Jen's Workplace News


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

We’ve included a copy of our Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist…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?


Awards are complicated. Employers shouldn’t have to talk to a lawyer to make sure they are complying with their obligations. The system needs to be simpler.

The Productivity Commission agrees. In its 5 year report, “Advancing Prosperity”, the Commission said improving workplace productivity and the fair sharing of gains could be achieved by amending the Fair Work Act to “ensure that modern awards are easy to understand”.

See: Simplify Award Pay System


Jens Articles and Cases

What Are Unreasonable Unpaid Hours?

According to the AFR, the Finance Sector Union has launched a major test case against NAB regarding excessive hours. It’s alleged that managers had to work unreasonable unpaid hours over several years. They are seeking compensation for damage to their health and family life.

This case raises similar issues to the one between Federal teal MP Monique Ryan and her ex-chief of staff, Sally Rugg regarding reasonable overtime hours.

See: Excessive Work Hours

Committee’s Push to Reduce Hours and Move to 4 Day Work Week

A Labor-Greens Senate inquiry into work has recommended that the Federal Government ask the Fair Work Commission to review the operation of the 38-hour working week, and that there be a trial of a 4 day work week where employees are paid 100% of their salary whilst working 80% of their hours.

According to Greens Senator and committee chair Barbara Pocock the report will “revolutionise our workplace laws so Australians, and particularly women, can find a balance between working and caring responsibilities”.

See: Workplace Inquiry and Greens Media Release

But wait…there’s more!

The Greens Introduce the “Right to Disconnect” Bill

The Greens have introduced a Bill to Parliament that, if passed, will prevent employers from contacting their employees outside their working hours, except for an emergency or “genuine welfare matter” or when the employee is in receipt of an “availability allowance” for the period during which the contact is made.

It’s proposed that the National Employment Standards be amended so that employees will not be required to “monitor, read or respond to emails, telephone calls or any other kind of communication from an employer outside of the employee’s hours of work (including during periods of leave) unless the employee is in receipt of an availability allowance for the period during which the communication is made“.

There is going to be a lot of discourse about this one. Watch this space!

See: Fair Work Amendment (Right to Disconnect) Bill 2023

Meanwhile…South Korea Proposes A 69 Hour Work Week

It’s been reported that the South Korean government is looking to raise the maximum work week from 52 hours to 69 hours. Unions and employees are not happy about this. Better not tell them about the 2 articles above!

See: South Korea’s 69 Hour Work Week


Employee Reinstated After Data Deletion Termination

An employee deleted data from an on-call phone before going on Christmas leave and giving the phone to a colleague. On her return, she was suspended for deleting the data. After a show cause meeting, the employee was summarily dismissed.

The employee commenced proceedings for unfair dismissal.

The Fair Work Commission found that there was a valid reason for dismissal. The employee failed to comply with a company policy regarding protecting data. However, the dismissal was harsh, unjust and unreasonable. The employee was reinstated.

The FWC found that “employer policy documents and manuals must be accessible, understandable and reasonable in their terms“. It was said that the relevant clause in the policy “might make sense to copyright lawyers and some IT specialists, but probably no one else”.

See: Eptesam Al Bankani v Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre Ltd [2023] FWC 557 (7 March 2023)

Take Out Point: Company policies and procedures are important. Employers need to ensure that they are digestible and that employees have read and understood them.

BONUS – Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist

Are your Policies and Procedures up to date?

Does your business have all the Policies and Procedures it needs to be compliant?

Here is an Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist.


Jen's Mailbox

Dear Jen

I’m a US college football coach managing an English premier league soccer team.

My son lives with his mom in Kansas. Playing legos really aint the same over Facetime.

Do you think I can go “hybrid” like one of those fancy pants cars?

I know you may say impossible, but all I hear is “I’m possible”.


Ted L

Dear Ted

Shucks, I love your enthusiasm, but that’s one heck of a commute.

I do believe…that there are some jobs that just need to be done in person. Full time. Like yours.

It’s your call, but perhaps finish the season, then reassess.




Jen's Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

BONUS – Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist

If reading the Essential Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist made you query what you think about what may be lacking from your company’s policies and procedures, please reach out to or call 0411 275 920.

Or, 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 After Work

Podcast You Must Listen To

In his “The Mentor” podcast, Mark Bouris interviews genius former tv producer and CEO whisperer Marion “Maz” Farrelly on the topic of “The cost in being boring and why most businesses suck at this”. Compulsory listening.

Hooray – It’s Back!

The final season (sob) of “Succession” has started (Foxtel/Binge). And for superfans, each week Kara Swisher hosts the HBO Official Succession Podcast.

What I Watched (on ABC iView)

I’ve seen “Hamilton” live 3 times. I knew I would love “In the Room: Leigh Sales with Lin-Manuel Miranda”. But this interview took my appreciation of LMM’s genius to new levels. Essential viewing for anyone who creates stuff or wants to.

What I Am Being Drip-Fed (on Stan)

I love a mid-life crisis comedy. “Lucky Hank” is about a middle-aged English Professor at a mediocre Pennsylvanian College. Hank’s candour and penchant for self-destruction brings LOL moments. Don’t just believe me. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 96% score.

What I Watched (on Stan)

“Dawn Of The Dolphins” is a behind the scenes doco on the Dolphins’ prep for their inaugural NRL season. Even non-footy fans will appreciate master coach Wayne Bennett opening up about his struggle to communicate as an introvert, and what it takes to build a team and club.

What I’m Watching Weekly (Cos They Won’t Let Me Binge) (on Binge/Foxtel)

The SMH calls “Rain Dogs” the “most essential new series of 2023”. It’s a dark comedy set in a London council estate. You will laugh and cry with single mum Costello, her daughter Iris and their posh, fresh out of prison, friend Florian.

What I Watched (on Amazon)

“The Consultant” is a dark satire of the tech industry. The CEO of gaming company is shot by a school kid on a field trip. (I said it was dark). A consultant comes in to take over. You will either love or hate this one.

What I’m Watching (on Netflix)

“Dance 100” is a weird title for a choreography competition, but I guess “Choreography 8” doesn’t really work. Great dancing. Kinda bitchy (in a good way). Just fast forward past the annoying blah talk about “process”, “feelings” and “art”.


Jen's Last Word

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