliers has changed. COVID-19 and the subsequent move en masse to working from home has triggered a sharp increase in the use of the online meeting and with it comes heightened privacy and discrimination concerns.
Read more

When is Reinstatement an Appropriate Remedy?
A recent Fair Work Commission decision found that reinstatement was an appropriate remedy notwithstanding the labour hire company’s contention that it lacked contractual power to reinstate the applicant to his former position with its client.
Read more

Remote work requires us to reconsider how to evaluate and pay employees
Existing evaluation processes weren’t designed for the virtual workplace. Now that work is being done differently, organizations need to rethink the types of behaviours that are being rewarded.
Read more


5 Nov 2020



Is it legal to advertise positions for JobMaker-eligible candidates only?
The Government's JobMaker scheme has drawn criticism from some for potentially encouraging a form of age discrimination, after job advertisements began to surface which made eligibility for the scheme a requirement for applicants. As a result, the lawfulness of the scheme itself is also being called into question.
Read more

Termination v Resignation: When employee disputes lead to unfair dismissal claims
It is surprisingly common how often a dispute arises between an employer and employee as to how the employment relationship ended – was it by resignation by the employee, or termination by the employer?
Read more

Employer ordered to pay $1.1 million in damages for termination
A Supreme Court decision highlighted the importance for employers to pay terminated employees their full entitlements including payment in lieu of the notice period and any incentives/bonuses. The case hinged on whether the parties were bound by an old contract or whether the new contract which was unsigned applied which would determine the notice period owed to the employee.
Read more

New Guidance in NSW On Creating Psychologically Healthy Workplaces
The draft Code of Practice is designed to supplement the existing legislative framework, and operate as a practical guide for duty holders with respect to establishing psychologically healthy and safe workplaces, and compliance with their obligations under the WHS Act.
Read more

Industrial Manslaughter in WA – A Practical Guide
Western Australia’s upper house has passed new OSH legislation creating an offence of industrial manslaughter. It is expected that the legislation will be passed by the lower house and become law in November 2020.
Read more

TechOne to pay out $5.2M in unfair dismissal and bullying case
TechnologyOne has lost its long-running court battle with a former employee, who accused the software vendor of unfair dismissal and workplace bullying. A Federal Court has ordered TechnolgyOne to pay $5.2 million to its former regional manager for Victoria, Behnam Roohizadegan, who originally filed a $14.8 million suit against the company.
Read more

Unreasonable Performance Expectations During COVID-19
A recent unfair dismissal decision by the Fair Work Commission highlights the need for employers to consider how they manage employees and whether they are setting unreasonable performance expectations during COVID-19.
Read more

Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) enforcement and compliance powers on the rise
The release of the Fair Work Ombudsman 2019/2020 Annual Report is a stark reminder of the need to ensure compliance issues are dealt with swiftly and not left on the backburner. While the need to implement drastic changes to adapt to the “new normal” has led to a shift of focus and priorities for some organisations, a revised Fair Work Ombudsman strategy has resulted in a significant increase in the use of FWO enforcement and compliance powers.
Read more

Incentives, bribes and Cartier watches can actually lower an employee’s quality of work
In light of current discussions about executive performance bonuses and incentives, and exceptional payments for personal items and services, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at the possible impact of incentive and rewards systems on the quality of our decision-making, the effect on workplace performance and sustainable business practices. This applies to incentives paid to salespeople and other employees, as well.
Read more

Blink and you'll miss it: what the budget did for working mums
Working mothers get something in the budget, but not much, and not for long. Before the budget the second earner in a couple with young children (usually the mother) lost almost all of the income she made working for the second, third, forth and fifth days per week. It might be why many mothers work only one or two days per week.
Read more


29 Nov 2020



A spike in incidents: What makes Zoom meetings and virtual workplaces so ripe for harassment?
Since COVID-19, there’s been an 87% increase in adult cyber abuse reports in Australia, compared to the 2019 monthly average. Of those victims, 66% were female. Most abuse consists of being sent unwanted messages, receiving inappropriate content such as pornography or violent content, or being electronically tracked without consent. What is it about the virtual meeting that makes it so ripe for abuse?
Read more

Workplace harassment making headlines
There have been a number of high profile sexual harassment cases in the news recently and interestingly the combination of Coronavirus, working from home and the recent cases are encouraging more workplace sexual harassment complaints. Victoria’s equal opportunity Commissioner has reported that sexual harassment complaints are up about 8 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia. It appears that working from home and the distance from the office this creates as well as being separated from the alleged perpetrator has seen an increase in the number of historic complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Read more

REMINDER: Minimum wage increase for some awards from 1 Nov 2020
Following the Fair Work Commission's (FWC) Annual Wage Review decision on Friday 19 June 2020 (see our earlier article here), the modern award minimum wages for Group 2 modern awards will increase by 1.75 per cent from 1 November 2020. A list of the Group 2 modern awards is set out at the end of this article.
Read more

Private school's stand down invalidated
Many employers have sought to stand down parts of their workforce without pay in response to the changing environment created by COVID-19. Strict requirements apply to do so validly under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). The recent Peninsula Grammar School decision demonstrates the Fair Work Commission’s approach of invalidating stand downs based on a mere reduction in available work.
Read more

Latest guidance on COVID-safe workplaces and transition planning
As COVID-19 restrictions ease across Australia, Comcare has developed guidance to help employers support workers as they transition back to usual workplaces.
Read more

Industrial manslaughter charge laid against Gympie business owner
The independent Work Health and Safety Prosecutor, Mr Aaron Guilfoyle, has commenced an industrial manslaughter prosecution against the owner of a Gympie business which sells and services electric motors.
Read more

VIC: $20,000 fine for inadequate contractor induction after aged care resident burned
A residential aged care facility owner/operator failed, so far as was reasonably practicable, to ensure that catering contractors were sufficiently inducted at the workplace so they knew, should an emergency arise where the emergency/call buttons were located.
Read more

Let's Talk: Diversity
A variety of Australian business leaders talk about creating a diverse and inclusive culture in their workplaces.
Read more

Here's something you may not have heard recently: it's okay to struggle with working from home.
Between juggling work, family life and tertiary study all in the same physical place, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The change to your schedule – particularly when you’re used to going into the office – can also stir a self-inflicted pressure to continue performing full-steam ahead. Sounding all too familiar? You're not alone.
Read more


22 October 2020

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in keeping Australian Workplaces Safe
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, most Australian businesses were looking into ways to use artificial intelligence in the workplace, mainly to increase productivity and streamline operations. Now, companies are also searching for ways to ensure their workers’ health using AI monitoring.
Read more

Humanizing work post-COVID - get radical, share more and go deeper, says Gartner
Forget about work/life balance, the new relationship between employees and employers is far closer, yet more flexible. Gartner’s Brian Kropp pitches the drivers behind a post-COVID change.
Read more

The Restrictions of a Non-Compete Clause
While not all employment contracts will contain non-compete or confidentiality clauses, those businesses that deal with intellectual property and other sensitive proprietary information may include these clauses in their employment contracts. These clauses are legal if they are crafted properly and protect a legitimate business interest. However, a non-compete clause or confidentiality requirement cannot be overly burdensome on the employee. If it is found to be overly restrictive the Courts will most likely find it is invalid.
Read more

An independent review of the temporary JobKeeper provisions of the Fair Work Act has been released.
The Government engaged Nous Group to conduct this review. Nous Group consulted with employer and employee representatives, as well as the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission. They also used relevant survey and other data on the use and impact of the temporary amendments.
Read more

"Reasonable Notice" Sounds innocuous but can be expensive
It is a trite proposition that employment contracts are important. One key benefit of having an applicable employment contract in place governing an employment relationship is that the notice an employer is required to give to the employee to terminate employment is, subject to the minimum legislative requirements in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the period specified in that contract. As a general proposition, the specified periods of notice in employment contracts are rarely more than 6 months (usually for senior executives) and more commonly between 1 and 3 months.
Read more

Is a safety regulator’s enforcement notice always valid? Not if the notice was issued ‘under dictation’
Organisations should carefully review the context in which enforcement notices are issued by safety regulators, following a finding by the NSW Ombudsman that SafeWork NSW inspectors, who did not hold a ‘reasonable belief’ of safety contraventions, unlawfully issued enforcement notices to the Blue Mountains City Council (Council) in 2017 and 2018.
Read more

It’s time for #wetoo – Why a cultural hashtag must be embedded into our workplace, domestic and everyday culture
There’s a terrible statistic from 2019 that shows one in every nine workers reported being bullied at work. Australian bullying prevention organisation Bully Zero crunched the numbers on this workplace issue, and reported that one in three women and one in five men with mental health disorders cite bullying and harassment as the main reason for their ill health, and that in 85% of bullying cases, peers are present as onlookers.
Read more

How to Manage and Dismiss an Employee with a Physical Injury
As a business owner, you will probably need to manage an employee with a physical illness or injury at some point. While handling these situations, you will need to navigate the employee’s legal entitlements and consider the risks of dismissing an injured employee. You should ultimately seek an outcome that: is beneficial for you and the employee; and avoids the potential for the employee to make a legal claim.
Read more

15th October 2020

Privacy and Discrimination concerns with Online Meetings
The way we communicate with our colleagues, customers and suppliers has changed. COVID-19 and the subsequent move en masse to working from home has triggered a sharp increase in the use of the online meeting and with it comes heightened privacy and discrimination concerns.
Read more

Dismissal by SMS or email may not be unlawful – but it’s extremely unwise
Sometimes, it is not possible to communicate face-to-face with employees about significant matters. For instance, if an employee is absent and there is a need to proceed with consulting about an organisational restructure or investigating alleged misconduct, electronic communications may be necessary. Even in an organisation where information between employers and employees is regularly conveyed electronically, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) expects notice of dismissal to be delivered face-to-face.
Read more

Secondary injuries under the Workers Compensation Act
Unfortunately, for some workers, they not only suffer a single injury at work but will sometimes develop a further injury as a result of that injury. These latter injuries, also known as a 'Secondary Injuries,' while not always sustained at work, can still entitle workers to compensation entitlements.
Read more

Don’t Forget to Include These in Your Employment Contract
Employment contracts are legal documents that are crucial for employers as well as employees. A strong, watertight employment contract, compliant with current employment legislation, can protect employers from potential lawsuits and keep employees from breaching the terms.
Read more

Western Power signs Enforceable Undertaking
Western Australian electricity network provider Western Power has back-paid employees more than $8 million, and is reporting to the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure it correctly calculates and finalises further significant back-payments.
Read more

Online directory business in court for underpayment of wages
A Fair Work Inspector issued a Compliance Notice in February this year after forming a belief that the company had underpaid five employees for periods of work between June and August, 2019. Three of the employees were young workers. The inspector believed that four of the employees were paid no wages at all, while the other was not paid for all hours worked, resulting in underpayment of wages and leave entitlements under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010.
Read more

Adverse action and the direction to attend medical assessments
The Federal Circuit Court confirms that employers can direct an employee to attend an Independent Medical Assessment (IMA), even when an employee is absent from work on personal leave and that the exercise of a workplace right does not include the right not to work. This was confirmed by the Court in May 2018, but it is becoming an important issue for some employers as some employees are resistant to returning to work on-site after working from home for months on end.
Read more


1 Oct 2020



How did the Australian businesses perform amid COVID-19 pandemic?
Most of the factors from the AlphaBeta research have showed that Australian businesses have become a lot more technology resilient, having a lot bigger improvement in a year than in the last 10 years combined. Productivity in the workplace was mixed depending on the employee, so businesses will need to do further research and see what brings more money, staying at home or working back from the office.
Read more

The silent epidemic: 8 out of 10 Aussie workers feel ‘unsafe to share struggles’ during COVID-19
A new report into workplace wellbeing during COVID-19 has revealed a significant portion of Australian workers haven’t felt safe to share their struggles with others in the work environment. The report by global positive psychology experts The Wellbeing Lab and Australia’s peak human resources industry body AHRI, has found eight out of ten Australian workers reported feeling ‘unsafe sharing their struggles at work’.
Read more

Have we just stumbled on the biggest productivity increase of the century?
One of the most striking responses to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the sudden shift of around half the workforce to working at home. In many cases, this was combined with an equally sudden shift to home schooling. Contrary to what might have been expected, working from home was one part of the pandemic response that went remarkably smoothly. Most kinds of office work continued almost as if nothing had changed. Discussion of the crisis has mostly worked on the assumption that a return to something like the pre-crisis “normal” is both inevitable and desirable.
Read more

HESTA, fund managers use $1 trillion stake to lobby for female executives
A major industry superannuation fund has teamed up with fund managers responsible for more than $1 trillion to lobby Australia's 200 biggest businesses to hire women in at least 40 per cent of executive jobs.
Read more

Hit jobs trigger on the supply side
The Treasurer's 'comfortably under 6 per cent' unemployment trigger for budget repair won't be hit without the supply-side IR and tax structural reform heavy lifting needed to promote job creation.
Read more

Australian manufacturers to receive $1.5 billion from Morrison government
Australian manufacturers across six priority areas will receive more help to expand in high-value areas through an almost $1.5 billion budget boost. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will outline the coalition's manufacturing strategy at the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday.
Read more

Australia's award system: still modern, or set for more change?
The issue of Australian employers miscalculating wages and other entitlements is on the minds of businesses, with the prospect of criminal penalties being raised by the federal government in September 2019 and the Victorian and Queensland state governments recently passing wage theft legislation. The number of companies reporting miscalculations continues to grow, and may indicate that Australia's award system is too complex. Many companies looking to do business in Australia ask about the minimum payment obligations they must comply with, and the answer is often far more complicated than the question. But that might be about to change.
Read more


9 September 2020



The new challenge for bosses: spy or trust?
What happens to privacy in a world where there is no physical boundary between professional and private life?
Read more

Will The 3+2 “Hybrid” Workplace Of Home And Office Become The New Norm For Business?
A growing body of research from BCG, Gallup and others indicates a large majority of the workers forced to abandon their offices by the viral pandemic are content working from home. In fact, many want to continue doing so after the Covid-19 threat subsides. Interestingly, parallel research indicates most employers seem satisfied with the new working arrangements. If some employees want to work from home part of the time after their offices reopen, most employers (perhaps as many as 80%, according to preliminary data compiled by my BCG colleagues) seem okay with that.
Read more

Right to toilet break a relief for employees
In the recent decision of Retail and Fast Food Workers Union Incorporated v Tantex Holdings Pty Ltd [2020] FCA 1258, an Aus­tralian court (namely the Federal Court) has, for the first time, held that employees have a workplace right to use the toilet and drink water while at work.
Read more

HR's modern-day role needs examining
HR has never been more intimately aligned with business objectives. This is generally seen as a good thing. However, in at least one regard, there is a glaring problem that is not adequately addressed within this arrangement, and that is employee complaint procedures.
Read more

Inappropriate Workplace Relationships: The "McUnhappy Meal"
The former CEO of McDonald’s is being sued by McDonald’s to recover his $US 40m termination package for allegedly lying about his relationships with other employees, which highlights the risks of failing to manage employees having inappropriate workplace relationships.
Read more

Australia's real JobKiller? Its outdated workplace system
The grim prospect of prolonged unemployment must finally produce an overhaul of the industrial relations system to make it easier to hire and invest in people in the post-COVID world.
Read more

Extended Stand Down Powers Under JobKeeper 2.0
Further to our JobKeeper 2.0 update, the new Part 6-4C of the Fair Work Act has been extended to operate until 28 March 2021. This temporary provision authorizes employers who continue to be eligible for JobKeeper to exercise more flexible powers to stand down employees who cannot be usefully employed for their normal days or hours because of changes to the business attributable to: the COVID-19 pandemic; or government initiatives to slow the transmission of COVID-19.
Read more

The future of outsourcing in the aftermath of COVID-19
COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the traditional outsourcing model. As the world finds a ‘new normal’, key learnings from the pandemic are likely to shape the way organisations approach their outsourcing arrangements into the future.
Read more

Managing a Team During Lockdown
As Brené Brown stated, "The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome."
Read more


2nd Sept 2020



Keeping up the fight for equal pay
Gender wage gaps remain highly resistant to change: the most recent figures from the OECD show an average gap of 13 per cent across OECD countries in 2018, only a marginal improvement on the average gap of 15 per cent recorded 10 years earlier in 2008. This is in spite of increasingly high education levels among women.
Read more

When offices reopen, expect resurgence of dreaded hot-desking
Most office workers now dream of weeks in which they can choose to come into an office as and when they please. A recent study from strategy firms Iometrics and Global Workplace Analytics found that two days a week was the most popular choice when staff were surveyed on how often they would like to work from home. However there is a catch...
Read more

Exploited: HR manager's apology 'meaningless'
A South Australian convenience store chain has been ordered to pay a low-paid trainee employee almost $65,000 in penalties. The chain had used various tactics that resulted in him being underpaid, including working without pay for regular short periods each shift and not being paid penalty rates for overtime.
Read more

Why every workplace needs a Mental Health Critical Incident Protocol
With mental illness on the rise due to COVID-19, employers need to implement a plan to care for their employees. This includes a Mental Health Critical Incident Protocol – a guide to managing serious mental health incidents in the workplace.
Read more

Women worked an extra 59 days to earn the same as their male colleagues
The new national gender pay gap for the six months to May 2020 is 14.0%. Equal Pay Day, on 28 August, marked the 59 additional days Australian women worked to earn the same as men in the same year.
Read more

Dismissing a long-term employee for a safety breach: Key considerations for employers
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has upheld the dismissal of an employee with 30 years' service and a satisfactory safety record after the employee breached a key safety protocol in which he had received adequate training. The Full Bench's recent decision highlights key considerations that employers must turn their minds to before terminating an employee's employment for breaching safety protocols.
Read more

Remote workforces – a popular fad but kryptonite for culture
In these late Covid-19 times, telecommuting and working remotely is as popular as a Dua Lipa single but is it sustainable for professional services firms? Or will the world’s infatuation with virtual workplaces have all the endurance of a Zsa Zsa Gabor marriage?
Read more

A Serious Win for Casual Employees and a Warning to Employers
A decision by the Fair Work Commission has opened the door for casual employees to bring unfair dismissal claims against their employers.
Read more

26th August 2020



AMP's 'MeToo' moment raises bigger questions for corporate Australia about sexual harassment
If financial services giant AMP really wants to change its culture, there's no need to keep updating the handbook on diversity and inclusion — it should start listening to its women.
Read more

Workplaces are turning to devices to monitor social distancing, but does the tech respect privacy?
As we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, those of us who still have a workplace may not recognize it. Businesses, eager to limit liability for employees and customers, are considering a variety of emerging technologies for limiting pandemic spread.
Read more

Hundreds of university staff vote to take unprotected strike
A group called the National Higher Education Action Network, which includes disaffected members of the National Tertiary Education Union from universities around the country, held a Zoom meeting on Monday afternoon that endorsed the motion to strike.
Read more

Company fined $60,000 over bee sting death
A mining contractor has been fined $60,000 over the death of a contractor who suffered a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.
Read more

SA supermarket group facing class action over claims it underpaid staff by nearly $20m
One of South Australia's largest independent retail groups has been accused of wage theft that could amount to $20 million in total underpayments to at least 500 employees. Current and former employees of Romeo's Retail Group have launched a class action in the Federal Court over allegations dating back to 2014.
Read more

Half of Aussie employees are hesitant to go back to workplaces any time soon
The coronavirus pandemic has potentially changed the way Australians work forever, with new research showing at least half of the nation's professional population are still hesitant to return to a physical workplace any time soon.
Read more

Disturbing conversation between employer and QBE insurance over workers compensation revealed
An investigation into the handling of workers compensation claims by one of the country’s biggest insurers, QBE, gives a rare insight into practices including altered evidence, doctor shopping and missing files.
Read more

'Egregious disrespect': University vice-chancellor sexually harassed colleagues, ICAC finds
South Australia's Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) has found former University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen committed "serious misconduct" by sexually harassing two women.
Read more

Are you using the correct version of the Fair Work Information Statement that must be provided to all employees under the NES?
On 13 August 2020, the High Court handed down a decision about the method of accruing and taking paid personal/carer’s leave under the National Employment Standards. The High Court found that the entitlement to 10 days of personal/carer’s leave is calculated based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work, not days. The 10 days of personal leave can be calculated as 1/26 of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year.
Read more

Employment Law Update: Jobkeeper 2.0
Key dates and conditions for employers who wish to claim JobKeeper since the announcement of the extended JobKeeper Payment scheme.
Read more


19th August 2020



Condonation costs employer who had valid reason
In another case confirming the laws of condonation, the Fair Work Commission has determined that an abusive worker was unfairly dismissed, even though he had a history of aggression which led to another employee resigning out of fear of the worker.
Read more

High Court calculation of personal/carer’s leave: a win for employers
The High Court has overturned the Full Federal Court’s controversial decision in Mondelez v AMWU [2019] FCAFC 138, about the meaning of a ‘day’ for the purposes of personal/carer’s leave entitlements under section 96 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA).
Read more

Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Providing equipment to make a workplace safe is simply not enough. Employees need to be told how to use it most beneficially for them and to be reminded of what they have to do, if and when reasonably practicable.
Read more

Why consultation is important when downsizing – even during the pandemic
If you retrench employees in response to a downturn in business flowing from the current pandemic, you need to consider your unfair dismissal exposure.
Read more

Working from home to avoid a toxic workplace?
One in five workers in Australia are affected by mental health issues, and factors that indicate the mental health and wellbeing is not being prioritised within an organisation include "high levels of turnover, absenteeism and sick leave, and conflicts in the workplace such as bullying".
Read more

One Stop Warehouse former HR manager accuses company of underpaying staff
A former human resources manager for Australia's biggest solar panel distributor is accusing the company of underpaying its staff.
Read more

Low-paid, young women: the grim truth about who this recession is hitting hardest
When a recession hits, no group of workers is immune. But some are harder hit than others. The latest labour market figures are giving us a good idea of who is being hardest hit this time.
Read more


5 August 2020



Government moves on paid pandemic leave
The federal government will provide $1500 a fortnight in paid pandemic leave for Victorian workers who have run out of sick leave as they deal with the coronavirus. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the two-week “disaster payment” would be based on the model put in place by the Victorian government.
Read more

Former ACTU boss says workers have shouldered enough pandemic costs
The unionist who led workers through the Hawke and Keating era reforms that modernised Australia's economy and underpinned years of economic growth has warned Australia's workers have already shouldered their fair share of the costs of the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more

Corporate watchdog call to book 'regular' casual liabilities
Companies must calculate how much they owe in leave and other entitlements to "regular" casuals under new guidance from the corporate regulator that may hit the aged-care sector and other struggling employers in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has advised corporations they should now calculate annual leave and redundancy pay owed to current and former casuals who worked regular and predictable shifts, as well as contingent liabilities for borderline cases, in their next financial statement.
Read more

Working from home can stifle sexual harassment complaints
People working from home during the pandemic are more vulnerable to bullying and harassment, with legal researchers warning the high cost of litigation is also stifling complaints. Associate Professor Dominique Allen and Adriana Orifici from the Monash University Business School said working from home has made it more difficult for workplaces to detect sexual harassment. There were fewer opportunities for incidental observation of inappropriate behaviour and early intervention by supervisors or bystanders during online communication.
Read more

Superannuation Guarantee Charge Amnesty – Time is almost up!
The looming deadline of 7 September 2020 is the last opportunity to secure the compulsory Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) Amnesty. First introduced on 6 March 2020, the amnesty window closes in mere weeks. Who can benefit? All employers, including small employer companies where the only compulsory super is for the benefit of the owner.
Read more

Workplace Massage Justifies Summary Dismissal says FWC
The Fair Work Commission (the “FWC”) has found that a massage justified summary dismissal in circumstances where a small contract cleaning company discovered that its employee had, some five months earlier, agreed to help a school teacher with her back pain.
Read more

KPMG excluded from industrial relations summit after allegedly leaking details
KPMG has been excluded from the government’s industrial relations consultations after publishing a discussion paper that was deemed a leak from the secret talks.
Read more

Why it’s time to talk about racism in the workplace
COVID-19 has unquestionably turned our professional lives upside down, but is it really the reason we aren’t talking about racism at work? Do we think our workplaces are immune to racism?
Read more


29 July 2020



Scott Morrison opens door to paid pandemic leave for workers needing to self-isolate
Workers could gain the right to paid leave to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic after Scott Morrison revealed he had asked the industrial relations minister to discuss it with unions and business.
Read more

Responding to employees who use domestic and family violence
Male Champions of Change, with the support of key partners, has developed a new resource to guide organisations in responding to employees who may use domestic and family violence.
Read more

Google Employees Will Continue Working From Home Until July 2021
As Google joins a growing list of companies allowing employees to continue working from home, it raises the question: is COVID-19 the end of the office space?
Read more

Companies with women in the boardroom perform better
The correlation between having women in leadership and strong economic performance has been conclusively established at long last by Australian researchers. Businesses that appointed female CEOs in the last six years have upped their market value by five percent.
Read more

Small business ombudsman calls for new and simpler award for employee pay and conditions
The pay and conditions of small business employees should be set by a new and simpler award with a “permaflexi” classification for casual staff to receive benefits such as sick pay, according to the small and family business ombudsman.
Read more

Victoria shows coronavirus is a pandemic of casual, insecure work
The pandemic has exposed the public health shortcomings of the massive growth of insecure work over the past few decades. "The culture of going to work sick is killing people," a workers' rights advocate says.
Read more

What is and isn't workplace bullying
When Rebekah was accused of bullying, she wasn't surprised. She had attempted to performance-manage a team member, and it hadn't gone well.
Read more

What you can do if your office isn't adopting coronavirus-safe practices
As some of us contemplate a return to office-based work, employers and employees are facing a completely new work landscape to the one they left before the coronavirus outbreak. Let's take a look at what workplaces are required to do to be COVID-safe — and what employees can do if their office isn't complying with the guidelines..
Read more


22 July 2020



What we lose with the end of office culture
Some four or more months in, many workers around the world have fully adjusted—some happily, others less so—to working from home. Temporary couch setups have been replaced by standup desks and ergonomic chairs and proper home offices with the longer term in mind. The bookshelves are Zoom-ready; terms with family members turned office mates have been negotiated. But while the aesthetics and dynamics of our post-pandemic work life may be satisfactory enough, maybe even somewhat pleasurable—the commute is certainly a time-saver—the end of conventional work life won’t come without some cost.
Read more

Working from home? Til death do us part
On a winter’s day in 2010, Michel Carroll and her partner, Steven Hill, were working from home. They were employed by a family company which provided financial advice. On that fateful day, Ms Carroll was killed by Mr Hill. The attack was brought on by a paranoid delusion, associated with Ms Carroll's work.
Read more

Calls for paid pandemic leave are growing after 80% of Victorian coronavirus cases were linked to the workplace
It’s a concerning admission less than a month after the country had looked like containing the virus. As businesses try to remain open and the federal government tries to kickstart an economic recovery, high workplace transmission will remain a key obstacle. To overcome it, Australia’s unions are calling for workers to be given scope to stay home.
Read more

Victoria Police Face Mask Enforcement in Workplaces
With the requirement that Melbourne workers must wear face masks from 23 July, Victoria Police will be conducting an inspection and enforcement blitz at workplaces across the State. The Premier has indicated that there will be a particular focus on high risk workplaces, including distribution centres, call centres and meat processing centres..
Read more

What is FWO prioritising for year ahead?
The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced the regulator’s strategic priorities for the year ahead, which include supporting all workplaces through the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing large corporate underpayments.
Read more

The list of 50 best places to work in Australia in 2020 has been released
The list was chosen by global workplace research and consulting firm, Great Place to Work. It was done between September 2019 and June 2020 – including when COVID hit – and took into account more than 39,000 Aussie based workers across 124 companies.
Read more

How building your employees’ financial confidence shows you care
Lali Wiratunga, national manager of Westpac’s financial education experts, the Davidson Institute, shares some tips to better understand the importance of improving your employees’ financial confidence and where help is available.
Read more

Millions of Australian workers say they will still come to work with coronavirus symptoms
Millions of Australians are still showing up to work with coronavirus symptoms despite pleas for them to stay home, a survey has found.
Read more

NSW urged to take its hand off the anti-slavery law 'pause button'
Catholic lawyers have accused the state government of stalling the start of anti-slavery laws that would force it to confront the risk of forced labour in its own supply chains.
Read more

The real reason Lee Lin Chin left SBS
Former SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin says she left broadcaster due to ‘mistreatment of staff’. Her decision to publicly rebuke SBS management follows revelations by other former staffers that they suffered racism in the workplace.
Read more


15th July 2020



Truly family-friendly workplaces are key to economic recovery
The chasm between how Australians combine work and home life is no longer invisible and the current crisis has exposed the heart of the issues that are holding back progress.
Read more

Retailers spared wage scrutiny as they battle “financial strain”
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker has announced the regulator’s strategic priorities for the year ahead, which include supporting all workplaces through the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing large corporate underpayments.
Read more

Report into gig economy reveals human cost of insecure work
Rates of gig economy work have been increasing, and this type of work is just one part of the expansion of insecure work in Australia according to the damning findings of a landmark report into the so-called gig economy in Victoria released today and welcomed by the ACTU.
Read more

Employers have been put on notice – sexual harassment is an occupational hazard
There has been a shift in recognising the role work health and safety regulators should play by using their existing powers to prevent sexual harassment, and the harm it causes, from ever taking place.
Read more

‘Toxic’ legal workplaces must be tackled collectively
Last week, over 500 female legal professionals wrote to Attorney-General Christian Porter, calling on the government to “seize the moment” and establish a complaints body operating independently of the judiciary. Elsewhere, it has been argued that law firms need to be taking more proactive steps to combat such misconduct.
Read more

Avoid Work Burnout With These Science-Backed Tips
If you’re struggling to switch off from work even if the day’s over and you’re headed to bed, it’s a telling sign you’re struggling to achieve work-life balance. To help your overall well-being, here are some tips to avoid a burnout without disrupting your professional life.
Read more

There's serious talk about a "job guarantee", but it's not that straightforward
Suddenly, the idea of a “job guarantee” is back in vogue. The idea is that the government would make an unconditional job offer at a minimum wage to anyone willing and able to work. There would be no need for the Newstart unemployment benefit (now called JobSeeker).
Read more

Teleworkability in Australia: 41% of full-time and 35% of part-time jobs can be done from home
Victoria’s outbreak of COVID-19 infections, with 75 more cases identified overnight on top of 173 cases the previous five days, underlines the need to stick with social distancing measures wherever possible. Working at home, in particular.
Read more


8th July 2020



When and How to Report Sexual Harassment at Work
When you start a new job, you’ll probably be instructed to go to Human Resources (HR) if you ever experience any sort of harassment at work — but this path hasn’t always been the most useful for employees. In fact, according to a new survey from Zenefits, one out of five workers do not trust their HR departments, and more than one-third of respondents say that they avoid going to HR for any problems at all, at least partially because they fear retaliation.
Read more

CBA and Our Watch provide free domestic and family violence workplace resources
Commonwealth Bank has partnered with Our Watch, a national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia, to provide employers across the country with access to free online resources to help support employees experiencing domestic and family violence.
Read more

Secrets and lies and denials in Australia’s High Court
Who knew there was this tiny pocket in the High Court of Australia’s administration so bereft of accountability or due process? A lot of people, as it turns out, especially female lawyers ...
Read more

Gartner Survey Shows CFOs Will Make More Cost Cuts in 2020
A Gartner, Inc. survey of 103 CFOs and senior finance leaders taken at the end of May, 2020* revealed that CFOs will continue to scale back spending by 4% to 11% across their selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) functions for 2020.
Read more

How can government lead the reskilling revolution?
COVID-19 has in many ways refocused attention on the need for digital skills and capabilities. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, especially automation, across all sectors. While transformation creates efficiencies, it also reinforces the need to reskill large numbers of the workforce. And while globally, Australia performs well on digital literacy capabilities, a significant portion of the population still does not have access to digital services or digital literacy skills.
Read more

Australian National University embroiled in harassment claim against New Zealand academic
The Australian National University is embroiled in a trans-Tasman dispute with Auckland University of Technology over an alleged case of sexual harassment. The case involves a senior New Zealand academic, who is accused of harassing a more junior Australian based colleague over a number of years, mostly by text.
Read more


1 July 2020



Effecting workplace policy changes: Do I need to consult my employees?
The decision of Hastings v Toll Transport Pty Ltd (Review and Regulation) [2020] VCAT 135 (Hastings) highlights the importance of employers consulting their employees when effecting organisational change.
Read more

One in four international students earn less than half the minimum wage
More than three-quarters of international students earn below the minimum casual wage and one in four earns less than $12 an hour – less than half the minimum casual hourly rate. A study of 5000 international students in 2019 by the University of NSW and the University of Technology Sydney has found almost two thirds (62 per cent) suffered in silence and did not try to access help or even seek information about their problems.
Read more

When you haven’t yet found your career path
If you’ve woken up one day with the sudden realisation that you’re in the wrong job, you’re not alone. It’s remarkably easy to jump aboard a career juggernaut and hurtle down the wrong road, arriving far from where you ever hoped to be. The good news is that in today’s career landscape, the only constant is change. And it’s easier than ever before to alter your course.
Read more

Pandemic leave extended, but unions lose bid to end changes for admin workers
The Australian Services Union has vowed to target every business that has reduced hours for administrative workers after the national industrial tribunal agreed to extend the arrangement in a win for employers.
Read more

Record-keeping: The new normal for fair pay
As companies strive to address staff underpayment, the return to the humble timesheet could be an easy solution. But are the employees of the digital age happy to clock on again?
Read more

72% of Australians have been sexually harassed. The system we have to fix this problem is set up to fail
We know that sexual harassment is unlawful. So why do we still keep hearing these appalling stories? Despite all the measures we have put in place, we are not fixing the problem. We are refusing to acknowledge the truth: Australia has a sexual harassment system that is set up to fail at the very thing it is intended to do – eradicate sexual harassment.
Read more

Victoria ready to go it alone on workplace laws for the gig economy
Victoria is poised to draft its own workplace laws to protect gig economy workers, as new research finds up to a million Australians worked in the sector in the past 12 months.
Read more

80% of labour hire firms breaking workplace laws
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has recovered $563,680 for 1,337 employees following a major audit. The audit of 63 labour hire employers in the building sector found only 21 per cent were upholding all of their workplace payment regulations. Most employers fell short when it came to keeping proper records, providing pay slips and paying workers correctly. Wage underpayment was the largest problem, with 64 per cent short-changing workers.
Read more

24 June 2020


Full Bench of the Federal Court confirms long term casual employment is not all it seems
In the recent decision of Workpac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84[1] (Rossato), the Full Bench of the Federal Court of Australia (Court) confirmed that annual leave, compassionate leave and personal leave is payable to employees who have been incorrectly regarded by employers as long-term casuals. The decision has confirmed the risks of employing ‘long term’ casual employees and the consequent potential exposure to substantial historical claims.
Read more

WorkCover sues AFP over systemic bullying and harassment
WorkCover has taken the unusual step of suing the Australian Federal Police (AFP) concerning alledged bullying of a staff member over many years by senior manager Julie Drummond. If successful, the suit could mean employers may face increased liability for injuries caused by workplace bullies if they fail to act on complaints of bullying.
Read more

Key changes to NSW health and safety laws
On 4 June 2020, a bill to amend the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (Act) passed the NSW Parliament. The Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2020 (Bill) was assented to on 10 June and the changes have now commenced..
Read more

Workplace apps update for the post-COVID office
As COVID-19 forces companies to rethink their office space and culture, workplaces apps are adapting to include new features and information.
Read more

Working from home during coronavirus pandemic causing a spike in chiropractic injuries
Working from the kitchen table or bench during the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on Australian necks, shoulders and backs. Chiropractors across the country began noticing an increase in work-related injuries within two weeks of the start of the lockdown.
Read more

Employees must legally return from JobKeeper
The JobKeeper scheme has confused many employers and business owners since it was introduced, and now the confusion centres around asking employees to return to the workplace, mainly due to people’s coronavirus Health & Safety concerns.
Read more

How To Stay Safe When You Go Back To The Office
Before you go back to your place of work, your employer must be able to ensure your safety. Here are the questions you should ask before heading back to your desk:
Read more

Companies may think they’re safe from wage theft but they should think again
Although COVID-19 has dominated the headlines and presented far more pressing challenges to corporate Australia, it is a mistake to think that the ‘wage theft saga’ is a thing of the past.
Read more

Landmark Victorian legislation makes wage theft punishable with 10 years' jail
Employers who dishonestly withhold wages, superannuation or other employee entitlements could be fined up to $198,264 for individuals, $991,320 for companies and be sentenced to up to 10 years' jail.
Read more

Expanded Coverage of the Miscellaneous Modern Award
The Miscellaneous Award 2020 has historically had limited relevance for most businesses. The Award has not covered employees covered by an occupational award, or employees of employers covered by an industry award, even if those employees did not fall within one of the classifications in that industry award. From 1 July 2020 however, the scope of the Award will change following a determination of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission.
Read more

10 June 2020



Is ageism in the workplace making a pandemic comeback?
As some return to the work – and others continue to face unemployment – we take a look at perils of age discrimination and perception of vulnerability in the post-AOVID-19 workplace.
Read more

Labor seeks to stop 'job cuts' at Australia Post
Labor will move to overturn regulatory changes made by the Morrison government that the opposition warns are a potential precursor to job and wage cuts at Australia Post.
Read more

How Denmark broke the mould on industrial relations
Denmark's 'flexicurity' creates 21st-century workplaces that combine free market efficiency with equity.
Read more

Is it fair for a casual employee to have annual leave? What unions and business want from Scott Morrison
Innes Willox and Sally McManus discuss the government’s attempt to reach a consensus with unions and employers on industrial relations reform.
Read more

COVID-19 workers compensation loophole closed for nurses, paramedics and other essential workers
Nurses, paramedics, teachers and other essential workers will no longer have to prove they were infected with COVID-19 at work to make a workers compensation claim.
Read more

Employees beware – former employee’s social media posts prevent own claim succeeding
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has highlighted one of social media’s many pitfalls by allowing an employer to rely on a former employee’s posts to defeat a general protections application.
Read more

Managing a health crisis from an HR perspective
As companies begin to start relocating back into the office, it is crucial that HR teams have a comprehensive plan in place that focuses on both safety and utility. Managing health and safety is paramount, and providing employees with a workplace where they feel both physically and psychologically safe will enhance the engagement and productivity of employees.
Read more


3 June 2020



June is Workplace Giving Month
Find out why workplace giving is a win-win-win for businesses, employees and charities.
Read more

Coronavirus means changes for your workplace — and the commute to get there
Working from home was a big adjustment for many, for others it was a huge upheaval. Now, as the prospect of returning to workplaces approaches — in some states sooner than others — other big changes are on the way. How will your workplace and commute be different? What should your boss be doing to prepare? And are they responsible if you get sick?
Read more

Australia's industrial relations system 'needs repair not replacement'
Is the industrial relations system really a major problem? And does "industrial relations reform" offer any solution to the massive decline in jobs and work opportunities sparked by the COVID-19 crisis, or a path to greater productivity and economic recovery?
Read more

Workplace reform is now firmly back on the table
The challenge now falls on the union movement to support lasting structural change that will drive jobs in the new post-virus world.
Read more

Victorian employers must keep workers at home, or risk $10,000 fines
New Stay Safe Directions and Restricted Activity Directions took effect in Victoria on Monday, replacing the ‘five reasons to leave home’ with a broader directive that Victorians can leave home for any reason, subject to certain restrictions. One of these restrictions is that a person should only leave home and return to the workplace if it’s not reasonably practicable for them to work from home, or from another suitable location. For the first time, the directions also explicitly require employers to keep employees out of the workplace.
Read more

Victoria flags gradual return to workplaces from July if control over coronavirus is maintained
Victorians may be able to go back to the office in a "staggered return" from July, if the state is able to keep control over the coronavirus pandemic, Premier Daniel Andrews has said.
Read more

Strike a grand workplace bargain
An IR reform deal is possible if employers gain control over flexible work practices in exchange for workers gaining higher pay and more secure jobs.
Read more

Experts predict what it’ll take to find a job in a post-COVID-19 world
Business leaders to share their inside perspective on how the COVID-19 era is transforming their industries. Here’s what’s been lost—and what could be gained—in the new world order.
Read more

Returning to work under COVIDSafe workplace plans
Industry specific COVID-19 guidance has also now been published on the Safe Work Australia (SWA) website. In order to comply with their work health and safety obligations, employers will need to access this information and undertake risk assessments to develop their COVIDSafe Workplace Plan in preparation for employees and other workers, including clients and visitors, being able to return