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PIAA slams ‘measly’ unfair dismissal fee

Thursday, 28 June 2018
By Print21
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Printing Industries condemned a Fair Work Commission decision to increase by just $1.30 the amount that an employee must pay to file an unfair dismissal claim.

‘An indictment of the Australian industrial relations system’: Paul Mitchell, PIAA.

“This is nothing more than a round of drinks for a pro-employee lawyer or union to fund whereas employers have to expend considerably more money to defend themselves at the Commission,” says the PIAA’s national workplace relations manager, Paul Mitchell. “This is not justice; this is a tragedy. It is an indictment of the Australian industrial relations system. The Fair Work Commission on Unfair Dismissal Applications is unfair to employers.”

The FWC has announced that from 1 July 2018, the revised rate to file an unfair dismissal, general protections and anti-bullying application with the commission will rise from $70.60 to $71.90.

The PIAA, which describes the increase as “measly,” has long advocated for an increase of the filing fee of at least $1,000 to give employees, pro-employee lawyers and the unions “skin in the game.”

“The moment an unfair dismissal application is lodged you can immediately write off two days of work as a minimum defending an unfair dismissal claim until conciliation,” says Mitchell. “Not only is this two days where a director or senior employee is on company time getting paid for nothing, they are also not making any money either. It is a double whammy.

“Regrettably, this is why over 80% of unfair dismissals settle. Employers weigh up the cost of fighting a matter and it is often a commercial decision to settle. I have seen many cases where the merits of a dispute have been skewed so far in favour of an employer, yet they make a commercial decision to settle due to the time and effort it will take to fight the matter. This includes the preparation of evidence, statements, attendances at hearings, telephone calls, emails, the list goes on and on.”

The Printing Industries solution is let the unions and pro-employee lawyers pay. “If the claim is genuine, they will find the money,” Mitchell says. “If it is vexatious, they will not pay. Having employees or their representatives cough up some money from the outset is a sure way to sort the chaff from the wheat, the genuine claims from the non-genuine ones.”

Mitchell encourages PIAA members to get in touch should they have any concerns about terminating employees.

8 Responses to “PIAA slams ‘measly’ unfair dismissal fee”

  1. June 28, 2018 at 1:58 pm,

    P. Rinter

    I think it’s time for the PIAA to come clean and admit their cunning plan to reestablish their acronym to the IPA. Again this organisation shows how out of touch it is by parroting LNP messaging points and trying to pretend that it has relevance to our industry.
    For Mitchell (a former Young Liberal) to claim a filing fee of $1000 is reasonable is ridiculous. Try finding $1000 when a boss turfs you out without paying wages.
    I guess when PIAA bonuses are up (as recently reported) $1000, is simply a long lunch to these guys

  2. June 28, 2018 at 3:25 pm,


    Probably the worst piece of PR campaigning the PIAA have ever done since they came up with that awful ‘technicolor yodel’ Australia-shaped logo that left Tassie off the map.
    While there are undoubtedly flawed employee claims at the FWC, there are many more that have merit due to employer behaviour such as sexual harassment, discrimination, underpayment of wages, non-payment of super…need I go on?

  3. June 28, 2018 at 3:47 pm,

    P. Rinter

    And whilst on the subject of the PIAA relevance, take a look at the double page spread in this month’s Print21 (Pages 6&7). “Our Industry Our Focus” a lovely image of a printer looking to future guided by the shining lights if the PIAA. Pity the image has been transposed (Back to front for those in the PIAA that are yet to learn the jargon)
    if you want to be taken seriously by the membership, if you want to build members, if you want to provide industry leadership, then a great start is not to make rookie mistakes in your advertising. In the real world if a printer did this for a campaign they simply wouldn’t be paid.

  4. July 02, 2018 at 1:46 pm,


    PIAA you should be ashamed of this article.

    Everyone knows the Print Industry is a declining industry. look at recent events in QLD with John Ferguson selling Fergies Print a family owned business to QLD competitor PrintCraft. Approx 40 loyal, skilled print employees out of work.

    Other print equipment vendors (Canon/Ricoh/FX) continue to shed experienced & skilled staff via dubious (investigations, intimidation, whistle-blower threats, discrimination etc). Without an affordable fee through the Fair Work Commission, the average worker would have no avenue to have their claims heard.

    Try researching a topic from all perspectives next time. You may even learn about the hardships employees in the print industry face every day.

  5. July 03, 2018 at 7:47 pm,

    Lachlan Follett

    Well done to the great team at the PIAA, including IR manager Paul Mitchell for his relentless advocacy for small business printers and the printing community. Pay no attention to the peanuts above, it’s too easy to lob insults from the peanut gallery and much harder to fight everyday for the thousands of hard working printers around Australia.

  6. July 04, 2018 at 2:30 pm,

    Inky McFee

    I’d like to know the actual number of claims made within the print industry. I’d suggest its a pretty small number and in essence irrelevant once you took out the bonafide complaints. How I yearn for the days when Hagop could regale me monthly with tales of a shrinking GDP……

  7. July 10, 2018 at 7:21 pm,


    PIAA IR has no idea. It’s self-serving propaganda that an employer must write off a min 2 days to defend an unfair dismissal, and all that just for conciliation. Any employer forced to waste that much time has an IR adviser who is a waste of space. The PIAA says it ‘has long advocated for an increase of the filing fee of at least $1,000″. More puffery – unless of course the PIAA can prove this claim. Did the PIAA consult with members before coming up with this dumb proposition? More likely, the PIAA is just parroting the latest from the Aust Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a silly attempt to get press. And Inky – I bet you’re right, not many claims anyway.

  8. July 11, 2018 at 11:36 pm,


    Inky and Fastfinisher, I found this on another website: “There are currently around 50 unfair dismissal claims brought by former employees of print businesses each year, with around 80 per cent of these settled before arbitration…” So one week, about. Does that help?

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