PAID PARENTAL LEAVE TO BE INCREASED
The Federal Government will phase-in an increase in the total package of federally funded Paid Parental Leave from the current 20 weeks to 26 weeks between 2024 and 2026.
The Entitlement will rise to 22 weeks in July 2024 and 24 weeks in July 2025, before reaching the full 26 weeks in 2026.
While the Government characterises the increase in Paid Parental Leave as “a full 6 months” or 26 weeks, that refers to the overall package. The Entitlement for the mother or primary carer is 24 weeks. However, a single parent will get the full 26-week payment.
Further details of the Parental Leave Plan will be announced in the budget later this month.
$10 MILLION BACK PAY FOR ALDI WORKERS
In a recent case Aldi has been ordered to backpay over 4,000 Workers for work they were directed to do before their shift commenced. The claim is in excess of $10 million and it highlights a series of very important lessons for Employers.
The Aldi case hinges around a fundamental question of what it means for an Employee to be ‘ready to begin work’ at the shift time.
Aldi contended that the pre-equipment use check and the need to move that equipment to the muster point each day did not constitute work tasks, but the case has found against them. This leads naturally to the question… what is a work task, and what can be done before a shift starts?
The answer is that if the action is for the sole benefit of the Employer… then it is a work task. So, while signing in (as long as it is not overly time consuming), stowing personal items and moving to a workstation (as long as it is not overly far from an entrance) are of equal benefit to the Employee and the Employer. Tasks like pre-equipment checks, moving equipment, or in the case of retail – opening the store, turning the alarm off, are all tasks that are exclusively for the benefit of the Employer. If the shop is to be open and trading at 6.30am and it takes 15 minutes to get the shop ready to trade, then the employee MUST be paid from 6.15am, there is simply no confusion, it is very clear.
This is a lesson for Employers to ensure that Employees are paid for all work tasks.
FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN (FWO) ORDERS BACK PAY FOR LAUNCESTON FOOD WORKERS
The FWO has recovered $121,574 in Wages for 144 Underpaid Workers in Launceston’s food precincts, as the result of the investigation made by Fair Work Inspectors on 31 businesses, across 9 suburbs and nearby towns in and around Launceston – which found 77% of businesses had breached Workplace Laws.
The investigation found 24 businesses to be in breach, 23 of which had Underpaid their Workers. 7 of them had failed to meet Pay Slip and Record-Keeping requirements. The most common breaches found were the failure to pay Penalty Rates, followed by Underpayment of the Minimum Hourly Rate of Pay and the failure to pay correct Leave Allowances.
The food precincts in the Launceston area were the target of surprise inspections by the FWO, based on their risk of breaching Workplace Laws. Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the inspections were part of a national program that has targeted food precincts in Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin and recovered more than $2 million for Workers.
LANDSCAPING BUSINESS OPERATOR PENALISED
The FWO has secured a total of $9,990 in Penalties in court against the operator of a residential landscaping business in Melbourne.
The Penalties were imposed in response to the Employer failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring him to calculate and Back-Pay Entitlements owing to a young Worker Employed, and for knowingly issuing the Worker with false or misleading Pay Slips.
FWO Sandra Parker said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices, need to be aware they can face Penalties in court, on top of having to Back-Pay Workers.
The Compliance Notice was issued in January 2021 after a Fair Work inspector formed a belief that the Worker had not been paid Entitlements owed under the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010.
FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN PRIORITIES FOR 2022-23
The FWO priorities for 2022-23 are fast food, restaurants and cafés, large corporates, the university sector, agriculture, sham contracting and contract cleaning.
A reminder to Employers to ensure that your Employees are being Paid properly and that you are following the Rules regarding Terms and Conditions of Employment.