Jen's Workplace News


In this newsletter, I discuss a trend I’ve noticed in the workplace world.

I also share news about a rare unfair dismissal reinstatement case, changes to parental leave and the debate about paying city workers more than country folk.

This week’s “Dear Jen” makes for interesting reading.

And of course, I share my recommendations for your viewing and listening pleasure.

I hope this newsletter brings you some wisdom and joy!

Cheers, Jen


Jens Lens

What am I seeing out there in the workplace world? 

In industries where skilled workers are in high demand, workplaces are made up of two groups – the “loyals” and the “lured”.

The loyals are existing employees, not looking to leave.

The lured are new employees, wooed with above-market salaries and perks.

Everything is fine until the loyals find out about the lureds’ OTT packages.

Unless managers ensure the loyals are taken care of, they will soon become another employer’s lureds.


Jens Articles and Cases


Should Sydney And Melbourne Employees Be Paid More? 

Atlassian disclosed to the AFR that it has a two-tier pay system. Employees in NSW and Victoria are paid more than those in other states because of the cost of living. Other “remote first” employers told the AFR that they pay everyone the same based on skill and performance because this opens up the available talent pool to all of Australia and the world.

See: “Equal Pay for Equal Work”  (Subscription required)

Director Identification Numbers

If you’re a director of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation, you need a director identification number (director ID). All existing directors must apply by 30 November 2022. (Don’t leave it until the last minute. The website has been a tad temperamental).

See video instructions: Apply for your Director Identification Number

Paid Parental Leave To Rise

The Federal Government will phase in additional federally-funded paid parental leave. The current entitlements of 18 weeks paid leave under the Paid Parental Leave scheme and two weeks of dad and partner pay will rise to 22 weeks in July 2024, 24 weeks in July 2025, and 26 weeks in 2026.

PM Announcement on boost to Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme

No More Primary and Secondary Carers in NSW Govt

The largest employer in New South Wales is taking a big step to promote more shared care in the home. The state government has announced a boost of 14 weeks of paid leave that can be taken by both parents of new children. Will more industries follow this lead?

NSW Government promoting shared care


Tram Driver Reinstated Despite Horseplay 

Yarra Trams dismissed a Tram driver for “horseplay”. The driver pretended to strike his knee into a colleague’s groin, as punishment for the colleague “making off with a loaf of bread”. After being dismissed, the driver filed an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission.

Deputy President Colman described the employee’s action as a “silly pantomime” and whilst he found it to be inappropriate, he did not consider the employee’s actions to be misconduct.

The employee gave evidence that he would be “over the moon” to get his job back and wouldn’t hold any grudges.

Yarra Trams’ had not adopted a consistent approach to disciplinary action against this employee when compared to others.

The driver had a lengthy period of employment and good record. He was approaching retirement age.

The Commission found that the dismissal was unreasonable because there was no valid reason to dismiss, and even if the reason for dismissal had been regarded as valid, it would still have been harsh to dismiss in the circumstances, because dismissal was disproportionate to the conduct.

The driver was unfairly dismissed. He was awarded over $29,000 less taxation and was reinstated.

Take Out Point: It is rare that the Commission will order reinstatement. In this case, there was no evidence to support the employer’s contention that it had lost trust and confidence in the driver. The Commissioner believed that the parties could work together successfully going forward.

SeeGregory Brass v KDR Victoria Pty Ltd t/a Yarra Trams [2022] FWC 2527 (21 September 2022)


Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen

I am attending my first Melbourne Cup function at work. Do you have any tips for me?


A Nervous Intern

Dear Nervous Intern 

The first Tuesday in November

The day that stops the nation

Every workplace takes a spell

To join the celebration

It’s not my place to be a nag

But as a lawyer it behooves

The sharing of a friendly tip

About career limiting moves

Tis’ too late to shut the gate

After the horse has bolted

So pace yourself on Cup Day

Don’t leave others revolted

Don your hat and have a punt

But drink in moderation

Cos if you horse around too much

It may cost you your vocation!


Your poet lawyer-ate, Jen


Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

Lying awake at night stressing about workplace issues?

Want peace of mind, greater confidence, reduced recruitment and legal costs?

Let’s chat about creating scripts tailored to your business, one-on-one coaching or team workshops by calling 0411 275 920. 15 minutes. No obligation.

I teach business owners and managers how to navigate the emotional and legal aspects of performance management with bespoke scripts, coaching, workshops, and courses.

Alternatively, 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.


Jen's After Work

Fun Fact

Sean Bean (aka Ned Stark from “Games of Thrones”) has been married 5 times!

What I am Watching (on ABC iview)

“Marriage” is a 4 part BBC series about a couple’s 27 year marriage. It stars method actor Sean Bean (see Fun Fact above) and the fabulous Nicola Walker (“The Split” and “Unforgotten”) who I would watch read the phone book.

What I Binged (on Apple)

It’s been ages since I watched a gripping murder mystery involving five adult orphaned sisters, a despicable dead husband, and beautiful Dublin coastal towns. To be sure, to be sure, “Bad Sisters” delivers on all fronts with plot twists ’til the end. Grand!

What I Will Be Watching (on Netflix)

I am always looking for a chance to brush up on my Swedish. “The Playlist” is a 6 part fictionalised series about the birth of Spotify. (Sub-titles available for those of you not fluent in Swedish).

What I Am Going To Desperately Miss Watching (on Disney)

If you haven’t watched one of my favourite shows of the year, “Welcome to Wrexham” please do so. It is a show that men and women can watch together in the same room at the same time. Yes, it’s about a Welsh football club, but it’s about so much more than that.

What I Am Listening To (Podcast)

Many of us are now Formula One experts thanks to Netflix’s “Drive to Survive”. I was on “Team Toto Wolff” but after listening to “The Diary of a CEO” interview with Christian Horner, I have a whole new respect for the business acumen of Geri Halliwell’s hubby. Worth a listen if you like business, or racing cars, or the business of racing cars.


Jen's Last Word

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