Posts Tagged ‘Fair Work Commission’

  • PIAA slams ‘measly’ unfair dismissal fee

    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.

  • Fair Work raises minimum wage by 3.5%

    “We have to change the rules”: Sally McManus, ACTU secretary, speaks outside the Fair Work Commission today. (Source: Twitter)

    The Fair Work Commission has raised the national minimum wage by $24.30 a week from July 1, bringing it to $719.20 a week or $18.93 an hour.

    Justice Iain Ross, FWC.

    The 3.5 percent increase, which will also apply to all modern award wages, is only half of the unions’ requested $50 boost but almost double the $12.50 rise employers argued for. It will affect 2.3 million Australians currently being paid award wages. Justice Iain Ross, president of the Fair Work Commission, cited a healthy economy and labour market as factors in the decision. “The circumstances are such that it is appropriate to provide a real wage increase to those employees who have their wages set by the national minimum wage or by a modern award,” he said.

    Sally McManus, ACTU secretary, welcomed the decision and said the unions would continue pushing to peg the minimum wage at 60 percent of the median wage, as set by the OECD. “We have to change the rules on the minimum wage,” she said. “People who have been forced into poverty by the inadequacy of this wage should not have to wait every year to see if they will be saved by the Fair Work Commission. The minimum wage should be set to keep pace with wages.”

    Paul Mitchell, PIAA

    Printing Industries, however, expressed concern with the FWC’s decision, which does not link wage growth to productivity increases. According to Paul Mitchell, industrial relations manager at PIAA, the prevailing economic circumstances for businesses make it very hard to employ people and provide wage growth unless it is linked to productivity. “With high taxes, high energy costs and now higher labour costs, doing business in Australia has never been harder,” he said. “We will examine over the coming weeks the impact on this rise on our industry, but already we know it’s going to be tough for some businesses to cope with, especially small businesses and particularly those in regional and rural Australia.”