Articles


I’ve rectified an underpayment to my employees. Do I need to tell the FWO?

Industrial Instruments

Each week a different employer is self-disclosing underpayments of wages to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). In the face of recent adverse media publicity about award breaches and so-called ‘wage theft’, non-complying employers perceive there is a positive in letting […]

By Charles Power on November 6th, 2019

Your questions answered: Do employer and employee notice periods need to be the same?

Industrial Instruments

Q We would like to extend the notice period to 4 weeks for all employees regardless of length of service. Is it possible to do this just for employees, as we would be looking to keep the employer notice period […]

By Portner Press on November 6th, 2019

Ignoring complaints of overwork could make an employee’s resignation a dismissal

Industrial Instruments

You will dismiss someone for the purposes of unfair dismissal laws if they are forced to resign because of your conduct or a course of conduct engaged in by you. The test is whether your actions result directly or consequentially […]

By Charles Power on November 4th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can our employees be made to take annual leave or unpaid leave during our company’s Christmas closure?

Industrial Instruments

Q Our company closes over Christmas and New Year each year. If an employee’s annual leave balance is not sufficient to cover this closure period, we ask our staff to take advanced annual leave. Can we provide them with an […]

By Portner Press on November 4th, 2019

Your questions answered: Do we have to pay our casual employee extra on Saturday?

Industrial Instruments

Q If a casual is asked to work Saturday (which is not part of their normal roster) what rate do we have to pay? (i.e. overtime rates or Saturday rates?) A Generally, the casual employee would be entitled to be […]

By Portner Press on October 28th, 2019

What is work entitling the worker to wages?

Industrial Instruments

If you request or require your employee to perform work over a particular period, you will trigger an obligation to pay the employee for the hours she or he works. In very many industries it is common for employees to […]

By Charles Power on October 25th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we ‘downgrade’ an employee’s part-time position?

Industrial Instruments

Q We have an employee who works in administration in a permanent part-time position. Management wishes to move her to a casual position (of lesser ‘status’) in another department. Are we are within the law to make this change? If […]

By Portner Press on October 21st, 2019

Commissioner seeks ‘robust consequences’ for employees who waste FWC time

Industrial Instruments

In Diane Porteous v G. Kakafikas and A.G. Bek partnership t/a Yarra Glen Pharmacy (2019), Fair Work Commission (FWC) Deputy President Alan Colman called to task an employee for wasting the time of the Commission and her employer. Deputy President […]

By Portner Press on October 9th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we refuse an employee’s request to reduce work hours?

Industrial Instruments

Q An employee has requested to work her same hours but spread over 4 days instead of her usual 5 days. This employee does not have any protected attributes. We don’t wish to approve this request as it will have […]

By Portner Press on October 7th, 2019

Federal Government considering a major overhaul of industrial relations laws

Industrial Instruments

The Federal Government recently initiated a process to consider changes to Australian industrial relations laws in a number of areas. A discussion paper raises the prospect of new criminal penalties imposed for worker exploitation, to complement existing offences for serious […]

By Charles Power on October 2nd, 2019