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Changes to the Unfair Dismissal Remuneration Cap, National Minimum Wage, Minimum Award Rates and Filing Fees

Introduction New award rates, unfair dismissal thresholds and other changes in the employment arena have been announced, some of which commence from 1 July 2022. These are some of the main changes.   Unfair dismissal threshold (high income threshold) and maximum compensation cap The high income threshold will increase from the previous $158,500 to $162,000 from 1 July 2022. This means employees whose annual rate of earnings is $162,000 (which excludes statutory superannuation) or more, and who are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement, are unable to pursue an unfair dismissal application. The change also means that the maximum compensation that can be awarded for an unfair dismissal claim will increase from $79,250 to $81,000. National minimum wage The national minimum wage will increase to $812.60 per week or to $21.38 per hour (calculated on the basis of a 38-hour week for a full-time emp...

28 June 2022

Settlement agreement reached at conciliation enough to dismiss unfair dismissal application despite no signed settlement agreement

A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission has confirmed that the settlement of an unfair dismissal claim at conciliation can be binding and result in the employee’s claim being dismissed by the Commission, even if the employee later refuses to sign a written settlement agreement. The employee was unsuccessful in her attempt to continue her unfair dismissal claim after the Fair Work Commission found that the parties had reached a binding settlement agreement at the conciliation. The Commission found there had been a settlement of the claim notwithstanding the fact that the employee refused to sign a settlement document because it contained a clause she objected to, namely, a term preventing her from ever seeking employment with the same  employer in the future. The issue for the Commission was “if a settlement agreement was reached in conciliation and, if it was, whether it was subject to written terms or whether it was agreed that it would be redu...

30 May 2022

A Full Federal Court decision confirms that an approved enterprise agreement remains legally binding even where deficiencies in making the agreement are later discovered

In an important case regarding the enforceability of approved enterprise agreements, a Full Federal Court has held that an enterprise agreement approved by the Fair Work Commission will remain legally binding, even if it is subsequently discovered that there were deficiencies in the agreement-making and approval process. Contextual background After the relevant EA was approved by the FWC in 2017, it was discovered that a number of pre-approval steps failed to meet the requirements of the Fair Work Act. In particular, about 40% of relevant employees were deprived of the opportunity to vote on the EA. The Full Federal Court “safely assumed” that had the FWC known of that issue when the application was made for the approval of the 2017 EA, the EA would not have been approved by the FWC. When the voting deficiency became known to the employer and the union, they began negotiating another enterprise agreement and ultimately a new enterpri...

5 April 2022