4 Quarterly 2014 - Issue 1

Posted on 20 February 2014

Payments of Accrued Annual Leave upon Termination

A recent Court decision has provided clarity regarding whether payments of accrued annual leave upon termination are to include leave loading. In the case of Ryan v Whitehaven Coal Mining Pty Ltd, the Local Court of NSW held that an employer must pay an employee annual leave loading on termination of employment.

The Court analysed section 90(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and decided that on termination an employee should be paid the amount they would have received had the employee taken annual leave during their employment. This means an employee covered by an award or agreement that prescribes the payment of annual leave loading must receive the loading as a lump sum payment on termination.

The decision of the Local Court has decision supports the view long held by the Fair Work Ombudsman that where an employee is entitled to annual leave and annual leave loading during their employment, they are also entitled to the payment of annual leave loading on termination of employment.

If you have concerns about the calculation of your payment upon termination of your employment, please contact us.

Time to Get your Estate Planning in Order

As Lawyers, we actively encourage our clients to undertake Estate Planning for a very good reason. Assisting families dealing with a sick or dying relative or trying to administer an estate when no formal, legal documents are in place is frustrating and hard on everyone involved. For this reason, the start of the year is a good time to consider what you have already and what you may need.

Everyone over the age of 18 should consider their estate planning needs. It is not just for the elderly. Most adults have property, whether it just be a car or personal possessions, and almost everyone has a bank account. If something happens to you and you don’t have a Will or a Power of Attorney, even the task of withdrawing money for your loved one’s needs or shutting a bank account can cause major problems for those trying to administer or finalise your affairs. Key estate planning documents you need to consider include: your Will, Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive (“Living Will”) and Enduring Guardianship.

We can assist you assess which documents are relevant to your needs. Contact us for a complimentary information pack about these different types of estate planning documents.

Fair Work Commission’s Anti Bullying Orders

From 1 January 2014, a worker who has been bullied at work has been able to apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop the bullying. Where the FWC is satisfied that the applicant has been bullied, and that there is a risk that the bullying will continue, then they may make any order it considers appropriate to prevent the worker from being bullied.

Once the order to cease bullying behaviour is made by the FWC any person who contravenes the order is liable for prosecution which can include a maximum penalty of 60 penalty units ($10,200.00 for an individual and $51,000.00 for a corporation).

On 5 February 2014, the FWC confirmed it had received 44 applications for anti bullying orders (6 of which were withdrawn) for the month of January 2014. While this figure is much less than previously anticipated (in contrast, the FWC received over 1000 Unfair Dismissal applications in January 2014) the number of applications for bullying orders is more likely to increase as employees return to work from leave and general awareness of the new laws grows.

Contact us for further information on the new anti bullying laws and how they can affect you.

Important changes to reporting your credit history

Important amendments to “The Privacy Act 1988 and Australian Privacy Principles” will commence on 12 March 2014. For individuals, the changes mean additional information can be accessed by a credit provider when you apply for credit of any kind. The information to establish your credit worthiness will include details on your:

• Repayment history to credit providers over the past 24 months including defaults (available from 12 March 2014 but retrospective to include historic credit activity from December 2012)

• Monthly credit repayments habits – payments on time or late

• Credit applications – approved and declined

• Credit card limits – including applications to increase the limit

• Suspected fraudulent attempts to obtain credit or not complying with your credit repayment obligations

You may wish to consider ordering a copy of your credit record to ensure you are familiar with the information reported about you and to ensuring the captured information is accurate. A copy of your credit record can be obtained from https://www.checkyourcredit.com.au/Personal.

These are important changes for everyone. A good credit name is worth its weight in gold!