Understanding an Employer’s Obligations in Pay And Wages In their preparations for the post-COVID-19 landscape, many employers are reviewing their existing systems with a view on creating efficiencies to reduce operating costs. One of the key areas reviewed by employers is their payroll system. Modern awards are complex industrial instruments which can require a…

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As Employment Lawyers we are in a privileged position to gather perspective on a very challenging time for many clients with uncertainty and fear prevailing.  For others it has been an opportunity to pivot or seek different options to ensure their business survives and thrives. Discussing these points with many in human resources, personnel management…

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The Fair Work Commission’s recent decision in Chambers v Toll Transport Pty Ltd[1] (the Decision) is a useful reminder for employers that not all ‘out of work hours’ misconduct by employees may give rise to a valid reason for dismissal especially in the context of a Christmas party.

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We are commonly asked to advise directors and shareholders on how to resolve a management deadlock within their company. Management deadlocks can lead to damage to the business and business relationships and a lose-lose outcome for the partners. What is A Deadlock In A Company? A deadlock occurs when neither party (or factions) within a…

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Most people know that transferring of property ownership from one person to another is not a simple task but only a few appreciate how complicated the process of transferring the ownership title from the seller to the purchaser is. How Property Conveyancing Works Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the property from the seller…

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A well drafted shareholders agreement will contain what is known as a “drag along” provision. Here we explain what a drag along clause does and why it can be important. Shareholders agreements – What is a drag along right? A drag along right allows a majority of shareholders to force minority shareholders to join the…

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We have recently reviewed a decision[1] of the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) involving the Southern Midlands Council, Tasmania (the Council) and an animal management employee.  The decision serves as a useful reminder for employers who provide vehicles to their employees to have clear policies in place regarding their usage.   A bit of background on…

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A recent Federal Circuit Court decision has seen 48 employees of Macquarie Bank being awarded in total $1.34 Million in underpayment of wages.  Ranging from non payment of: Annual leave loading Periods of annual leave Personal/carers leave (sick leave) Compassionate leave Public holiday leave This was even though in the context of the Modern Award…

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#1 Identify when a ‘restraint of trade’ clause is necessary Naturally, employers don’t want their former employees setting up shop next door in direct competition of the business. In our experience, the threat of a current or potential employee becoming direct competition doesn’t always cross an employer’s mind until it is too late. Therefore, our…

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Tip 1 – Get it done at the Beginning The single biggest mistake we see is that the participants fail to prepare a shareholders agreement at the outset of the venture. There can be many reasons for this, including but not limited to the following: it may not occur to the parties that they need…

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Redundancy in a transfer of business situation will usually be in circumstances where the “new” employer does not want to bring the employee onboard (for whatever reason) or the employee does accept a suitable alternate position. A recent case before the Fair Work Commission of Gravenall [2020] FWC 4499 (26 August 2020) (Gravenell Case) demonstrates…

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As part of the Modern Award Review there were changes made to some awards from 1 July 2020.   These changes may have the effect of increasing exposure to business risk and costs associated with engaging employees covered under the following Awards: Miscellaneous Award Some changes have included: The clarification of which employees are covered by…

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Payroll Tax is a State imposed tax on employers, assessed by the wages paid to employees, applicable when the total amount of wages paid by an employer or a group of employers exceeds a determined threshold. There are special provisions in these laws for ‘employment agents’ who procure the services of workers for their clients.…

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The Federal Government recently announced the HomeBuilder scheme in an effort to boost Australia’s limping construction sector by providing eligible applicants $25,000 to put towards building a new home or the renovation of an existing one. The scheme is a tax-free grant and is estimated to directly support 140,000 jobs across the country. Eligibility Criteria…

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  In Australia ‘sickies’ have become part of our identifiable culture. They are joked about with work mates and celebrated within social circles, but for businesses they are a serious problem, impacting both the productivity and profitability of an organisation. With a growing number of questionable medical certificates being used to access sick leave, many employers…

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Trusts can be beneficial mechanisms for asset protection and tax purposes. There are various types of trusts each with its advantages and disadvantages depending on the desired purpose. Discretionary trusts, sometimes referred to as family trusts, are particularly beneficial for small businesses and estate planning. There are four main roles in a discretionary trust, as…

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In Unfair Dismissal Applications – an employee must demonstrate their annual rate of earnings at the time of dismissal were below the high income threshold prescribed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)[1] in order to be protected from unfair dismissal. The current high income threshold (applicable to all dismissals taking effect after 1 July…

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Unfair Dismissal Applications – When an employee alleges their termination of employment was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, the Fair Work Commission (the FWC) is required to consider a number of preliminary matters[1] including whether the employee was a person protected from unfair dismissal. One of these matters is whether the employee’s dismissal was a case…

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The Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 is one of the latest pieces of legislation enacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation was made under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Qld) and Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld) with the purpose of mitigating the effect of COVID-19 on small businesses and giving effect to the good faith leasing principles as outlined in the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct.

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Buying a new business can be exciting and full of opportunity for a purchaser. The main expense is of course the purchase price, but there are also other ‘hidden’ immediate costs of the transaction. It is crucial to take note and budget for these costs before signing a contract. Transfer Duty Transfer Duty (also ‘stamp…

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As we step through the long standing effects of COVID-19, JobKeeper starts to dissipate in time and Employers look to restructure their business in response to less demand or increased efficiencies redundancies will be a very usual occurrence. How can Employers reduce their redundancy entitlement payments? Here are 3 factors to consider……… Factor 1 –…

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The Fair Work Commission has vindicated Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ right to request employees on Jobkeeper to take annual leave. Although not going so far as a direction – the words “unreasonable refusal” found in the legislation gives Employers strong grounds to reasonably request employees to take annual leave (with some exceptions) – this is…

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Back in August 2018, the now infamous Workpac v Skene case (Skene) dropped a bombshell on the widely held understanding of what it means to be a casual employee – that is, you get paid more money (casual loading) in exchange for certain entitlements afforded to your permanently employed compadres. The Federal Court of Australia…

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Force Majeure….breach of contract….termination of contract….performance of contract.  Suppliers and service providers alike in industries as diverse as manufacturing and financial services, travel and engineering to marketing and dentistry are feeling the effect of COVID-19  and to a wider extent dispute over contractual obligations. The unprecedented event of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to place stress…

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On Wednesday 22 April 2020, the Queensland Parliament sat for the first time in over a month in an effort to pass emergency measures aimed at supporting Queenslanders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the measures passed include the following: $300 million aimed at relieving the cost of living which includes $200 credit for all…

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Underpayment of wages by major companies has led to a term being coined “wage theft”.  In particular, there has been a push by Unions as well as the Federal and State Governments to put in place criminal penalties for underpayment of wages – wage theft. Woolworths Coles Subway Commonwealth Bank Made Establishment (George Colambaris) Dominos…

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vendor finance

There are situations in which a bank loan is not a possibility when purchasing a business, property or other asset. This may occur because the buyer is unable or unwilling to secure a bank loan for the requested purchase price. However, the seller may be eager to sell their asset and be willing to come…

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As part of its four-yearly review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a decision to insert two new ‘model’ clauses impacting the payment of Annualised Salaries to employees covered by certain awards. These changes are primarily intended to address a lack of uniformity among the range of clauses currently found in…

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NB Lawyers – lawyers for employers recently acted for the Fraser Coast Regional Council (the Council) and successfully obtained a costs order following an unsuccessful application for reinstatement filed by a former employee.[1] We have previously written an article discussing the unsuccessful substantive application (https://www.lawyersforemployers.com.au/application-for-reinstatement-denied). HR Teams in Councils (or any practitioner familiar with employment…

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Purchasing or selling commercial property is a big investment decision which you should seek advice from experienced professionals about including a solicitor, accountant and finance broker before signing a legally binding contract. Commercial contracts generally do not include a cooling off period which is why it is important to engage a solicitor prior to entering…

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harvey bay marina council

Application for Reinstatement, Denied – How Excellent Complaint Management gives Lessons for HR Teams in Councils Our firm has recently acted for the Fraser Coast Regional Council (the Council) in relation to an application for reinstatement before the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC).[1] Following our successful defence of the application for reinstatement, we continued to…

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undoumented loans

Undocumented loans between friends and family It is very common to advance money to a friend or family member for a business or personal expense where they are in financial need. These loans are often verbal without a specified date for repayment. Employers may also lend a sum of money to an employee or other…

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Managing mental illness in the Workplace Managing mental illness in the workplace is difficult for any employer and management team. When dealing with complaints of mental illness in the workplace, from an employment law perspective, it seems to be categorised into three areas: Disclosure of mental health issues either involving work or not involving work  During…

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Property - NB Lawyers

There are several factors to be aware of when developing property in order to do so successfully. It will require sufficient research, planning and securing the right property. Property development involves various complex laws and regulations. Therefore, it is inherent that property developers understand and adhere to the laws in this area. Structure It is…

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hiring, criminal,

The Australian Human Rights Commission Regulations 2019 (Cth) (AHRC Regs) which commenced on 1 October 2019 has clarified that an employer may be found (by the Australian Human Rights Commission) to have discriminated against a prospective employee if they make a distinction, exclusion or preference due to their “irrelevant criminal record”. The Previous Test The…

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Getting a lease

Leases are complex legal documents that can be difficult to understand. We recommend that tenants always consult with a lawyer to advise on the agreement for lease and negotiate lease terms more favourable to you to ensure added security to your business. There are two (2) types of commercial leases, a retail and non-retail lease…

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Facility Management Arrangements may well be a new way for dealing with “contractors” for those in health and allied health sectors. Those who own businesses in the fields of: Doctors, dentists, chiropractors, speech pathology, physiotherapy, optometry; audiology; occupational therapy should take note of the potential to utilise facility management arrangements. Employees are entitled to the…

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