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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 law space have been announced which commence from 1 July 2023. 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 $162,000 to $167,500 from 1 July 2023. This means employees whose annual rate of earnings is $167,500 (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 $81,000 to $83,750. National minimum wage The national minimum wage will increase to $882.80 per week or to $23.23 per hour (calculated on the basis of a 38-hour week ...

26 June 2023

No genuine redundancy where there was opportunity for redeployment with a related entity’s Indian operations despite being overseas and with lower remuneration

Introduction In a recent decision, the Fair Work Commission found an employer was unable to rely upon the “genuine redundancy” defence to an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former full-time Software Engineer. Section 389 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) sets out the meaning of “genuine redundancy”. All of the relevant elements in that section need to be satisfied for the employer to be able to rely upon the defence. In this case the employer failed to satisfy the consultation obligation and the redeployment obligation so the “genuine redundancy” defence to an unfair dismissal claim was not available to the employer.    Job no longer required The Commission found the termination did satisfy s. 389(1)(a) of the FW Act, being that the employer no longer required the employee’s job to be performed by anyone because of changes in the operational requ...

8 May 2023

Employer terminated a casual employee by removing the employee from a WhatsApp group used to allocate shifts

Introduction In this case, the Fair Work Commission considered whether removing a casual employee from a work WhatsApp group on which rosters were distributed constituted a dismissal at the employer’s initiative for the purposes of the employee accessing unfair dismissal laws. Reasoning Deputy President Millhouse explained there may be a dismissal pursuant to s.386(1)(a) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) at “the employer’s initiative” if the circumstances show that the employer’s action is the principal contributing factor leading to the employment termination. It was held the Company’s action in removing the employee from the WhatsApp group was the principal contributing factor which brought the employee’s employment to an end on 10 August 2022. The Deputy President’s reasoning included: The WhatsApp group is the primary means by which shif...

3 April 2023