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NEW! Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act

After recent high-profile cases involving alleged underpayments to employees and other criticised employment practices, the Federal Government has introduced new legislation.

NEW! Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017

This new piece of legislation introduced key changes to workplace laws, namely:

Key Reforms – 15 September 2017

In summary, the new laws that commenced on this date:

  • increase penalties for serious contraventions of workplace laws
  • make it unlawful to ask for cashback from employees or prospective employees
  • increase penalties for failing to meet record-keeping and pay-slip requirements
  • place the onus on employers to disprove wage claims where:
  • the record-keeping and pay-slip requirements are not met; and
  • the employer does not have a reasonable excuse for not meeting this requirement
  • give greater powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman to gather evidence in investigations
  • introduce new penalties for giving the Fair Work Ombudsman false or misleading information or hindering or obstructing their investigations

Key Reforms – 27 October 2017
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Employment – Personal Liability for Directors and Managers

Cause for Vigilance!

A string of recent employment cases involving the Fair Work Ombudsman have clearly illustrated the risk posed by the ‘accessorial liability’ provisions within the Fair Work Act.

In essence:

  • accessorial liability is a legal doctrine used to extend legal responsibility for an unlawful act to those involved in or associated with the act
  • in employment claims, accessorial liability can also render a director and/or manager liable for an employer’s contravention of the Fair Work Act

Accessorial Liability under the Fair Work Act

Under the Fair Work Act a person who is ‘involved’ in a contravention of the Fair Work Act is taken to have contravened that provision, where the person:

  • has aided, abetted, counselled or procured the contravention; or
  • has induced the contravention, whether by threats or promises or otherwise; or
  • has been in any way, by act or omission, directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in or party to the contravention; or