Month in Review | July 2022

In the News

  • Victorian employers will be able to continue collecting COVID-19 vaccination information from their workers under new regulations. The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (COVID-19 Vaccination Information) Regulations 2022 enable employers to collect, record, hold and use COVID-19 vaccination information from specified persons attending a workplace under their management or control, to determine and implement reasonably practicable measure to control COVID-19 risks. The regulations were introduced following the removal of certain vaccination requirements under the Pandemic Orders, and will be in effect from 12 July 2022 to 12 July 2023.
  • Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Paul Kelly, citing advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, urges employers to allow employees to work from home where feasible, and to wear masks in the workplace, to help curb the “significant increase” of COVID-19 cases across Australia.
  • The NSW Government is filing an application against the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) in the Fair Work Commission, to suspend or terminate their industrial action. The Government has set out in its application that the ongoing industrial action is endangering the population’s life, personal safety, health or welfare.
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that his government  intends to introduce legislation on 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave once Parliament returns, with casual staff included in the scheme. If passed by parliament, the scheme will commence from February 2023 for most employees, with small businesses provided an extra six months to adjust to the change.

In the Courts

  • The Fair Work Commission has ordered an employer pay a worker $5,357.80 plus 9.5% superannuation on determining that the employee’s actions did not constitute a valid reason for dismissal. The worker’s employment was terminated for not including ‘smiley faces’ in a text message to the employer about a staffing issue. The employer took the omission as a sign the employee was arguing and meant what she was saying to be rude.
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently secured a total of $355,000 in penalties in court against the operators of a sushi restaurant in Brisbane after the operators deliberately underpaid employees, falsified records, and breached record-keeping and payslip obligations.