Month in Review | May 2021

In the News

  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration has very strict guidelines for discussing drugs and has advised employers to avoid communicating about COVID-19 vaccines in a manner that may amount to advertisement.
  • More than 1,000 health workers have gathered on the lawn outside Perth Children’s Hospital to call for more support in the state’s emergency departments. The medical unions say their requests for more staff and funding have gone unheeded for months.
  • Australian Work Health and Safety Ministers met on 20 May 2021. They agreed to amend the model Work Health and Safety Regulations to deal with psychological injury. However, they have been criticised for not providing majority support for an industrial manslaughter offence.
  • Several class actions have been commenced by the doctors’ union, ASMOF, over alleged underpayment of junior doctors.
  • The Victorian Labour Government has announced that its budget will include $5 million to start implementing the changes recommended by the gig economy inquiry.
  • International students will no longer face a cap on working hours for hospitality and tourism jobs. Student visa holders will be able to work full time.
  • Australian Taxation Office tells Uber driver to apply for JobKeeper, then demands he repay almost $30k.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its latest Statement on Monetary Policy, where it predicts that the unemployment rate will continue to fall to around 5% by the end 2021 and to 4.5% by mid-2023.
  • The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has ordered that police officers receive a 1.75% pay rise and paramedics receive a 0.3% pay rise and a one-off payment. The NSW Police Association and the Australian Paramedics Association had both applied for a 2.5% increase.
  • Wellways Australia Limited, a mental health and disability services provider who self-reported underpayments to the Fair Work Ombudsman in September 2020, has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with FWO to back-pay staff more than $1.5 million.

In the Courts

  • Former professor of James Cook University, Peter Ridd, is appealing the decision of the Full Federal Court, who in July last year held that the University did not contravene the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in terminating his employment.
  • The Federal Court has rejected an employer’s request for indemnity costs to be made against the former World Vision employee. Justice Rangiah showed leniency to the worker who was self-represented and failed to “appreciate the weakness of his case.”
  • A Deliveroo delivery driver made an unfair dismissal application to the Fair Work Commission after his employment was terminated in April 2020. The Fair Work Commission held that the driver was an employee and that the driver had been unfairly dismissed.
  • The Fair Work Commission has dismissed an unfair dismissal application filed by an employee whose position was terminated after she refused to obtain a flu vaccination in 2020.