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Employment Law and Workplace Relations Monthly Update – January 2021

09 February 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Employment Law and Workplace Relations Monthly Update – January 2021

In the media

Cleaning operator penalised
The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured a penalty in court against the operator of a Ballarat cleaning business (29 January 2021).  More...

Refugees allegedly underpaid
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Court against a major waste management company, alleging almost $200,000 in underpayments of vulnerable migrant workers (28 January 2021).  More...

Former Wyong business in court
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against the former operator of a civil construction business based at Wyong in NSW (11 January 2021).  More...

Dusk signs Enforceable Undertaking
National retail company Dusk Australasia Pty Ltd is back-paying employees more than $2.3 million after entering into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman (29 January 2021).  More... 

Mass walk-off proves costly for 64 employees at Queensland construction project
The Federal Circuit Court has handed down penalties totalling $112,000 against 64 employees who took part in unlawful industrial action at a Fortitude Valley construction site in September 2018 (25 January 2021).  More...

ABCC alleges CFMMEU delegate told subcontractor at Docklands project “you can’t work here” unless he joins union
The ABCC has filed Federal Court proceedings against the CFMMEU and its delegate Jason Roach alleging they coerced and made misrepresentations to a subcontractor that unless their union fees were paid, they could not commence work on the Melbourne Quarter – Commercial Tower 2MQ project (25 January 2021).  More...

Employment rose 50,000 in December
Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 50,000 people between November and December 2020 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The number of employed people in Australia was 88,000 lower in December compared to March, but was 784,000 higher than May (21 January 2021).  More...

Can employers force you to get a vaccination?
Many workplaces say they'll encourage, rather than compel, their staff to get the jab (19 January 2021).  More...

Published reports articles, speeches

Department of Jobs and Small Business: Monthly Leading Indicator of Employment January 2021
The Monthly Leading Indicator of Employment has risen for the seventh consecutive month in January 2021. The Indicator’s rise this month stemming from increases in the NAB Forward Orders index, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index of Activity and Consumer Sentiment indices.  More...

In practice and courts

FWO: JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme
The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive for businesses to employ job seekers between the ages of 16 and 35 years. It enables eligible employers to receive payments for each eligible employee they hire between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. The JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme ends on 6 October 2022. The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Employers can register for the scheme on the ATO’s website here.  More...

Fair Work Commission: 1.75% increase to minimum wages for group 3 awards
Minimum wages in the third and final group of modern awards increase from 1 February 2021. The third group of awards covers the retail, accommodation and food services industries, as well as a range of other industries. Find out more here.

Modern award extensively varied
The Fair Work Commission is extensively varying existing awards as a result of the 4 yearly review of modern awards. To access the new versions of these awards, go to the Modern awards list on the Commission's website.

APH Senate Inquiry
The committee was originally to report to the Senate by the last sitting day in June 2020. On 12 February 2020, the Senate granted the committee an extension to report by 3 December 2020. On 15 June 2020, the Senate granted the committee a further extension to report by the last sitting day in June 2021.  More...


Community and Public Sector Union, NSW Branch v Northcott Supported Living Limited [2021] FCA 8
INDUSTRIAL LAW – where employees formerly employed by one company as “team leaders” now employed by another, related, company, as “service coordinators”, whether a “transfer of business” occurred within s 311 of Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether work performed for new employer is “the same or substantially the same as the work the employee[s] performed for the old employer”.
Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Pt 2-8, 6-3A, ss 14(1), 15AA, 311(1), 768BY
Fair Work Amendment (Transfer of Business) Act 2012 (Cth)
Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 (Cth)

Hill v St Anthony's Tennis Club [2021] FCCA 66
INDUSTRIAL LAW – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – applicant is director of company that provided services to respondent under contract – respondent terminated contract after applicant lodged applications with the Fair Work Commission alleging respondent bullied him and contravened general protection provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) – respondent terminated the contract – applicant applies for relief under FW Act alleging contract was terminated in contravention of s 340 of the FW Act – applicant applied for interlocutory relief for reinstatement of contract – whether the applicant has reasonably arguable case that he has standing to apply for relief in relation to termination of the contract – whether applicant otherwise has reasonably arguable case that respondent contravened s 340 of the FW Act – whether balance of convenience favours the granting of interlocutory relief – application for interlocutory injunction refused.
Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) ss 12, 340, 341(1), 342(1), 360, 361(1), 3

Schreiber v The University of Queensland [2021] FCCA 48
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – amendment of pleadings – adding a new cause of action after the limitation period has expired.
HIGH COURT AND FEDERAL COURT – Federal Circuit Court – procedure – ending proceedings early – summary disposal or stay.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Commonwealth – terms and conditions of employment – leave – parental leave – whether s.84 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) imposes an obligation upon an employer.



Act Compilation

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009
18/01/2021 – Act No. 86 of 1988 as amended.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.

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