Posts Tagged ‘Workplace relations’

  • 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.