Common sense prevails – High Court settles crucial Personal Leave debate

Early in July, the appeal against the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia’s August 2019 decision in Mondelez v AMWU & Ors [2019] FCAFC 138 was heard before the High Court of Australia. This morning, just shy of one year to the day the Federal Court issued the significant decision, the High Court has set aside the ruling.

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High Court Appeal heard on Personal Leave Test Case

UPDATE: The High Court handed down its decision in this matter on 13 August 2020 – catch-up in our related article here.

Most employers will likely recall that, in August last year, a Full Federal Court handed down a significant – and, for the most part, unexpected – decision, finding that the entitlement to “10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave” contained within the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was to be interpreted as 10 “working days” for all permanent employees. According to the Federal Court, this entitlement to 10 “working days” per year also extends to part-timers, regardless of the number of hours or days they work per week.

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Qld Government seeks to criminalise wage theft

Earlier this month, the Palaszczuk Government introduced the Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Wage Theft) Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill) into the Queensland Parliament, which, according to Industrial Relations Minister, Grace Grace, will amend criminal legislation “to target employers who commit serious and deliberate wage theft” whilst creating a “simple, quick and low-cost wage recovery process for Queenslanders who suffer underpayment of their wages”.

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UPDATE: More flexibility for Paid Parental Leave scheme

In February, we advised clients of the Government’s proposal to allow for more flexibility around the taking of Government-funded paid parental leave. Despite the obvious barriers to Parliamentary business posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Act 2020 (the Act) received Royal Assent on 16 June and came into force on 1 July 2020.

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JobKeeper Disputes round-up

In April, when changes were made to the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) to support the JobKeeper scheme, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) was also attributed new powers to handle JobKeeper disputes. Reportedly, the FWC was flooded with more than 200 applications by the first week of May, but only around 25% of claims fell within the Commission’s jurisdiction. Although roughly 60% of early JobKeeper disputes were withdrawn because they fell outside of the new jurisdiction, the trend of claims being lodged that the FWC does not have the power to determine has continued unabated.

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