Pay and Conditions

Changes to Modern Awards That Will Affect Most Australian Employers: The Time to Act is Now!

On 4 July 2019, the Fair Work Commission (“Commission”) finalised its decision in relation to the incorporation of new ‘annualised wage arrangement’ clauses, which will replace the existing annualised salary clauses in the modern awards already containing an annualised salary clause. The new terms will also be inserted into three modern awards (Pastoral Industry Award 2010, Horticulture Award 2010 and Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010) which have not previously had an annualised salary clause.

Does money talk? How to motivate your key people.

It is often believed that “money talks” when it comes to hiring senior executives. But does a salary alone provide motivation to senior executives?

When it comes to senior executives, many businesses believe by paying a significant salary they will obtain the best out of the employee. However, this is not necessarily always correct. A number of other options should be considered by organisations to motivate their senior executives. It is a fact that the culture and success of any business starts with its people and most notably its senior people. If the senior managers are engaged, motivated and have the relevant leadership skills, the business is much more likely to succeed.

Long Term Casuals – Are They Entitled to Leave Entitlements?

It is common knowledge that employers have a choice as to how they employ their employees. In circumstances where the employer does not need someone to work full-time hours, they can either employ the individual as a part-time permanent employee, or as a casual employee. However, many employers have abused the concept of casual employment by effectively retaining employees for long periods of continuous and predictable employment. We should also recognise that many employees prefer casual employment as they receive a greater rate of pay than they would otherwise as a permanent employee.

You need to take a Holiday, no why, if or buts..

It is that time of year again. Employers are looking at the holiday period and how this is managed. Many employers will be closing down operations over the festive season and want employees to take this time as annual leave. However, employees are not always so willing to take annual leave at this time.

It is not uncommon that we receive queries as to whether employers can direct employees to take annual leave. This often arises when the business shuts down usually over the Christmas and New Year season. Conversely, it is not uncommon that we receive a query as to whether, and in what circumstances, employees are able to trade in a portion of their annual leave entitlement for cash.


For most employers, hiring casual employees has a number of advantages. Whether you are a small or large business, engaging casual employees can help increase flexibility in your workforce and afford you the ability to increase staffing levels during your busier months, whilst providing the ability to reduce headcount and/or wages during the quieter months.

However, in recent years there has been a significant focus on what casual employment actual means and it is now crucial that if businesses are engaging casual employees they are doing so on a genuine basis. To this end, employers that incorrectly classify an employee as a casual may leave themselves open to significant liability and potential risk.

Why Every Employer Needs to Consider the Implications of Modern Award Coverage

“If I pay above minimum wage, does the modern award still apply”?

Many employers struggle with the complex myriad of legislative and regulatory requirements surrounding the employment and remuneration of workers. The role of modern awards and how they apply are one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Australian industrial landscape. Many employers do not properly understand their obligations and the requirements imposed on them by the operation of modern awards that cover their employees.

The $100,000 reason to keep your payslips and employee records in order

With the start of the new financial year and the annual increase in minimum wages, many businesses have most likely reviewed their pay rates and modern awards to ensure their company’s compliance in this regard. However, many businesses are failing to get some of the other basics right when it comes to record-keeping for their employees. In this week’s article we review an employer’s obligation in relation to payslips and employee records, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s current campaign on this issue and we review a recent decision which has imposed a record fine as a result of inadequate record-keeping.

Should I Be Getting Paid for This?

Unpaid internships are increasingly becoming the default way of beginning a professional career in Australia. Last May, we wrote about the increased use of volunteer and unpaid workers by employers and the potential legal issues surrounding the use of unpaid work arrangements.

By way of summary, it is important to remember that some unpaid work arrangements are permissible at law, while others are not. Whether an unpaid work arrangement is lawful under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FWA”) depends on whether an employment relationship exists or whether the arrangement involves a vocational placement for the purposes of training.

Government Passes Far Reaching Legislation Affecting All Employers

The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 (“The Bill”) has passed the Parliament, after the House of Representatives yesterday accepted amendments made in the Senate. The new law will apply from the day after the Bill receives royal assent, except for the new franchisor and holding company liability provisions (discussed below) which will start six weeks later.

The Bill was introduced as a response to the underpayments and exploitation of vulnerable workers within some of the 7/11 franchisees as well as similar subsequent scandals with Caltex, Yogurberry, Pizza Hut and Dominos. The Bill will introduce a number of initiatives to increase deterrence and punishments in relation to systematic exploitation of vulnerable workers. It also strengthens the power of the workplace regulator, the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Employee Remuneration: It all Starts with the Dollars and Cents

The ability to attract and retain talented staff greatly benefits an organisation’s ability to sustain a competitive advantage. The loss of a key employee can have a significantnegative impact the business. Remuneration plays an important factor in the attraction, engagement, motivation and retention of employees. Employers need to be well aware of their obligations surrounding this sensitive subject as well as considering what, in addition to salary, their organisation may offer an employee to improve engagement and motivation within their business.


Fair Work Ombudsman Warning to Employers

The Australian Government has consistently signalled that it intends to ensure companies who do not pay their employees properly or who have breached the workplace laws will face significant penalties. Given the numerous high profile cases in which employee have been underpaid by their employer including companies such as 7Eleven, and Dominos, this has become an important issue for both the Australian Government and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Landmark Penalty Rates Decision

The Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) handed down a landmark decision yesterday regarding the payment of penalty rates that may have far reaching consequences for many employees and their employers.

As part of the 4-yearly review of modern awards under section 156 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FWA”) the Fair Work Commission has reviewed penalty rates in a number of modern awards in the hospitality, retail and pharmaceutical industries.

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