Guides

Casuals and Jobkeeper: casual absenteeism and disciplinary processes

By Andrew Piper and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal   Although reasonably new (and still changing), the JobKeeper program has, so far, had a mixed effect on businesses. Whilst some employers have embraced it wholeheartedly others, especially those with a workforce comprised largely of casual employees usually earning less than $1,500 a fortnight, have been more hesitant to undertake the significant cost increase to meet the requirements of the scheme. In the retail industry in particular, the NRA has been receiving reports of casual employees making themselves unavailable for work for unsupported reasons or indeed no reason at all, secure in the knowledge that…

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The essential guide to redundancy during COVID-19

By Calum Woods and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal The unprecedented disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) has left many employers considering their immediate options to reduce expenditure over the coming weeks and months. In most cases, substantial cost-savings may be able to be achieved by consulting with employees about reducing their hours of work by agreement or taking annual leave until the business is able to recover. However, should these avenues prove unsuccessful the only option available to employers to ensure the continuation of their business may be to make positions redundant. Where at least 15 employees are made redundant, employers are also required to…

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Employ staff on a salary? Here’s what you need to know

By Andrew Piper and Calum Woods, NRA Legal It is a common misconception that once an employee is paid a salary, a modern award no longer applies to their employment. Whether a modern award applies to a person mostly depends on the duties they perform, and while their salary can be indicative of their level of responsibility, it is by no means determinative. Some modern awards (for example, the General Retail Industry Award 2010) do not provide any heightened obligations when an employee is paid a salary compared to when they are paid on an hourly basis. Under these awards, the…

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Loaded Rates in Enterprise Agreements: Balancing efficiency against costs

By Thomas Parer and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal The Fair Work Commission has recently handed down a significant decision to approve two enterprise agreements for ALDI stores which included ‘loaded rates’, after being the only agreements of five not to be dismissed in last year’s notable ‘Loaded Rates Agreement Case’.[1] Loaded rates in enterprise agreements are one of the more misunderstood features of the Australian industrial relations landscape, however in this article we will attempt to bring some clarity to how employers should handle loaded rates in existing and proposed enterprise agreements. What are loaded rates? Loaded rates are a…

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Affected by bushfire? A guide to managing your employees during a natural disaster

By Thomas Parer and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal With many Queensland and New South Wales residents displaced from homes due to large-scale bushfires and wide swathes of the country on high fire alert, many employers are contending with the impact these natural disasters may have on their business and their employees. This is why it is important for employers to understand their rights in managing employees in the midst of a natural disaster. Section 524 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provides that employers may “stand down” an employee without pay during a period in which the employee cannot…

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Mental health and discrimination

De-mystifying discrimination and mental health By Thomas Parer and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal The last major study into mental health in Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed that 15% of Australians had experienced an affective disorder like depression, while 26.3% have experienced an anxiety disorder. The increasing awareness of mental health amongst the general population also means that workers are more aware than ever of the potential for their employers to discriminate against them on the basis of these conditions. So what is an employer to do when it comes to mitigating a potential claim against them for…

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The truth about “reasonable additional hours”

By Calum Woods and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal After part-time employment, reasonable additional hours is one the most commonly misunderstood concepts for employers in the retail and quick service industries. In fact, even the question “how many additional hours would be considered reasonable?” betrays a misapprehension of the topic, as the answer is particular to your business and often different for each individual employee. In this article, we break down the top 3 most common myths about “reasonable additional hours”, and what it means for your business. (X) number of hours are “reasonable” for an employee to work The Fair Work Act…

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The part-time employment dilemma and why it’s the most inflexible category

By Zoe Brodie and Calum Woods, NRA Legal What category you choose to employ someone under (full-time, part-time or casual) has more implications than simply a cost analysis of annual/sick leave or casual loading. There’s more to think about than whether to trade job security for the ability to readily downsize your workforce, or the ability to set an annualised salary. While the intricacies between permanent and casual employees have been well documented, less has been said about part-time and full-time employees. In fact, under the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (Retail Award) and Fast Food Industry Award 2010 (Fast Food…

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