JOBS & SKILLS SUMMIT
The Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Burke, outlined a number of changes to the Fair Work Act that the Government will take “immediate action” on, with consultation this week. Burke said these included:
– Stronger access for Flexible Working Arrangements and Unpaid Parental Leave.
– Stronger protections against Adverse Action, Harassment, Discrimination.
– Ensuring all Workers can negotiate in good faith – including women, small business, care and community services sectors, and First Nations people.
– Ensuring Workers and business have flexible options for reaching agreement, including removing “unnecessary limitations” on single and multi-Employer agreements, while ensuring that Employers which negotiate single-employer agreements are able to do so without “those changes interfering in it”.
– Making the “Better Off Overall” Test for agreement approval simple, flexible and fair.
– Giving the Fair Work Commission power to proactively help Workers, particularly new entrants and small-to-medium businesses.
– Ensure the process for Agreement Termination is fit for purpose and fair.
– Sunset zombie agreements; that is, stop Employers underpaying people with old Agreements struck under Work Choices.
CHANGES TO ANNUALISED WAGE ARRANGEMENTS – RESTAURANT, CAFÉ & HOSPITALITY WORKERS
From 1st September 2022, there are new Annualised Wage Arrangement Rules in the Hospitality Award and the Restaurant Award, following a decision made by the Fair Work Commission. These replace the previous Annualised Salary Arrangement Provisions in these Awards.
Key Changes Include:
– Rules about what Award Entitlements can be included in an Annualised Wage Arrangement
– New Rules about the maximum number of Hours that attract Overtime or Penalty Rates, that an Employee can work in a Roster cycle and be included in their Annualised Wage (called the ‘outer limits’)
– What needs to be included in a written Agreement for an Annualised Wage Arrangement
– Extra Record-Keeping Rules
– New Rules about ending an Annualised Wage Arrangement.
– Only apply to Full-Time Employees, covered by the Restaurant Award, or the Hospitality Award
– Don’t apply to people employed as Managerial Staff (Hotels), under the Hospitality Award.
ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES TAKING PROPER MEAL & REST BREAKS?
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) has made claims against fast food chain McDonald’s, alleging they did not provide their Employees with Rest Breaks. McDonald’s has denied these allegations.
We recommend Employers check to ensure their Employees are taking required Breaks, under their relevant Award.
Be aware that some Awards provide a Penalty if a Break is not taken at the rostered time.
Please contact us if you have any enquiries – it’s important to get it right.
MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIR BUSINESS PENALISED
The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a total of $19,980 in Penalties in Court against the operators of a motor vehicle repair business in Adelaide. The Federal Circuit and Family Court has imposed a $16,650 Penalty against the business and a $3,330 Penalty against the company’s sole director. The Penalty was imposed in response to the business failing to comply with a Compliance Notice requiring it to back-pay Entitlements to a Worker it Employed as a spray painter, between March 2020 and March 2021.
The court has also ordered the company to fully Comply with the Compliance Notice, by back paying the Worker an outstanding amount of $1,019. Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said business operators that fail to act on Compliance Notices, need to be aware they can face court-imposed Penalties, on top of having to back-pay Workers. “When Compliance Notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure Workers receive their lawful Entitlements,” Ms Parker said. The FWO investigated after receiving a request for assistance from the affected Worker.
The Compliance Notice was issued in May 2021, after a Fair Work inspector formed a belief that the Worker was not paid accrued but untaken Annual Leave Entitlements at the end of his Employment, as required under the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards.
Judge Stewart Brown found that the Compliance Notice has been “entirely disregarded” and that there was a need to impose Penalties to deter the Employer and other Employers from similar conduct in future. “The court should consider a significant Penalty as a matter of both general and specific deterrence, given the interest the community has in ensuring that there is compliance with relevant legislation, and protecting the rights of Employees to be paid what they are entitled,” Judge Brown said.
“A message must be sent to the proprietors of small cottage-type industries, in which Employees are isolated from their colleagues and so vulnerable to exploitation through a lack of knowledge, of the importance of prompt and complete rectification of any breaches of the industrial Safety Net.”