Qantas lodges JobKeeper appeal

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 15-Oct-20

Qantas will appeal the Federal Court’s recent ruling that the airline has misused the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme. Lawyers have warned that the court’s ruling has implications for all businesses that pay employees in arrears. The Business Council of Australia and the Council of Small Business Organisations are among the employers’ groups that will lobby the federal government to fix the anomaly, which arises if a business has a different pay cycle to that of JobKeeper’s fortnightly pay cycle.

CORPORATES
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

Builders slam BCA’s union deal

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 18-Sep-20

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn has confirmed reports that she left a meeting of the federal government’s industrial relations working group "in disgust" over revelations that the Business Council of Australia had struck a deal with the ACTU. The proposed deal would allow union enterprise agreements to be approved within 14 days; employers had pushed for all agreements to be approved within this time-frame. Wawn has expressed concern that amongst other things, the fast-tracked process for union agreements will favour large companies over small businesses.

CORPORATES
MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, ACTU

Working at home becomes flexible

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 1-Sep-20

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross says the growth in telecommuting has been one of the most significant changes to working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. He notes that the majority of modern industrial awards do not expressly include provision for working from home. Ross has released a model flexibility schedule that could potentially be inserted in some awards. Amongst other things, employees would be able to ask to work the same hours over fewer days, ‘buy’ additional leave or take twice as much leave at half-pay. Meanwhile, casual workers would be able to request flexible working arrangements after six months of ‘regular and systematic’ employment.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Thatcher claim fighting words to Labor, ACTU

Original article by Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 4 : 27-Jul-20

Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson has backed a push to extend temporary changes to the Fair Work Act for employers that will not be eligible for the JobKeeper scheme after September. He has urged Labor and the ACTU to support extending the emergency measures, which allow bosses to vary the hours an employee works and the duties they perform. Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers has expressed concern that the federal government wants to adopt an industrial relation policy similar to that of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU

Fair Work flags reprieve on underpayment

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 13-Jul-20

Restaurants, cafes and horticulture are among the sectors that the Fair Work Ombudsman tends to focus upon regarding wage underpayments. However, the FWO notes that businesses in these sectors are likely to be under severe financial stress because of COVID-19. As a result, it is prepared to take no legal action against businesses in these circumstances as well as considering the reduction of ‘contrition payments’, provided that their non-compliance was not "egregious or deliberate". The FWO will make large companies its 2020-21 focus so far as underpayments are concerned.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Virus slowdown: call to waive penalty rates

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 9-Jul-20

The Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association want the Fair Work Commission to make temporary changes to the construction industry award in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union opposes any move to vary the award so construction workers do not receive penalty rates for working outside their regular hours. Richard Crookes Constructions is among the building firms that have expressed support for temporary changes to the award.

CORPORATES
MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, HOUSING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION LIMITED, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, RICHARD CROOKES CONSTRUCTIONS PTY LTD

Fair Work backs penalty rates waiver

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 1-Jul-20

The Australian Services Union has failed in its bid to end flexible working arrangements for administrative employees who are covered by the clerks award. The ordinary hours of work for clerical employees while telecommuting were extended beyond traditional working hours in response to the coronavirus. The deal regarding overtime and penalty rates was initially slated to end on 30 June, but the full bench of the Fair Work Commission has agreed to extend it until the end of September.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SERVICES UNION, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Reform to offset slump in mine jobs

Original article by Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 6 : 29-Jun-20

The Australian Mines & Metals Association has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could result in the loss of between 24,000 and 48,000 jobs in the resources and energy sector in the absence of any new projects. AMMA CEO Steve Knott argues that this would be offset by $250bn worth of proposed projects in the sector that would create 100,000 jobs by 2026. However, he says the federal government’s industrial relations working group on greenfields agreements must secure backing for a proposal to allow new workplace deals to cover the entire construction phase of new projects. Members of the working group met for the first time on 26 June.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED)

Shop workers union open to simpler IR rules

Original article by Natasha Gillezeau, David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 26-Jun-20

The Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association’s national secretary Gerard Dwyer says it is open to the idea of making enterprise bargaining more straightforward. He says that if an agreement has satisfied the ‘better off overall test’ and the majority of employees are in favour of it, then it should not take 12 months to get the agreement ratified. Dwyer has also attacked the rival Retail & Fast Food Workers Union, which has challenged some SDA agreements in the Fair Work Commission, saying it is a political organisation rather than an industrial one.

CORPORATES
SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, RETAIL AND FAST FOOD WORKERS UNION INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Wage rise an assault on small business

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Weekend Australian – Page: 3 : 20-Jun-20

Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson has criticised the decision to increase the minimum wage at a time when the economy and the labour market have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox warns that the minimum wage rise of 1.75 per cent will affect hiring intentions at a time when unemployment and underemployment have increased sharply. Professor Mark Wooden is the only member of the Fair Work Commission’s wage panel to have pushed for the minimum wage to be frozen for 12 months.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION