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Fair Work Commission – Reconsideration of Fixed Term Contract Authority

Fair Work Commission – Background and Facts

The full bench of the Fair Work Commission has taken the rare and serious step of allowing for a reconsideration of a full bench authority on fixed-term contracts. The Fair Work Commission granted the Navitas English Pty Ltd employee leave to appeal a ruling on whether employees on fixed term or “outer-limited” contracts are dismissed when their terms expire.

Fair Work Commission Decision:

The Fair Work Commission:

  • concluded that it was in the public interest to grant the employee’s appeal and reconsider the well-established 2006 decision of Department of Justice v Lunn
  • suggested this was a matter of public interest because Lunn considers old unfair dismissal provisions under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth), and thus the applicability of the reasoning in Lunn as it applies to the Fair Work Act has not been previously analysed by the Full Bench
  • stated that in their view “the first ground of appeal raises issues of importance and general application in relation to the question of the approach that should be adopted by the Commission in determining whether there has been a termination of employment at the initiative of the employer, particularly in relation to employees who have been employed on a series of fixed term or outer limit contract”
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