BlandsLaw - Blog posts from FWA
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Calculating Redundancy Pay: Do previous casual hours count?

A full bench of the FWC has handed down a landmark decision which has changed the previously accepted interpretation of ‘service’ under the FWA and, in effect, turned upside-down the way in which redundancy payments are usually calculated.

Following the decision in AMWU v Donau[1], a permanent employee’s initial period of regular and systematic casual employment with the same employer will now count towards their period of continuous service used to calculate redundancy pay. Whilst many employees will be rejoicing with this news, the decision holds considerable and far-reaching ramifications for employers who will have to pay the price.

The case involved Donau, a Newcastle engineering and ship-building company, who commenced a large scale redundancy process. Initially, the company did not include prior continuous service by casuals in their redundancy pay calculations. The AMWU argued that this was in breach of their enterprise agreement, which specified that redundancy pay is to be calculated according to periods of continuous employment. The dispute then turned its discussion towards the definition of

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We regularly provide advice around redundancy and know from practice that it can be an area fraught with pitfalls. To meet the test for genuine redundancy under the Fair Work Act the redundancy process must include the employer exploring, with the employee, any available redeployment options. Related to this concept is that of ‘alternative acceptable employment’ which may affect the redundancy pay.

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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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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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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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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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Recent FWA Decision Stresses the Importance of a Social Media Policy.

A decision handed down on Monday 19 December by FWA has once again shown the need for organisations to have a social media policy in place. In this case a former Linfox employee was seeking reinstatement to his position after being terminated for comments made on his Facebook page. Commissioner Roberts commented on the need for a social media policy when, whilst lamenting the fact that Linfox did not have one, he commented that:

“In the current electronic age, this is not sufficient and many large companies have published detailed social media polices and taken pans to acquaint their employees with those policies.”

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