Office staff get to keep pandemic flex time

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 24-Dec-20

The Fair Work Commission has extended flexible working arrangements for employees who are covered by the clerks award until the end of June 2021. The ordinary hours of work for clerical employees while telecommuting were extended beyond traditional working hours earlier in 2020, in response to the coronavirus. The FWC has also introduced additional flexibilities with regard to the hours of work for clerical staff while working from home.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Union calls for minimum wage for fruit pickers

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 6 : 16-Dec-20

The Australian Workers’ Union will push for changes to the Horticulture Award to address the issue of wage exploitation in the sector. The ASU has applied to the Fair Work Commission to vary the industry award to include a wage floor for seasonal farm workers. The union’s proposal would provide a guaranteed minimum wage of $24.80 an hour, although piece rates would still be allowed. A recent investigation found that some fruit-pickers in the in the Coffs Harbour region of New South Wales were being paid just $3 an hour.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Union takes Tax Office bosses to Federal Court in work from home row

Original article by Noel Towell
The Age – Page: Online : 9-Dec-20

The Australian Services Union has commenced legal action against senior executives at the Australian Taxation Office. The ASU alleges that the executives – including Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan – were in breach of workplace laws and the ATO’s enterprise agreement, which includes working at home provisions. The union claims that ATO staff who had been working from home due to the pandemic were ordered to return to their offices without the required notice period when the federal government announced stimulus measures such as the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SERVICES UNION, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

IR reforms could save billions in back pay

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 2-Dec-20

The federal government’s industrial relations omnibus bill will be put before parliament before it rises for the year. The bill is expected to be discussed at a cabinet meeting on 2 December, along with a proposed legislative response to the Workpac v Rossato case. The Federal Court ruled that casual staff who work "regular and predictable" hours are entitled to benefits such as paid annual leave in addition to a casual loading. The government is believed to be considering reforms that would allow employers to use a casual worker’s 25 per cent loading to help offset any retrospective leave liability.

CORPORATES
FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

WHSmith admits underpaying 1500 workers by $2.2 million

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: Online : 6-Nov-20

WHSmith Australia has agreed to an enforceable undertaking after admitting that its employees had been underpaid some $2.2m between October 2013 and April 2019. The underpayment affected about 1,500 employees of the retailer, which has provided backpay totalling $2.257m to past and present staff. The company, which reported the underpayment to the Fair Work Ombudsman, will also make a ‘contrition payment’ of $50,000.

CORPORATES
WH SMITH AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN

‘CFMEU totally dysfunctional’: O’Connor quits

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 6-Nov-20

Michael O’Connor has resigned as national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union. O’Connor has attributed his departure to disunity caused by the ongoing fallout from a dispute with John Setka, the head of the union’s Victorian division. He says the CFMMEU is no longer united in purpose, and people within the organisation are not willing to work together or act in the interests of the union and its members. His departure is likely to strengthen the influence of Setka within the CFMMEU.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Unions push for better protections as 80% of employees say they want to keep working from home

Original article by Paul Karp
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 4-Nov-20

The ACTU proposes to adopt a charter of rights about working from home. The charter covers issues such as a safe working environment and the right to be compensated for all hours worked from home. Meanwhile, the ACTU has released a survey of 10,000 workers which found that 81 per cent want to keep working from home if they have sufficient support from their employer. Some 47% of respondents said they are more productive at home, while 49 per cent reported experiencing a mental health issue due to working from home.

CORPORATES
ACTU

Collective bargaining win a big step for gig workers

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 28-Oct-20

University of Sydney labour law professor Shae McCrystal has welcomed a decision to grant a class exemption for small businesses and franchisees to collectively negotiate with suppliers and customers. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s ruling will allow independent contractors and gig economy workers to engage in collective bargaining. However, the Transport Workers’ Union contends that the ruling will not protect gig economy workers from being sacked by companies such as Uber.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, TRANSPORT WORKERS’ UNION, UBER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Watchdog probes sabotage claims at Probuild, Watpac

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 28-Oct-20

The Australian Building & Construction Commission has informed a Senate estimates hearing that it is investigating work stoppages at building sites in Sydney. The New South Wales branch of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has cited safety issues as the reason for the industrial action that has targeted Probuild and Watpac. The safety blitz has coincided with the CFMMEU’s push to get the two companies to sign a new enterprise agreement. The proposed pay deal includes annual pay rises of five per cent and revised arrangements for rostered days off.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, PROBUILD PTY LTD, WATPAC LIMITED

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