2020 - articles & insights

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Are you ready for it? JobKeeper 2.0 and the changes to flexibility under the Fair Work Act

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (JobKeeper Payments) Amendment Act 2020 (Act) received royal assent on 3 September 2020. We have set out the key changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) for employers below. Legacy employers The changes allow “legacy employers” to issue JobKeeper enabling directions to eligible employees. Legacy employers are employers who …
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The calculation of personal leave has been ‘put to bed’ by the High Court

The High Court has determined that, for the purposes of paid personal/carer’s leave, a “day” means a “notional day”, consisting of 1/10th of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a two-week (fortnightly) period or 1/26th of the employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year. How does this work in practice? It means, for …
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JobKeeper 2.0 – An extension of the JobKeeper payment, with some changes

  Modified JobKeeper payment The JobKeeper payment, which was originally due to expire on 27 September 2020, will now continue until 28 March 2021. From 28 September 2020, the payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants will be reduced as set out below. 28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021 …
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Schedule of rates or lump sum? Pick your poison

On 29 May 2020, the New South Wales Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) handed down its decision in C&V Engineering Pty Ltd v Hamilton & Marino Builders Pty Ltd [2020] NSWCA 103. The case deals with a common dispute in construction supply contracts: whether the contract is a ‘schedule of rates contract’ or a …
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Security of Payments: retention trust accounts on $10 mill projects

The NSW Government is proposing to repeal the current 2008 regulations to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) replacing them with a new set of regulations: the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Regulation 2020. A key change is the requirement for head contractors to maintain retention money trust …
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Fundamentals: Employment + Workplace Relations (2020/2021)

  The Vincent Young Employment + Workplace Relations team has updated its Employment + Workplace Relations Guide to reflect the changes for this financial year. Download your copy below.     If you would like to discuss this further and the implications for your business please contact our Employment + Workplace Relations Partner, Erin Lynch. …
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Introduction of new law relating to serious defects and issuance of occupation certificates

Introduction The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW) (Act) was assented to on 10 June 2020 and will commence on 1 September 2020. The Act applies retrospectively and significantly impacts residential projects delivery, completion, developer cash flow and contractors risks. Developers (you) must note these changes and take relevant measures to …
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National Minimum Wage and Modern Award Wages increase by 1.75%

Each year the Annual Wage Review is undertaken by an Expert Panel of the Fair Work Commission (Panel). National Minimum Wage This year, the Panel has determined to increase the National Minimum Wage (NMW) by 1.75%. From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020, the NMW will be $753.80 per week …
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NSW defect reform | 10 year retrospective duty of care introduced

The Building and Design Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) (Act) has commenced. The Act is part of the wider suite of reforms the NSW Government is introducing following recommendations made in the 2018 Shergold and Weir Building Confidence Report. Duty of care on builders The Act creates a statutory duty of care on residential builders to owners of …
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Is your casual workforce really casual? The answer might be no.

A recent decision by the Full Federal Court has found that an employee who was employed by a labour hire business as a casual and paid as a casual, was in fact “other than a casual employee” for the purposes of: section 86 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) – dealing with …
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Security of Payment update | absence of supporting statement not fatal

Since supporting statements were introduced into the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 NSW (Act) a question has been whether a payment claim served without one (or with deficiencies in one) is still valid. The answer The Court of Appeal in TFM Epping Land Pty Ltd v Decon Australia Pty Ltd [2020] …
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What JobKeeper disputes can the FWC can deal with?

Today, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has ruled that it has jurisdiction to deal with a dispute about an employer’s practices in respect of the wage condition and minimum payment guarantee obligations that arise under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) from the JobKeeper scheme. The FWC determined that: At the time of …
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Variation to redundancy pay during COVID-19

Two recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) decisions provide guidance to employers about the approach to varying redundancy pay during the time of COVID-19. The key takeaways are: the FWC may encourage you to consider alternatives to the termination; the onus is on the employer to establish that it cannot pay the amount; and anticipation of …
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Downloading COVIDSafe…a note to employers

As restrictions around our mobility start to ease, we will likely see more and more employees return to the workplace. At the same time, the Federal Government is encouraging us all to download the tracing application “COVIDSafe”. While it may seem logical that employers have their employees download “COVIDSafe” as they return to workplaces, a …
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NSW Government announces first tranche of projects for fast-tracked assessment

On 28 April 2020, in a bid by the NSW Government to stimulate and lift the economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it announced the first tranche of construction projects to undergo the Planning System Acceleration Program (Program). The first tranche of projects The first tranche of projects to undergo the Program consists of 16 …
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JobKeeper FAQs: eligibility and payments

Vincent Young has compiled a list of FAQs to help employers understand the JobKeeper scheme.     If you would like to discuss this further and the implications for your business please contact our Employment + Workplace Relations Partner, Erin Lynch. Erin Lynch, Partner M +61 477 330 202 E erin.lynch@vincentyoung.com.au The contents of this publication do not …
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JobKeeper FAQs: directions and agreements

Vincent Young has compiled a list of FAQs to help employers who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme. NOTE: The ability to provide these directions and reach these agreements comes from the temporary changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and applies only where the employer qualifies for the JobKeeper Scheme and is entitled to …
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COVID-19 UPDATE: Construction sites permitted to operate on weekends + public holidays

Two Ministerial Orders have been released in relation to the operation of construction sites under the Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Infrastructure Construction Work Days) Order 2020 (collectively, Orders). Under both Orders, construction sites are now permitted to operate …
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Galaxy Developments Pty Ltd v Civil Contractors (Aust) Pty Ltd t/a CCA Winslow & Ors [2020] QSC 51 (Galaxy Developments Case)

The recent decision of the Queensland Supreme Court in Galaxy Developments Pty Ltd v Civil Contractors (Aust) Pty Ltd t/a CCA Winslow & Ors [2020] QSC 51 (Galaxy Developments) examined whether an adjudication determination delivered outside the time period prescribed under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (Qld) (Act) is void. Facts …
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COVID 19 Update – Temporary Changes to Foreign Investment Framework

Temporary changes to Australia’s foreign investment review framework were effective as at 10.30pm, by legal time in the ACT, on 29 March 2020 (Effective Time). The changes were made in response to the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Key changes and implications Key changes to the foreign investment review framework and their implications …
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COVID 19: changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) give employers more flexibility

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No. 2) Act 2020 (Cth) provides for temporary amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to assist those employers who are eligible for the jobkeeper scheme. The amendments provide for the implementation of further flexibility to deal with the impact of COVID-19. The amendments provide for employers …
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COVID-19 Update: SME Commercial Leasing Code of Conduct

The National Cabinet agreed to implement a mandatory Code of Conduct on commercial leasing (Code), details of which were revealed on 7 April 2020. The Code imposes a list of good faith leasing principles to existing leasing arrangements across Australia, in response to the economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Code will be …
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COVID-19 Update for employers: three changes you may have missed

With things changing so rapidly, you may have missed some recent temporary amendments to legislation and modern awards that have been introduced to provide greater flexibility to employers (and employees) during this time.  These changes have come into effect in the last week and impact on the taking of long service leave in New South …
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COVID-19 Emergency Lease Legislation

The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (NSW) (‘COVID Act‘) was assented to and became effective as at 25 March 2020. The COVID Act was introduced by the NSW Parliament to address the public health emergency impacts caused by COVID-19 in New South Wales. The measures introduced by the COVID Act will generally operate on …
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Temporary amendments to Australian insolvency laws due to coronavirus effective today

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) (Act) has come into force.  The Act, among other things, makes temporary amendments to the Australian insolvency and corporations laws in light of the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Why have the amendments been made? The Act provides temporary relief for financially distressed businesses and individuals in …
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Stay or leave: a guide to coronavirus for employers

The employment law team has been assisting clients in traversing the issues that every employer will likely encounter following the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and has developed a quick reference guide. The issues are varied and, in some instances, complex. We encourage you to seek assistance early to avoid falling foul of your legal …
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What does the future hold? – the changing landscape for employers in Australia

Changes to the industrial relations system are looming, with the Prime Minister asking the Attorney-General in his capacity as Minister for Industrial Relations to look at the system and the Minister releasing two discussion papers seeking input about the operation of certain parts of the system. The closing date for submissions is 3 April 2020. …
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