Jen's Workplace News


We are back with a workplace trend, news snippets, a case about a workplace soccer injury, and sage advice in the “Dear Jen” column.

Get up to date on the upcoming changes to Parental Leave. We provide a link to a Changes to Parental Leave Fact Sheet…and of course, I share my recommendations for your viewing pleasure.

I hope this newsletter brings you some wisdom and joy!

Cheers, Jen

Jens Lens

What trend am I seeing out there in the workplace world?

Confusion…with a dose of tension sprinkled on top.

The hybrid work model is here to stay, but no-one is clear about how to successfully pull it off!

There’s no rule book. Every workplace is different.

Take Out Point: Employees and managers need to be clear on company expectations. Managers need to be taught how to manage remote employees.

Jen's Articles & Cases



Fancy a Career Change?

Job: ChatGPT Prompt Engineer

Salary: $375,000

Tech Degree Required?: No

Take Out Point: Where do I sign?

See: ChatGPTka-ching!

Federal Budget Seeks to Balance Gender in the Workplace

The Federal Government is planning on rolling out a budget process that assesses how Government policies impact different genders. The approach aims to remove barriers which stop women pursuing particular skills or careers.

Take Out Point: 96% of aged care workers are female and this isn’t the only industry with a gender imbalance. This issue is worth looking into.

See: Labor’s bid to end male and female ‘dominated’ jobs

Expanded Leave Benefits: Sign of Things to Come?

Independent publishing and media business, Hardie Grant has introduced new paid benefits – menstrual and menopause leave, fertility treatment leave, and gender transition leave. It has also updated its existing policies, to include expanded caring responsibilities (including pets).

Take Out Point: Not all employers can afford to implement these measures, but employees are increasingly drawn to non-salary benefits relating to their personal health (or that of Fido or Fluffy).

See: Hardie Grant Staff Benefits

Even the Reserve Bank Finds Employee Payments Complicated

The Reserve Bank of Australia has apologised for underpaying some employees over a 7 year period. The Bank blamed “the complicated nature of our industrial arrangements and their interpretation”. The Finance Sector Union says it “beggars belief” that the RBA was unable to comply with its own Enterprise Agreement.

Take Out Point: There is no excuse for underpaying employees but this is yet another example of why we need to make Awards and Enterprise Agreements simpler.

See: Reserve Bank Apologises

Does Your Business Shut Down During Holiday Seasons? Rules Change From 1 May 2023

From 1 May 2023, many Awards have updated rules on taking annual leave during a shutdown.

Take Out Point: This change affects companies with employees covered by relevant Awards where the businesses have shutdown periods (for example over Christmas).

See: New Shutdown Rules

Parental Leave Changes From 1 July 2023

Want to understand the changes to parental leave? Check out our fact sheet.

Are You Scared of Public Speaking?

Overcome your fear of public speaking with Shelly Horton.

75% of people hate public speaking; from giving a speech, pitching to clients or even just speaking up at a team meeting. But not many people realise that speaking with confidence can be taught.

Shelly has proven techniques to control nerves, advice on conquering “imposter syndrome” and tools to plan and prepare before you open your mouth. In just two hours she”l help you find your inner Beyoncé. Find out more here.


Employee’s Soccer Injury “In the Course of Employment”

A FIFO mine worker injured his knee during a soccer game at the mine site and brought a workers’ compensation claim (in WA). The relevant issues were whether the injury arose “in the course of employment” and whether the employer encouraged or induced the employee to play.

It was found that the injury arose in the course of employment, and the invitation to play, was an inducement.

The employee qualified for workers compensation.

Take Out Point: Whilst every situation is different, employers should be mindful that invitations to employees to participate in social or recreational events, may be regarded as being “in the course of employment”.

See: Workpac Pty Ltd v Shields [2023] WADC 29 (17 March 2023)

Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

If you are looking to embrace having those difficult conversations you have been avoiding, get yourself the most practical online course in town. Run, don’t walk to my website for my highly informative and entertaining online course – “Difficult Conversations In The Workplace: A Lawyer’s Guide to Not Needing a Lawyer”. Spend an hour with your favourite unlawyerly lawyer for just $149 plus GST, or organise a workshop or coaching.

Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen,

I’ve just completed a 74 year apprenticeship and now run my family’s business.

I sought to introduce a hybrid work model but was informed that it is not possible for me to “work from palace”.

Despite the world’s embrace of technology, apparently my role requires me to spend the majority of my days, out and about, in frightful weather, in full view of lip readers.

Please provide your considered advice on my right to a flexible working arrangement.


Anonymous Sovereign

Dear Anonymous Sovereign,

I feel your pain. I too despise wind, rain, and lip readers.

Unfortunately, some tasks simply cannot be done from “from palace”.

Given the length of your apprenticeship, I’m sure you want the Firm to succeed.

May I recommend layering (and the thermals from Uniqlo)?



Jen's After Work

What I Watched (on Netflix)

I inhaled the six eps of “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” faster than you can say Lady Whistledown. More please Shonda!

What I’m Watching (on 9 Now)

My quest for an online medical degree continues. “Chicago Med” is back!

What I’m Watching (on 7 Plus)

For us firefighter wannabes, “911” and “911 Lone Star” are back. [Is it just me, or does Rob Lowe have the best plastic surgeon in Hollywood?]

What I’m Watching (on Foxtel/Binge)

Fans of Netflix’s “The Diplomat” may also like another confusingly named drama – “The Diplomat”. A British Diplomat faces peril in Barcelona. Great viewing for those who love this city, or those who dream of becoming a diplomat (rather than a doctor or firefighter).

What I Watched (on Netflix)

“Indian Matchmaking” is pure tv gold. Some have scoffed when I’ve recommended this 3 season gem in the past, but I can’t get enough of Sima from Mumbai giving picky singles from London, Delhi, New York, and Miami a reality check.

What I Watched (on Netflix)

The first season of “Jewish Matchmaking” has just dropped. Loved it!

What I Watched (on Netflix)

“Firefly Lane” has come to an end. I will miss Tully and Kate. Cloud, not so much.

Jen's Last Word

When Pilates is a Legit Tax Deduction

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