What trend am I seeing out there in the workplace world?
Discussions (and angst) about Christmas shutdowns have started. Being on leave without pay can have a real financial impact on those employees (such as recent hires) who don’t have sufficient annual leave accrued to cover the closure period.
Tip: Companies should have a clear policy in place regarding their Christmas shutdown and ensure it is conveyed to all new employees on commencement. Reminders should be conveyed to all employees throughout the year. Employers with staff who may be under financial pressure or need to use leave for school holidays may consider options to ease the strain (such as offering a work from home project).
Hairdresser’s Spa Injury At Christmas Party ‘Work Related’
A hairdresser attended a work Christmas party that included an overnight stay, lunch and unlimited alcohol. She exited a spa whilst intoxicated, and slipped, breaking her hip and leg. At first instance it was found that the injury had arisen from the hairdresser’s employment. This was upheld on appeal. Whilst every case turns on its facts, this case demonstrates the need for employers to have firm policies in place regarding work events, particularly when alcohol is served.
See: Return to Work Corporation of South Australia v Valentine and Karrara Hair and Beauty Centre  SAET 134 (4 October 2022).
No Extension of Time For Discrimination Claim In Cricketers’ Case
A receptionist employed by the Tasmanian Cricket Association claimed she was sexually harassed by former Australian test cricket captain Tim Paine and other employees. She sought an extension of 2 years and 10 months to lodge her unlawful discrimination claim. The Federal Court has refused to grant the extension. The Court found the length of the delay in bringing the application presented a “very substantial impediment” and it had “likely caused significant prejudice” and could not be justified.
See: Ferguson v Tasmanian Cricket Association (trading as Cricket Tasmania) (No 3)  FCA 1269 (27 October 2022)
Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave Now in NES
On 27 October 2022, the House of Representatives agreed to the Senate’s amendments to the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022. The current NES entitlement of 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year has been replaced with 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave.
See: Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched a website to provide resources for employers and employees regarding the positive duty that will be in place under the upcoming sexual harassment legislative amendments. The website has best practice guides, training programs, workplace assessment tools, videos and more.
The Albanese Government delivered its first Federal Budget in October 2022. Some of the key budget measures that will impact workplaces are:
- implementing the Respect@work report recommendations, including funding for Working Women’s Centres to provide advice on gender issues in the workplace, for education and compliance with the new sexual harassment legislation and for the establishment of a workplace sexual harassment resource centre.
- increasing childcare subsidies for parents and the expansion of the paid parental leave scheme up to 26 weeks.
- legislating a ban on fixed term contracts to enhance job security for workers.
- the Fair Work Ombudsman to take over the Australian Building and Construction Commission regulatory role and to provide support and advice to small business on the introduction of the new workplace entitlement to 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave.
- funding for the FWC to handle gender equity pay cases, tackle sexual harassment, provide proactive support to workers and small businesses to help reach agreements and enhance processing of small claims.
- supporting an update of enterprise bargaining for small businesses.
- building a Carer Friendly Workplace Framework to support employers who manage employees with caring responsibilities.
Take Out Point: The Federal Government has a busy agenda regarding workplace issues and has budgeted to implement their plans. Watch this space.
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Public Service Announcement: Consuming Content On Planes
I was almost concussed by my ricocheting iPad thanks to a passenger reclining their seat on a domestic flight last week. Who are these people and can we have them banned? (Not a rhetorical question).
What I Binged (on Netflix)
Somehow I missed the memo on “Derry Girls”. Memo finally arrived. [Warning: you will laugh out loud, even if on a plane with a seat in your face].
What I am Watching (on ABC iview)
I wish Kitty Flanagan was my friend. Her genius show “Fisk” is back for season 2. Who knew that a series about a suburban solicitor in a brown suit could bring so much joy!
What I Binged (on Netflix)
I inhaled Ryan Murphy’s miniseries starring Bobby Cannavale, Naomi Watts and Jennifer Coolidge. “The Watcher” is based on the true story of a couple who are stalked after buying their dream New Jersey home. [Tip: You’ll enjoy it more with your doors and windows locked].
What I’ve Started Watching (on Netflix)
David Tennant and Stanley Tucci star in “Inside Man”. That’s all you need to know.
What I’m Excited About (on Binge/Foxtel)
Last year’s surprise hit, “The White Lotus” is back. Jennifer Coolidge and a bunch of new holiday- makers engage in “chaos, romance, scandal and murder” on a Sicilian cliff top.
What I Will Be Watching (on Netflix)
Cancel your dinner plans. The latest instalment of “The Crown” drops on 9 November. This season covers the Diana years. Will it be awkward to watch? Yes. Will we watch anyway? Hell yes!
Podcasts I Am Listening To
Brene Brown’s “Dare To Lead” podcast is back (only on Spotify). Loved the 2 part discussion with Adam Grant and Simon Sinek. Light bulb moments!
“The Diary of a CEO” is amazing every week but the ep with rockstar Prof Scott Galloway – “The Number One Reason This Generation is Struggling” – blinded me with light bulb moments.
Loving the “Your Business Boost” podcast with Michelle Broadbent, especially the ep featuring the very fabulous Shelly Horton discussing a workplace issue we need to talk about – “Peri-menopause & Business”. Entertaining and insightful.