Littler Global Guide - Australia - Q1 2017

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

View all Q1 2017 Global Guide Quarterly updates

The Fair Work Commission Cuts Sunday Penalty Rates

Enacted Legislation

The Fair Work Commission Cuts Sunday Penalty Rates by up to 50 percentage points for the hospitality, retail, fast food and pharmacy industries and reduced public holiday rates in five statutory modern awards, in a landmark ruling on February 23, 2017. The Commission conducts a review of the modern awards each four years and this is the first time that the pay rates or penalties have been reduced. A phase-in approach will be adopted but the Commission has yet to rule on when the changes will take effect. The Commission would not, however, agree to cut penalty rates for the restaurant industry, finding that employers in the industry had failed to show sufficient merits. Citation: Four yearly review of modern awards - Penalty Rates [2017] FWCFB 1001 (23 February 2017)]

Allowing Employers to Limit Employee Entitlement by Contract

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

The Court of Appeal of Alberta’s decision in Styles on January 4, 2017, clarifies employee is not eligible for a bonus because employment contract sets out eligibility only if the employee remained actively employed after four years of employment and the employee was terminated prior to the four-year mark, although trial judge held that courts have the ability to review contractual terms for fairness to both parties, despite the clear intentions of the parties to otherwise limit or establish their rights.

Anti-Discrimination Pilot Program

Important Action by Regulatory Agency

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission supports an anti-discrimination recruitment pilot program that was launched by the Victorian Government. The 18-month pilot process will de-identify personal details – such as names, genders, ages, and locations – to reduce potential bias during the application process. The Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Treasury and Finance, WorkSafe, VicHealth, the Transport Accident Commission, Westpac, Ai Group and accounting firm PwC are some of the partners to have signed up for the trial.

H&M’s Loss on Enterprise Agreement

Important Action by Regulatory Agency

Deputy President Bull at Fair Work Commission dismissed the application to approve H&M Enterprise Agreement 2016 on the basis that it did not satisfactorily meet the ‘Better Off Overall Test’ (BOOT). The SDA, the union representing retail, fast food and warehouse workers, for H&M workers were opposing the enterprise agreement.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.