The major changes to employment legislation that have come into
effect this year include:
Fair Work Australia is now known as the Fair Work
Since 1 January 2013, Fair Work Australia has changed its name
and is now called the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
It is still in the process of changing all of its forms to reflect
the new title. It has also acquired the website www.fwc.gov.au, but www.fwa.gov.au still works.
Unfair dismissal time limit is now 21 days
Also part of the same legislative amendments as the name change,
the time limit for applications for unfair dismissal application
has been extended from 14 to 21 days. Applications for an extension
of time will still be possible where there are extenuating
General protections time limit reduced to 21 days
The general protections provisions, including claims of adverse
action, are complex provisions that ultimately end up in the
Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court if they are pursued.
What the FWC has experienced over the last few years was that
because the time limit for general protections applications was 60
days, employees who missed the unfair dismissal cut off were
inappropriately attempting a general protections claim. To reduce
the incidence of this and ensure a consistent time limitation, the
time limit for general protections applications is now 21 days.
This may also have a consequence of reducing the number of
general protections applications.
Gender diversity reporting
Reporting figures are steadily emerging as a result of the 1
January 2011 requirement that publically listed companies set
gender diversity targets, and report on these targets or provide an
explanation about why they are not in place. Annual reporting is to
include achievements against gender objectives set by the board,
and the proportion of women in senior management and wider company
It appears that just this accountability measure has had a
positive influence on female board appointments. Towards the end of
2012, a KPMG study of 211 ASX listed companies found that within
that sample, 129 companies disclosed they had established a
diversity policy, and 76 of them reported having established
measureable objectives for achieving gender diversity.
Most companies in the sample disclosed statistics on women
appointments, including senior-level and board representation.
Those that had not adopted the ASX diversity recommendations
commonly said it was because of their "size and
1 July 2013 - are you ready?
Are you prepared for the first of several periodic increases to
the rate of superannuation payable on employee income? If your
employees are on a super inclusive package, we recommend that you
review the terms of their employment and in particular, the way in
which superannuation was expressed, as this may effect whether the
increase is payable in addition to the amount earned.
This is also an opportune time to review your employment
contracts in general.
For most employers, it will be a simple matter of increasing the
rate of superannuation from 1 July 2013, when it becomes 9.25%. The
superannuation increases over time are as follows:
Super guarantee rate
1 July 2003 - 30 June 2013
1 July 2013 - 30 June 2014
1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015
1 July 2015 - 30 June 2016
1 July 2016 - 30 June 2017
1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018
1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019
1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020 and onwards
Please see our article regarding changes to 457 visa
requirements for employers, particularly satisfying the genuine
needs requirement. From 1 July 2013, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)
will be checking compliance to ensure that 457 visa holders are
being paid at the market rates specified in the employer's
approved nomination application and that the job being done by the
457 visa holder matches the job title and description approved in
the nomination and visa application.
Trend for 2013 – Tackling Workplace Bullying and other
Fair Work Changes
Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Treasurer Scott Morrison recently announced changes to a number of 2016 Budget superannuation contribution measures.
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