Employment Law Developments – 2021: Part 1

DEVELOPMENT 1:  IR Omnibus Bill The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Act 2021 (“the Amendment Act”) received royal assent on Friday 26 March 2021. The Amendment Act seeks to resolve and clarify the uncertainty surrounding casual employment arising out of two major 2020 Full Federal Court decisions[1]  dealing with the substantive … Read more

COVID-19, Business Downturn & Unlawful Stand downs

The recent decision of Buttress v Preston James 1 Pty Ltd (2020) reads as a caution to employers considering a stand-down under section 524 of the Fair Work Act (“the Act”), for COVID-19 related business downturns, this is particularly now where circumstances appear to be on the up. Background: Ms Buttress (the Applicant) commenced her … Read more

2020 Employer Takeaways

Following the unpredictable and complex nature of the 2020 employment landscape, our office has compiled some ‘best practice tips’ to help employers venture into the new year with confidence and understanding. TIP 1: Save money in the long run by investigating employee concerns Failing to investigate employee concerns can be costly. One employer learned this … Read more

Federal Court rules that Qantas aircraft engineers stand-downs was reasonable

Case: Qantas Airways Ltd v Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (No 3) [2020] FCA 1428 Qantas Airways have had a significant win against the unions this week with the Federal Court ruling that the airlines decision to stand down hundreds of aircraft engineers without pay during the COVID-19 pandemic was due to no fault of the airline. … Read more

Don’t Cough in the Nurse’s Face

This is a case note on when a cough during COVID-19 can lead to an unfair dismissal? See: Hooshmand v Cater Care Australia Operations Pty Ltd [2020] FWC 4371 On 27 March 2020, as the risk of a COVID-19 pandemic in Australia became heightened, Mr Hooshmand (‘the employee’) arrived to work for Catering Care Operations … Read more

Sorry Not Sorry! Employer Protection for Apologies and Expressions of Regret

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act) establishes a workers’ compensation scheme for Queensland – providing benefits for workers who sustain an injury in their employment. The Act outlines employers’ obligation to be covered against liability for compensation and damages either under a WorkCover insurance policy or under a licence as a self-insurer.[1] … Read more

Understanding JobKeeper Enabling Direction

JobKeeper is a wage subsidy scheme designed to help keep Australian in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant impact of COVID-19. The scheme is governed by the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020 and associated rules. What is a ‘jobkeeper enabling direction’? The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No. … Read more

‘Casual chaos’ – Federal Court redefines ‘casual’ employee – the implications for business owners with a casual workforce

Case: WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 (‘Rossato’)  Date of judgement: 20 May 2020  Background  The engagement of casual employees has been a hot topic in the employment sector during recent years.  A recent decision of the Full Federal Court leaves employers with a casual workforce open to substantial risk of claims being made by their casual staff for backpay of entitlements and seeking future entitlements previously available only to permanent staff.   On 20 May 2020, the Full Federal Court handed … Read more