Employers face tough new worker protection laws
Some Australian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) with 14 or fewer employees approach staffing arrangements in the firm belief they are exempted from national unfair dismissal laws.
For many people struggling at work due to bullying, there are a number of laws in place for Australian employees they can utilise via the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) if they are facing any difficulties at their place of employment.
It makes sense that in order to own the copyright for a piece of work, you must be the first person to create the work in question. However, there’ll be many people who will produce something either as an employee under a contract of service for an employer, or as part of a newspaper or magazine, then the question of copyright becomes less straight forward.
It’s not an unusual occurrence in an Australian workplace to bump into a fellow employee who is a contractor. However, unlike ‘regular employees’ (for the lack of a better term), contractors inhabit their own category of employment and are governed by a different system of regulation concerning matters such as taxation, award conditions and unfair contracts. As a consequence of the unique status that a contractor holds, it’s important to be aware of how the status of a contractor is determined, and some of the legislation that may govern the role of contractors.
The Australian government recently announced the abolishment of the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa). The subclass 457 visa will be replaced by a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS visa) visa that will come into effect on March 2018. The TSS visa will include a Short-Term stream of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years. Additionally, the Government has also made a number of changes relating to the employer sponsored permanent skilled visa which this piece will also explore.
Employees who have suffered some sort of professional loss, that can include demotion or being denied further employment opportunities, may have some protections available in relation to unfair dismissal or unlawful termination under the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)(the Act).
Australian employees are entitled to go to work and not suffer discrimination either from a manager, or fellow co-workers. Numerous laws are in place at both the State and federal level protecting workers from discrimination and anyone who believes they may be suffering from discrimination in the workplace, should contact a lawyer who will be able to help.
Modern awards are set up to ensure fairness for employees who may not be in a position to bargain for better pay rates or conditions. In instances where employees and employers reach an agreement on improved conditions, or exchange one benefit in lieu of another, enterprise agreements are generally used which are enforceable documents that take precedence over a modern award.
Many of us when deciding upon leaving a place of work, will do so without giving it a second thought. However, there may be some instances where notice has been provided, but either the employer or employee may then wish to retract the notice. Therefore, the obvious question is: Can notice be withdrawn?
We’ve all probably had jobs as teenagers that may have involved flipping burgers, serving coffee, or some sort of apprenticeship – all without thinking too much about the contract of employment. However, if we actually took a moment to reflect, the question that may arise is: How does the law give efficacy to employment contracts signed by a minor? In most instances, a child is unable to enter into a contractual relationship until they reach 18 years of age. Yet, when we head over to the local fast food restaurant and order a burger with fries, we’re almost certainly going to be served by someone who still cannot legally purchase alcohol. So what gives?
That was the simple bit in regards to this area of law.
There are numerous legislative and common law measures in place to ensure the safety of employees, and if an employer is at fault for injury or harm to an employee during the course of their duties, an employer may be liable for compensation due to a breach of their duty of care.
The status of employees can take a number of forms, and depending on the type of employment relationship, the rights and obligations will differ, and in the case of contractors, can do so quite significantly. This piece will provide an introduction to the characteristics that make up an independent contractor.
Anyone who has been employed in the same place for a significant amount of time will oftentimes have their role evolve, whether it is to do with the addition of extra duties, responsibilities, and obligations. It’s only natural. However, the contract of employment does not reflect the professional evolution of an employee and can remain rather static. Therefore, the question that needs to be asked is: Can an employment contract be varied?
Employees in Australia generally have strong protections from actions of unfair dismissal, however, what happens in circumstances where an employer initiates investigative or disciplinary processes against an employee? Are there any laws relating to what is appropriate? Do employees have the right to be informed that they are being investigated or facing possible disciplinary action? There are a number of laws in place to answer the previous questions, and before continuing with our discussion, we should point out that this piece will primarily be looking at the common law position.
There are many jobs where employees are privy to confidential information, therefore, it’s essential that there are laws in place that protect an employer against unauthorised disclosure by an employee during, or after the term of employment – especially when talking about highly sensitive information. There are a number of elements in relation to the laws associated with confidential information, however, this piece will primarily focus on the contractual obligations of confidentiality.
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