HR Q&A - What's the BOOT?

Q. We were recently asked by a client what the "BOOT Test" is all about. The question arose in a discussion regarding the potential development of a workplace agreement. A. "BOOT" is an acronym for the Better Off Overall Test , a test applied by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) when considering whether to formally register a workplace agreement propo...
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Record $660,000 Fine for Wages Underpayment

A Melbourne fruit market was recently fined a record $660,000 by the Fair Work Commission for underpaying a newly-arrived refugee worker. The penalty comprised a $16,020 personal fine against the former owner-operator of the fruit market, and $644,000 against the company. The worker was paid as little as $3.50 an hour, as opposed to the Award oblig...
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Managing the Risk of Employee Terminations

​I don't know if it's something in the winter air, but we have in recent weeks received an unusual number of requests from business owners and managers seeking assistance to manage the risks associated with terminating employees after sustained poor performance, or in cases of misconduct. And it appears that they are right to be wary - recent stati...
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Be Prepared: Changes to Casual Employment Likely

Highlighted very recently in the media is a case brought to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to increase the hours of casual employees to part time or full-time hours, effectively facilitating a conversion from casual employment to part time or full-time employment. In its initial decision, which has n...
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HR Q&A: When is Pro-rata Long Service Leave Payable?

We were recently asked to clarify the circumstance under which an employee is entitled to payment of pro-rata Long Service Leave prior to accumulating 10 years of service. Unlike most other terms and conditions of employment, Long Service Leave entitlements are predominantly determined by State-based legislation (though any applicable Awards and Ag...
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Disciplinary Meetings and Support Persons

​Recently we were asked "Is it mandatory for a support person to be present at a disciplinary meeting, and what do I do if the employee wants to delay the meeting because they don't have a support person?"  The short answer to the first part of the question is no - it is not mandatory for the employee to have a support person present. It ...
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Are Probation Periods Still Relevant?

Did you know that probationary periods of employment are no longer a key determinant of a terminated employee's right to lodge an unfair dismissal claim? Indeed, the key determinant is now whether or not the employee was still within their minimum employment period , as defined by the Fair Work Act, at the time of termination (6 months in the case ...
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