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Four important changes to unfair dismissal laws: how they impact you

In October, the Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten announced that parliament will implement numerous important changes to the Fair Work Act this year, following an independent review of the Act in June 2012. Chief among these changes are those concerning complaints brought about by employees upon termination of their employment. Here is a summary of the four key changes that we believe will impact positively on businesses and workplace relations.

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Employers beware: Be clear – and legal – when dismissing an employee

If you are a business owner or HR practitioner, consider this fraught scenario: an employee is dismissed after refusing to agree to changes in his employment terms and conditions, and threatening to involve a union – leading to a claim of adverse action against the company. The employer claims the person was terminated for causing a workplace accident, but did not state this reason in his letter of termination. The result: reinstatement of the employee until his case of adverse action against the company is determined.

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SOCIAL media might be the "biggest gift" for any small business but be warned there are strings attached.

Experts have warned that, without proper training, it can do more harm than good.  And while some businesses bury their head in the sand, there is little escape.

 

BlandsLaw "has been able to mix it with heavyweight firms" thanks to its focus on the evolving social media platforms.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/news/be-socially-aware-in-business/story-fnejnq06-1226499402893#ixzz2A5M8sFhe

 

Do You Need a Mobile Devices Policy?

Smartphones have become a ubiquitous sight in public and in the workplace. IPads and tablets are similarly common now in the office. These are all examples of mobile devices, and more companies are making these devices available to their employees and allowing remote access to system servers.  Increasingly, employees have devices of their own, and expect to be able to use them at work.  Most agree that these mobile devices are an indispensable tool, and many argue that they could not imagine working or running a business without them. But few people – and perhaps fewer employers –realise  the potential hazard they hold in their hands.

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Performance Reviews- A Guide for Employers

 

The procedural fairness requirements of the Fair Work Act, 2009, together with recent decisions of Fair Work Australia (FWA), impose on employers an obligation to act carefully and consistently when managing and disciplining employees. This article addresses some practical strategies for effective performance management in the workplace.

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Drug Testing in the Workplace - FWA Full Bench Declares HOW it Can be Done

Recent Fair Work Australia determinations have reiterated that even compulsory testing is a reasonable employer instruction in response to the risks to employee safety posed by drug and alcohol use. However the tribunal has taken a balanced approach in upholding a FWA decision which prohibited urine testing on employees on the basis that it was “unjust and unreasonable”. The tribunal stated that urine testing would potentially detect drugs taken days earlier or over a weekend and this would not be a reasonable indicator of whether the employee was unfit for work on the day of testing.

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Employee or Independent Contractor? It's Not the Title That Counts

The recent case of Kuat Chee v Renown Business Solutions Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 5137 (9 July 2012)  addressed the difficult topic of when a contractor is truly a contractor, and when they are properly classified as an employee.

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Minimum Wage Review 2012

Fair Work Australia’s minimum wage panel released its 2012 Annual Minimum Wage Decision on Friday, 1 June 2012. Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the Minimum Wage Panel of Fair Work Australia must conduct an annual wage review in each financial year.

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When is Restraint Unreasonable?

Recently the Federal Court considered a case in which an Australia-wide 2 year restraint period for a former director and founder of an HR outsourcing business was upheld and considered to be reasonable in the circumstances.

The case reinforces the importance of employers including well-drafted restraint clauses in their employment contracts to protect their business in the event that an employee with important company or business knowledge and contacts is not able to unfairly compete with the employer when leaving the company.

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Personal or Carers Leave

Background and eligibility

Paid personal or carers leave isthe correct terminology for the phrase ‘sick leave’. All employees (other than casuals) are entitled to paid personal leave or paid carer’s leave, of 10 days per year. The entitlement to paid personal/carers leave accrues from year to year. Paid personal/carers leave is leave that is provided for an employee if, due to their own personal circumstances, they are sick or injured, or if they need to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) sets out who qualifies as a member of an employee’s immediate family. This definition encompasses a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee; or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.

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Annual Leave

Since 1973, a four (4) week annual leave period for the benefit of an employee has been standard practice, increasing from the initial one (1) week annual leave standard introduced in 1941. Today, annual leave entitlements now form part of the National Employment Standards (NES) providing a minimum safety net of employee entitlements.

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The entitlement to Long Service Leave (LSL) is contained in the National Employment Standards (NES). As of 1 January 2010 the NES applies to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system (national system employees)

There is currently no uniform national LSL standard, and the legislation governing LSL is contained in state Acts. For example, in NSW, LSL is governed by the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW). Until a uniform national standard is developed, the state legislation needs to be read on conjunction with the NES.

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Andrew Bland was his opinion for an article  "Would You Tell A Prospective Employer If You Were Pregnant?" for Marie Claire

You're interviewing for your dream job...you're three months pregnant. Do you tell?

 

The law says an employer has no right to know you’re pregnant at the time of an interview. But what's the cost of keeping quiet?

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An Article in BRW

When Qantas invited its Twitter followers to describe a luxury inflight experience to win a gift pack, the airline presumably was seeking to repair relations strained from its grounding of the entire fleet a few weeks earlier in response to a labour dispute.

Instead it faced an almighty backlash. Within hours, thousands of angry and unimpressed customers took to the social media site to voice their views. Responses ranged from “Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire” to “More than 3 mins notice that the whole service has been grounded #QantasLuxury” to “#QantasLuxury is a massive executive bonus while your workers starve and your former customers choke”.....

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Law Firm Helping Companies Manage Social Media Risk

In an historic first in Australia, a law firm (BlandsLaw)has developed a suite of social media policy products, designed to assist companies and suppliers manage their social media risk. As BlandsLaw has extensive expertise in workplace and commercial law and is an active user of social media, they are well placed to advise companies on the many aspects of social media.

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Personal/Carers, Compassionate & Community Service Leave.

1. Personal or Carers Leave 

Background and eligibility

The National Employment Standards (NES) details the entitlements to personal and carers leave. Paid personal or carers leave is the correct terminology for the phrase ‘sick leave’. All employees (other than casuals) are entitled to paid personal leave or paid carer’s leave, of 10 days per year. The entitlement to paid personal/carers leave accrues from year to year. Paid personal/carers leave is leave that is provided for an employee if, due to their own personal circumstances, they are sick or injured.

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