Fair Work Notice Update

Fair Work Notice Update

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Fair Work Notice Update

Under National Employment Standards, employers are required to give:

It is important that you use the current form of Statement. The Fair Work Information Statement is updated annually with adjustments to the federal minimum wage which normally occur on 1 July each year. The Casual Employment Information Statement has just been updated to provide more and clearer information on casual conversion rights and procedures.
 
If you have any queries, please contact us on 0421 592 541 or at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

 

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Pay just $550 plus GST in lieu of the regular price of $750 plus GST. Check it out. Offer expiring 30 November 2021.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

FWC rules that dismissal for refusing mandated vaccination is fair

FWC rules that dismissal for refusing mandated vaccination is fair

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FWC rules that dismissal for refusing mandated vaccination is fair

covid vaccine injection

At a time when businesses are grappling with what they can do with employees who refuse vaccinations that are mandated by public health orders, a majority decision of a full bench of the Fair Work Commission has provided some relief.

That decision upheld the dismissal of an employee by Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care for refusing to have a flu shot that was mandated by a public health order.

The employee claimed that she had a medical exemption but that did not stand up to scrutiny because the medical certificate was issued by a doctor who did not examine her and relied on her advice to him that she had had a previous reaction to a vaccination. On the other hand, the employer relied on the advice of the Chief Health Officer and public documents which indicated that adverse effects of flu vaccinations are rare and the fact that she might have had a reaction to a vaccine in the past did not mean that she should not have the flu vaccination.

In the original decision earlier this year, the FWC ruled that the employee could not perform the inherent requirements of her job without a flu shot.

The Full bench was considering her application to appeal which they rejected as they found that she didn’t have a valid medical exemption.

Clearly, this tells us that, subject to going through due process, if there is a public health order requiring vaccination of employees as a condition of working in the particular industry setting and an employee does not get vaccinated and does not have a valid medical exemption, the employee’s services can be terminated due to their inability to meet the inherent requirements of the job.

This obviously has ramifications for the construction industry in Victoria where workers are not permitted on construction sites without having at least the first COVID vaccination or providing a valid medical exemption.

We are hearing numerous reports from our clients about employees who are hesitant or refusing to get vaccinated and do not have any basis for a medical exemption.

Most employers we speak to tell us that they don’t want to sack anyone for not getting the jab but they might reluctantly be forced to do that with any employee who chooses not to be vaccinated. Many of these employers are small businesses often in regional communities where relationships go beyond just the workplace and so this is quite a stressful situation for employer and all of their employees.

If you need assistance in dealing with a situation such as this, give me a call on 0438 533 311 – your first consultation is free.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

New casual rule deadline is here

New casual rule deadline is here

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New casual rule deadline is here

casual conversion running out of time

27 September 2021 is just about here and that is when the new rules on casual engagement and conversion come fully into effect.

The Federal Government made amendments to the Fair Work Act back in March. The purpose of the amendments was to provide greater surety about what casual employment is, what entitlements casual employees have and when a casual employee can be offered or apply for conversion to full-time or part-time employment. See our post on 12 May on the legislative changes: https://ridgelinehr.com.au/new-standards-on-casual-employment/

Since then, the Fair Work Commission has been reviewing award provisions relevant to casual employment and casual conversion to align them with the revised provisions of the Fair Work Act.

The changes to Award provisions that it has decided on will also take effect from 27 September 2021. In most cases, the FWC has simply decided to scrap the existing Award provisions for clauses that really just reflect or refer to the new Fair Work Act provisions.

There are some exceptions so you need to check the particular Awards that cover your operations and employees.

Key points in terms of your obligations and exposures as an employer are:

  • You must provide all current and future casual employees with a Casual Employment Information Statement which you can access at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/national-employment- standards/casual-employment-information-statement
  • If you have 15 or more employees and you have a casual employee who has been on with you for 12 months and on a consistent work pattern for the last 6 months, you are required to assess them for conversion to ongoing employment by 27 September 2021 or, in future, within 21 days of the employee’s 12 month anniversary of commencing employment.
  • Regardless of how many employees you have, eligible casual employees can request conversion to ongoing employment, you have to respond to that request in writing within 21 days and, if the employee is dissatisfied with your response (eg you refuse the request), the employee can take the matter to the Fair Work Commission for determination.
  • What is really critical is that there is no firm commitment to an ongoing pattern of work in your contract of employment and other terms of the contract are consistent with the requirements and definition of casual employment now prescribed in the Fair Work Act.

What should you be doing:

  1. Assess the status of your casual employees re potential for conversion.
  2. Get your employment contracts professionally reviewed plus things like any position descriptions or job ads you use to ensure that they don’t have compromising content.

If you need a hand with that, give us a call on 0421 592 541 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Pay just $600 plus GST in lieu of the regular price of $750 plus GST. Check it out.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

ACCC successful with Employsure appeal

ACCC successful with Employsure appeal

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ACCC successful with Employsure appeal

In 2018, the ACCC commenced proceedings against Employsure alleging that it had engaged in deceptive conduct, misleading consumers through its google ads which seemed to suggest that it had affiliations with Government agencies – the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission.

On 1 October 2020, a Federal Court judge ruled against the ACCC but now, on appeal, the Full Federal Court has unanimously ruled in favour of the ACCC.

The Google Ads, published between August 2016 and August 2018, featured headlines such as ‘Fair Work Ombudsman Help – Free 24/7 Employer Advice’ and ‘Fair Work Commission Advice – Free Employer Advice’ and appeared in response to search terms such as ‘fair work ombudsman’.

The Full Court found that Employsure’s Google Ads were misleading in large part because of the use of the government agency names in the largest and most prominent typeface, and because the ads omitted any reference whatsoever to Employsure.

They are still running the Google ads but without the Government authority references.

Employsure has also been prosecuted in the NSW courts for unfair contracts and we have come across numerous businesses which have had difficulty getting out of those contracts.

There are many very good cloud-based compliance solutions out there – our preferred one is Employment Hero. Check it out here.

You can see the full ACCC statement on the Employsure case here.  

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Pay just $600 plus GST in lieu of the regular price of $750 plus GST. Check it out.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

New Fair Work Information Statement

New Fair Work Information Statement

Latest News & Events

 

New Fair Work Information Statement

Fair work information statement

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently published a new version of the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS).

It has had a bit of an overhaul to better set out the different entitlements of full-time, part- time and casual employees and to add recent legislative amendments with respect to casual employees.

All employers are required to provide this to every new employee whether covered by an award or enterprise agreement or neither (ie award-free people including executive, professional and managerial staff) before or as soon as possible after commencement. You might want to include this in your offer of employment or onboarding processes.

To not do so is a breach of National Employment Standards and can result in a penalty.

You can download the new FWIS at here.

Also a reminder that there is now also a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) that must be given to all casual employees. This clearly sets out what casual employment is, what rights for casual conversion apply and what options casual employees have if they are aggrieved by a decision by their employer not to agree to their request for casual conversion.

You can download the CEIS here.

If you fail to provide either of these to an employee who is supposed to receive them, that is a breach of National Employment Standards and can result in a penalty.

You might want to include these statements in your offers of employment or onboarding processes just to make sure that it happens.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

High Court overrule on casual employment

High Court overrule on casual employment

Latest News & Events

 

High Court overrule on casual employment

Court Casual employent

Yesterday, the High Court handed down a unanimous landmark ruling overturning recent decisions of the Federal Court to award nominally casual employees leave entitlements.

Those Federal Court decisions involved labour hire employees on fly in fly out back-to-back contracts with rostered hours and pre-booked accommodation of 6 to 12 months aggregating to over 2 years of continuing employment in each case. The Federal Court
formed the view that that sort of arrangement was not characteristic of casual employment and that the employees in question would have had a reasonable expectation of continuing employment. They also decided that the employees were entitled to annual leave, because of those facts and because of deficiencies in the employment contracts (not separately
identifying the amount of the casual loading so as to demonstrate the adequacy of the loading to set off leave entitlements).

These decisions were the stimulus for the amendments to the Fair Work Act passed earlier this year in relation to casual employment. See our previous article on these changes at https://ridgelinehr.com.au/new-standards-on-casual-employment.

One of the elements that the legislative amendments introduced was that a casual employment arrangement could not include a “firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work”.

In yesterday’s decision, the High Court determined that a reasonable expectation of continuing employment on the part of the employee was not a firm advance commitment to continuing employment on the part of the employer.

The High Court also found that, notwithstanding the length of continuity of employment and the presence of a regular and consistent roster for the period of each contract, it did not mean that there was a commitment between the employer and employee to continuing employment beyond each limited term contract that they entered into.

What does this mean for employers?

On face value, it might appear that an employer can just engage people as casual on limited term contracts and, provided the contract is properly constructed, that would be the end of it.

However, we mustn’t lose sight of the facts that:

  • After a qualifying period of 12 months employment and subject to certain conditions a casual employee can request conversion to full or part time employment and, in the case of businesses with 15 or more employees, the employer must offer conversion or provide reasons as to why not.
  • Conversion disputes can be taken to the Fair Work Commission for conciliation and arbitration.
  • Awards also have casual conversion provisions which are different to those in the Fair Work Act but these are currently under review by the Fair Work Commission (indications are that they will likely conform with the new legislative provisions from 27 September 2021).

  • Casual employees can make unfair dismissal claims if they are regularly and systematically employed for a continuous period of 6 months for businesses with 15 or more employees or 12 months for those with less employees.
  • Casual employees can make General Protections claims for adverse action taken by an employer against an employee trying to exercise a workplace right such as the right to convert from casual to full-time or part-time. We can expect that the question of an employer taking adverse action by deliberately contracting someone for short periods in what is really an ongoing job so as to avoid casual conversion obligations will be tested at some point.
  • A casual employee can still claim WorkCover……….and we know that insecurity of work plays a significant part in the mental health challenges that we have in our community today.

Don’t cut off your nose…..

Currently, one of the biggest challenges that businesses have is attracting and retaining staff.

For a number of reasons, there is a serious shortage of quality candidates across most industries.

So, if you have someone that you value and you want to keep, look after them and let them know you value them by offering them the opportunity to convert (or employ them on a continuing basis in the first place).

The legislation just sets out the minimum obligations – smart employers who really value their people will do better than that.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH