A client of ours was recently approached by one of its employees, who had been on paid workers’ compensation benefits for several years and asked to be paid his accrued annual leave entitlements. After all, he had not taken annual leave at any stage during his recuperation from injury and understood that he had accrued a significant entitlement. Our client had simply assumed that because the employee was not working, was not on paid personal leave, and was receiving compensation payments, he was not continuing to accrue entitlements. They were wrong.
The Australian Government’s introduction of JobKeeper on 9 April 2020, has helped Australian businesses, not-for-profits and workers get through one of the most difficult times in our history in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. With Stage 4 restrictions in place in Victoria and the threat of similar lockdown in other states, the untimely termination of JobKeeper support on the 27 September 2020 brought great panic to businesses and employees.
Workplace bullying is a dynamic and complex phenomenon, its causes are often multifaceted and its impact individual and varied. It can have a profound effect on all aspects of a person’s health as well as their work and family life, undermining self-esteem, productivity and morale. For some it can result in a permanent departure from the labour market and in extreme cases, suicide.
Many employers engage casual employees who are often longstanding members of their workforce and/or work a regular pattern of hours. However, are these employees really engaged on a casual basis? This has been a vexed issue for some time and for legal questions such as access to the unfair dismissal jurisdiction and long service leave entitlements it has been recognised that casual employees who work regular and systematic hours, are to be treated in the same way as permanent employees. However, it has always been accepted that if casuals are paid a casual loading, they are not entitled to paid leave.
Whilst we are by no means in the clear with respect to COVID-19, Federal and State Governments have confirmed that the raft of expedient measures taken by the majority of Australians, such as social distancing, border closures, home isolation and so forth, has seen an ever decreasing reduction in infection rates to the point that on Monday 11 May, NSW recorded its first day of no new infections since lockdown commenced.
Unless you are an essential worker, just about all businesses have employees working from home. For many employers all their employees are now working remotely. In this client alert, we will discuss firstly the challenges posed by remote work and in addition, the very real opportunities it creates.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has and will continue to have a material impact on businesses worldwide and in Australia.
The COVID-19 landscape and both the national and state government updates are regularly evolving and changing. As a result, many employers are now faced with the challenge of understanding their rights and obligations in managing employees during this health pandemic and in circumstances where their business has significantly reduced and/or the business has shutdown.
Earlier this year we published a client alert to provide some general advice to employers in dealing with employees’ leave entitlements in light of COVID-19. That was on 21 February and since then, the COVID-19 landscape seems to be changing on an almost hourly basis.
On 12 March the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic and on 15 March, the Federal Government issued the direction that all persons arriving into Australia must self-isolate for 14 days otherwise they will be committing an offence under the various pieces of State Public Health legislation and will be subject to significant fines.
Employers are not always aware of their obligations in relation to privacy in the workplace. The invasion of employee privacy can occur in a number of different ways including through records and information, physical and electronic surveillance and monitoring.
From a company perspective, the advancement of digital workplaces and technology has increased the amount of information employers can access about their employees.
Monopolising media coverage since its outbreak in December 2019, the potentially deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) has not just limited itself to widespread disruption to cultural events and travel plans and, not least of which, harm to those who have contracted it, but it has now emerged as a genuine factor in the Australian workplace.
Welcome back to all our readers and best wishes for 2020!
With the New Year comes changes to legislation. It is also a perfect time to reflect on the matters the business would like to achieve in the coming year and how best to align your people with those goals.
In our first article for the year we set out the key new changes and pending legislative amendments as part of the next wave of employment and industrial law regulations.
Oh my gosh – that could not have happened! We hope this is not something the business is saying after the end of year celebrations. Unfortunately, all too often a form of this reaction is all too common. In our last article, we looked at various control measures an employer can put in place to minimise the risk of inappropriate behaviour of employees at end of year or Christmas events which, in turn, minimise an employer’s exposure to subsequent legal claims and possible litigation. In this, our Part 2, we look at management of the aftermath of the event and what practical steps can be taken to minimise an employer’s exposure where an incident has occurred.