Pay and Conditions

Fair Work Commission – Increase to Minimum Wages

The Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) has recently published its Annual Wage Review. The FWC have announced:
• The National Minimum Wage will increase to $23.23 per hour, or $882.80 per week based on a 38 hour week.
• There will be a 5.75% increase to minimum modern award wages.
• The increase will commence from the first pay period following 1 July 2023.

The FWC’s decision will greatly impact many businesses given the current economic climate and struggles faced by companies over the past 12 months. As such, we have set out the changes and what employers need to know moving forward.

NSW Court of Appeal Changes Approach to NSW Long Service Leave Entitlements for Interstate and International Employees

In the recent case of Wipro, the New South Wales Court of Appeal changed the NSW position on how statutory long service leave operates. This decision narrows who may have an entitlement to long service. In particular, the decision held that in order for the employment period to count towards ‘continuous service’ and qualify for long service leave, the work must have a substantial connection to NSW.

An Outlook for 2023 – The Looming Issue of Redundancy

As we commence 2023, there is no doubt that this year will bring various challenges to many employers. As a result of various factors, including high inflation rates, rising interest rates, a slowing economy and lingering effects of the Covid 19 Pandemic, it is likely that this year will see organisations experience uncertainty and/or financial hardship. Recent changes to legislation will also put upward pressure on a number of businesses. This will likely result in organisations opting to restructure their businesses or make staff members redundant as a way to cut costs or down-size their businesses.

What Does the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Legislation Mean For Employers?

The passing of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay legislation constitutes the biggest shake-up to Australia’s national industrial relations framework in over a decade. This alert provides a summary of the key amendments to Australia’s workplace laws, in addition to practical guidance on steps that employers need to take to ensure they are compliant with the Act.

Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements

In our fifth publication of the ongoing series, we now examine the role of modern awards and enterprise agreements in the regulation of employment terms and conditions.  Other than the NES, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“Fair Work Act”) provides for a number of mechanisms to regulate basic terms and conditions of employment, the most important being modern awards and enterprise agreements.

Don’t Have to Pay Superannuation for Contractors? Think Again!

The Commissioner of Taxation (“the Commissioner”) is ramping up efforts to identify unpaid superannuation entitlements by businesses who have been incorrectly operating under the assumption that contractors are not entitled to receive superannuation contribution payments. Under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (“the Act”), contractors may be entitled to superannuation where they are classified as an employee for the purposes of the Act. The definition of ‘employee’ under the Act is much broader than that commonly understood.

High Court Confirms the Primacy of Written Contracts in Independent Contracting

The thorny issue of whether an individual is an employee or contractor is of great significance and getting the classification wrong can mean the imposition of significant monetary penalties and liability for outstanding wages, taxes and other benefits. However, knowing with some certainty whether a person is an independent contractor or not is not clear-cut. In fact, this issue has occupied much of the Court’s time over the years and been the subject of considerable judicial consideration.

The High Court of Australia appears to have jettisoned previous views, and have recently handed down two significant decisions that revise the approach to be taken by courts when determining whether a person is an employee or independent contractor.

The High Court Has the Final Say as to when a Casual is a Really a Casual

In a significant win for employers, the High Court has handed down its decision overturning the Full Federal Court decision in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 which permitted casual employees to receive the 25% casual loading and nonetheless claim paid service entitlements only applicable to permanent staff, where certain conditions applied.

The High Court decision now squarely aligns with the newly introduced casuals provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) which took effect on 27 March 2021. These legislative amendments affirmed that if agreed under terms of an employment contract, a casual employment relationship that mutually acknowledges no firm commitment to an ongoing working relationship or a regular pattern of work between employer and employee, will be sufficient to curtail any subsequent claims for service related entitlements enjoyed by permanent staff provided the parties observe the terms of the casual contract.

Employment Law Changes from 1 July 2021

The beginning of the financial year marks a number of important changes to the employment law area. These changes, relate to minimum wages, the unfair dismissal threshold, the Fair Work Information Statement and changes to the Superannuation Guarantee rate. A summary of the changes to come and what this means for your business is covered in this alert.

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