Tag: employmentlawtweed

Resized Judge And Gavle

Australia’s First Industrial Manslaughter Case Decided – A Wake Up Call for Employers

There has been a landmark verdict in Queensland’s first prosecution of a company for industrial manslaughter.

A Brisbane scrap metal yard (Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd) has been fined $3 million and its two directors sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, wholly suspended,  for industrial manslaughter, for reckless conduct after a worker was hit by a reversing forklift and later died from his injuries.

The offence of industrial manslaughter was introduced in Queensland in October 2017 and, since then, almost all other Australian states and territories have moved to introduce similar legislation.

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Fair work Commission

Out of the Ordinary Approach by FWC in “Unprecedented” Times

The term “unprecedented” is now being widely used in the current industrial relations landscape. This is particularly the case with many well entrenched industrial relations principles being dispensed with (albeit temporarily) by the Fair Work Commission during the current crisis.

The FWC is now considering varying 103 awards to include unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ and the flexibility to take annual leave at half pay.
The FWC Full Bench is proposing to vary awards to:

  • provide up to two weeks unpaid leave for an employee required to self-isolate or is otherwise prevented from working because of measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • allow an employer and employee to agree to take double annual leave on half pay.

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Closed

Standing Down of Employees During the Covid-19 Emergency

In the past week we have fielded many questions relating to the issue of standing down employees. This issue naturally arose last week with the Government announcing that Pubs, Clubs and Restaurants be closed and staff of these establishments were entitled to be stood down.

However, there were many other businesses which saw these staff being stood down and assumed that they had the right to do so as well. Many were under the misapprehension that if there was a slow down in trade that then gave right to a stand down. For example a manufacturing company was of the belief that the pandemic had resulted in less orders and therefore less work, so that they could stand down staff.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
If you stand down an employee without a legal right to do so and you don’t pay wages, you may effectively be dismissing the employee, or you may be required to make good any underpayment during the period of the stand down.

The Employer’s right to stand down an employee may be provided by an employment contract, an enterprise agreement or more likely, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).

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Dreams Time

Top tips to beat the January blues in the workplace

Keeping morale and productivity high in January can be a challenge. Here are our tips to beat the January blues in the workplace.

After all the hype and festivity surrounding Christmas and the New Year, many employees can find themselves in a bit of a slump. So what steps can you take to motivate your staff and keep your workplace a hive of activity?

Here are a few tips to beat the January blues in the workplace…

TIP #1: After the festive period staff may be keen to book their next holiday. Many employers find they are inundated with leave requests after Christmas. Rather than increasing stress levels by fobbing staff off, ensure you deal with these requests as soon as practical. Having a leave request process in place will assist you with this task. Dealing with holiday requests promptly will not only make sure staff feel valued (which should increase productivity and quality of work), but also allows them to move on and focus on their work.

In dismissing the claim from United Voice the FWC said that this aspect of the Award modernisation process had already been reviewed and that therefore there was no basis for the claim.

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Medical Certificates for Sick Leave

Can you ask for further details?

In recent times many of our clients have asked if they can challenge a medical certificate or ask for further details about the employee’s illness or injury.

One recent example was where an employee who was absent for 4 weeks has provided a medical certificate as evidence of the illness. As is often the case, the certificate states the employee was unfit for duty due to a ‘medical illness’. That particular employee had a poor record of absenteeism and had previously requested annual leave for this period, but this request had been refused. Given the circumstances, the employer asked for more specific details about the employee’s illness, because there were concerns about the genuineness of the absence. The employee has refused to provide any further details.

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