Month in Review | January 2021

In the News

  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released new figures showing that in December 2020 the official unemployment rate fell to 6.6%. This remains 1.5% higher than in December 2019.
  • After its hearing with the Full Federal Court in December 2020, Uber Eats has issued new contracts to its delivery riders in an effort to grant them greater control and avoid any future court determining of an employer-employee relationship. Among other things, the new contract permits riders to abandon deliveries at their own discretion.
  • Employers can insist on their employees returning to work at the office, provided it is COVID-safe.
  • JobKeeper payments have been reduced to $1000 per fortnight and will end on 28 March 2021.

In the Courts

  • An unfair dismissal application has been upheld on grounds of not being a genuine redundancy after the Fair Work Commission found that non-specialised contractors were retained where employees could have been redeployed in those roles instead.
  • Unions apply for special leave to appeal to the High Court and allege Qantas’ misuse of the JobKeeper scheme.
  • An aged care provider directed nine employees to stay away from work due to COVID-19 transmission fears. The Fair Work Commission has ordered that they reinstate the employees’ leave, claiming that “it’s just the right thing to do”.
  • Fair Work Commission dismisses CSIRO senior researcher’s unfair dismissal application, saying that it is hard to see how he could have been afforded any greater measure of procedural fairness.