Australia: Victorian State Election update: Labor is re-elected for a second term – what does this mean for industrial relations in Victoria over the next four years?

The Victorian state election on Saturday 24 November 2018 was characterised by large swings, with the Liberal party losing several previously safe seats and Premier Daniel Andrews successfully leading the ALP to a clear victory, having significantly increased its majority.

So what will this mean for businesses? Continue reading

Australia: The current position on industrial manslaughter by state and territory

We are witnessing a clear escalation in regulatory activity across Australia, most recently and very topical is the new Industrial Manslaughter (IM) offence.

Where a business is found to have negligently caused the death of a worker, the possible consequences for leadership, management and businesses are potentially significant. Senior officers (which includes everyone involved in management) could face up to 20 years jail time and businesses may be fined up to $10 million (or up to $16 million in Victoria). Continue reading

Australia: What employers need to know about upcoming changes to long service leave in Victoria

Victoria introduces new Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Act)

In our previous post here, we discussed the proposed changes to existing long service leave entitlements for Victorian employees.

Since then, minor amendments to the Bill were introduced and on 8 May 2018 the Victorian Parliament passed the Long Service Leave Bill 2017 (Vic). The Bill received Royal Assent on 15 May 2018 and the Act will commence by 1 November 2018. Continue reading

Australia: Victoria – Labour Hire Licensing Scheme introduced

Following an inquiry into work arrangements in the labour hire industry, the Victorian Government has recently introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (Bill).

The Bill establishes a licensing scheme for labour hire providers and creates civil and criminal offences for breaches of the scheme. The stated object of the Bill is to prevent vulnerable workers from exploitation by both the direct providers of labour hire services and hosts. Accordingly, the application of the Bill is broad and applies to all industries within Victoria. Continue reading

Australia: Long service leave in Victoria is about to get more flexible

Victoria’s long service leave regime is set to become more flexible for employees, with the second reading of the Long Service Leave Bill 2017 (Vic) moved today in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

The Bill proposes a number of important changes from the current 1992 Act, each of which would make it easier for employees to access, accumulate, or take long service leave than is currently the case. Continue reading

Australia: WHS Discrimination – A Question of Fact

A recent decision of the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal has considered the ‘prohibition against discrimination’ offence provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHSA).

Judicial consideration of these provisions is rare. In the harmonised jurisdictions there has been none. That said, the case demonstrates a trend we are seeing in regulators’ use of the full breadth of safety legislation in all jurisdictions. It is also a cautionary reminder that if a worker has raised or is even involved in a safety issue, this may be a strategy they seek to rely on, for example, to access remedies that they no longer have access to under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Continue reading