contractual entitlements Archives - MDC Legal

Keeping it casual: Casual employee entitled to annual leave

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WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has rejected WorkPac’s argument that the “industrial meaning” of the term “casual employee” has been incorporated into the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) for the purpose of the National Employment Standards (NES).

Instead, the Court held the essence of the casual employment relationship is the “absence of a firm advance commitment as to the duration of the employee’s employment or the days (or hours) the employee will work”.

Whether an employee is a “casual employee” should be determined by looking at indicia of casual employment, the conduct of the parties and the real substance, practical reality and true nature of the relationship.

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Are you being underpaid? Are you underpaying your staff?

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Fair Work Ombudsman audit

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recently conducted an audit of businesses throughout the eastern states of Australia which found that found that 72% of the businesses had breached workplace laws.[1] The audit resulted in the recovery of $471,904 for 616 workers across the 234 businesses audited. The most common breach was an underpayment of hourly rates, followed by non-existent or inadequate employment records.

“72% of businesses had breached workplace laws”

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Directing an employee to attend an independent medical assessment

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The winter months often bring an increase in employees’ use of personal leave, primarily due to illness. An employee’s brief and temporary absence, whether due to illness or even injury, supported by adequate medical evidence, can usually be managed by the employer without issue.

However, difficulty and uncertainty arise where an employee takes extended personal leave with medical evidence that has little or no detail on the illness or injury suffered, or which offers no foreseeable return to work date. An employee’s extended absence can pose significant issues for the management and operation of a business. Navigating this situation can become increasingly complex if an employee has taken personal leave in response to a disciplinary or performance management process.

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