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Legal Agents & Agency Work

Matthews Folbigg Lawyers provide agency work services and can act as your legal agents for all matters in Parramatta.

We are located within close proximity to the Parramatta Court Precinct and are able to act as your agent with short notice. We pride ourselves with the knowledge and extensive experience with the courts in Parramatta where we appear regularly. You can be confident that our solicitors will achieve the desired result for you at competitive rates. We also understand you need to report to your client in a timely manner, therefore we endeavour reporting to you on the same day of the court appearance either in writing or by phone.

We can attend the following Courts as your agent:

  • Local Court (Criminal and Civil)
  • District Court (Criminal and Civil)
  • Family Court

We can attend to the following:

  • Attendance at interlocutory hearings, Notice of Motions, Pre-trial Reviews, Call overs, Status Conference, Pre-trial Conference or Directions Hearings;
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NEW! Consumer Guarantee Directions for 1 January 2019

The NSW Parliament recently passed changes to the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) which are expected to commence on 1 January 2019.

What are the changes?

The Fair Trading Legislation Amendment (Consumer Guarantee Directions) Act 2018 (NSW) gives the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner the administrative power to issue binding consumer guarantee directions to businesses to:

  • repair or replace defective consumer goods; or
  • refund the purchase price

The amendments are seen as a fair, quick and cheap alternative to the court and tribunal system.

Which goods does it apply to?

A consumer guarantee direction may be given by the Commissioner in relation to goods:

  • sold to a consumer who is ordinarily resident in NSW
  • with a purchase price of between $25 and $3,000 (exclusive of GST)
  • to which a consumer guarantee under sections 54-57 of the Australian Consumer Law applies (ie, acceptable quality, fitness for purpose, supply of goods by description, and supply of goods by sample or demonstration model)
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Personal Leave – Have You Calculated It Correctly?

Two recent rulings have thrown the workplace arrangements of two large-scale employers of shift workers into chaos as they potentially may result in mass underpayment claims being made against hundreds of businesses around the country.

The Issue

Under the National Employment Standards (NES) full-time employees receive 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave per year of service and each work-day day is calculated as being comprised of 7.6 hours.

The Mondelez Decision

In the Mondelez decision a dispute arose in respect of their enterprise agreement:

  • it provided “80 hours per annum” for paid personal/carer’s leave rather than 10 days per annum under the NES
  • the FWC was concerned the provision would deprive Mondelez’s 10 and 12 hour shiftworkers from receiving the full NES entitlement of 10 days per annum
  • the FWC had to decide whether the NES entitlement meant 10 days x 7.6 hours or 10 days x actual hours worked being either 10 or 12 hours for its shift workers
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Warning! Casual Employee Entitled to Annual Leave

In a major decision, the Full Bench of the Federal Court has held that a worker expressly engaged as a casual was entitled to annual leave and other entitlements upon termination.

In our view, in doing so the Court has cast doubt on decades of accepted industrial practices and the decision threatens to undermine casual employment relationships around the country.

The Facts

In WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene:

  • the employee was employed by a labour-hire company in the mining industry as a dump-truck operator and the employment was governed by the WorkPac Pty Ltd Mining (Coal) Industry Workplace Agreement 2007 (Agreement)
  • although the letter of employment stated he was a casual, he was subject to a continuous 7 day ‘fly-in, fly-out’ pre-set roster arrangement, worked regular and systematic shifts, stayed in accommodation at/near the mine and was expected to attend each shift
  • an ‘all-in flat rate’ of pay was payable for each hour of work although WorkPac did not specify what entitlements this flat rate of pay purported to absorb
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It will soon be time to give your Personal Property Securities Registrations a “Spring Clean”

Remember how much fun it was to register to protect your security interests on the Personal Property Securities register (PPSR) when it came into force in 2012?

If you answered ‘yes’, then the fun will return this year as many of those registrations will come up for renewal in January 2019. This is because by far the most common duration of registration has been 7 years. So, hundreds of thousands of registrations will be subjected to expiration next year, unless they are renewed.

Those with long memoires might also recall the confusion that reigned over technical aspects of the registration process, which lead many businesses to register multiple interests, on the basis that “it’s better to be safe then sorry”.

Now that the position is (somewhat) clearer, it is likely that many registrations going back to 2012 are no longer necessary and should not be renewed.

All of this means is that prudent businesses will, over the next few months, be conducting a review of their PPSR registrations and working out which ones to renew and/or amend.
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Bullying and Harassment Claims High in Local Government

Safe Work Australia have identified that local government employees are the third most represented group when it comes to compensation claims for Workplace Bullying and Harassment.

For the three years to 2016, approximately 190 local government employees received compensation for workplace bullying and harassment a year.

Bullying and harassment can take varying forms. It can be subtle or take the form of more overt behaviour.

What is Workplace Bullying and Harassment?

Bullying at work, as defined by the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs when:

  • a person or a group of people behaves unreasonably and repeatedly towards a worker or a group of workers while at work; and
  • the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

However, bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Wollondilly Shire Council

David Wilson aged 61 years, plant operator, took his own life the same day that he was informed that his most recent complaint was found to be unsubstantiated.
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Director Record Keeping Duties

Company directors have financial record keeping duties under the Corporations Act and substantial penalties can apply for a failure to maintain adequate financial records.

What are the duties?

All companies are required to keep and maintain accurate financial records which:

  • correctly record and explain the company’s transactions and financial position
  • would enable true and fair financial statements to be prepared

What are financial records?

In essence, financial records:

  • are broadly defined in the Corporations Act and include invoices, receipts, bills of exchange (eg. cheques), promissory notes, documents for prime entry (eg. cash books and journals) and working papers
  • must be retained by the company for at least 7 years after completion of the transactions to which they relate

How are financial records to be kept?

The financial records may:

  • be stored in electronic form provided they can be converted into hard copy within a reasonable period of time
  • be kept in any language, however, an English language translation must be provided within a reasonable period of time if requested by a person entitled to inspect the records
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FWC Reduces Redundancy Payout to Zero

A company has successfully applied to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to reduce its statutory obligation to pay redundancy pay after helping an employee secure alternative employment with another company.

Statutory Redundancy Entitlement

The National Employment Standards (NES) usually entitle national system employees to receive redundancy pay if their employment ends due to redundancy.

Exceptions

However, various exceptions can apply including where an employer obtains other acceptable employment for a redundant employee.

In that case the employer may apply to the FWC to have the NES redundancy amount reduced to what the FWC considers appropriate including to zero.

The Facts

In Get Started Pty Ltd v Lee:

  • the company employed Mr Lee as a web developer for almost 2 years
  • the company experienced a downturn in business and notified Mr Lee that his position was to be made redundant effective 2 March 2018
  • prior to 2 March 2018, another third-party developer, Levo Group Pty Ltd (Levo), made contact with the company and asked to ‘borrow’ some of its personnel to assist with an increase in work
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