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We work collaboratively with our clients to build strong, sustainable relationships. Our team is committed to delivering consistent high standards of service, and we understand the importance of accessibility. Working with us, you'll enjoy open communication, meaning well scoped, properly resourced and effectively managed matters.

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Latest Case

Providing strategic advice on expansion structures November 16, 2018

Founded in Bondi Beach in 2012, Bailey Nelson has rapidly grown into a global eyewear retailer and service provider with boutiques in Australia, London, Canada and New Zealand. The strong demand for their products and … Continued

Latest News

Maddocks appoints restructuring and insolvency partner in Sydney January 14, 2019

Monday 14 January  Maddocks has appointed its second new partner in a month with the appointment of Danielle Funston. Danielle is a restructuring and insolvency lawyer who advises clients on recoveries, liquidations, corporate restructuring and … Continued

Latest Article

Made in Australia: Tightened restrictions on the use of country of origin labels January 14, 2019

The recent decision of Nature’s Care Manufacture Pty Ltd v Australian Made Campaign Limited by the Federal Court of Australia has provided much needed guidance on the requirements for ‘Made in Australia’ and other country … Continued

Four-year Modern Award review: what it means for you

When the Fair Work Act was introduced in 2009, the Act brought with it an obligation on the Fair Work Commission to carry out four-yearly reviews of modern awards.

The review of the higher education modern awards, namely the Higher Education Industry Academic Staff Award 2010 and the Higher Education Industry General Staff Award 2010, has been happening for some time now and the Commission has received submissions from various parties on a range of issues.

The most significant issue for the higher education industry considered to date has been that of casual employment. It has been proposed the casual employment clause in the higher education modern awards be amended to require:

  • a minimum engagement period of four hours (up from three hours in the current awards)
  • a deeming provision that affects casual conversion rights.

It is this deeming provision that could have the most impact on how institutions engage casual employees.

Firstly, the deeming provision would reduce the service eligibility threshold for casual conversion from 12 months to six months. Secondly, instead of requiring an employer to not unreasonably refuse a casual employee’s conversion to a permanent employee, a casual employee who has worked for more than six months will automatically be deemed to be a permanent employee, and written reasons would need to be provided if conversion is rejected. The proposed model term also sets out provisions dealing with the hours of work that must be offered for non-casual employment and the recognition of prior casual service.

The Commission is yet to make a determination regarding the amendments, with a determination likely in early 2017. Any determination ultimately made by the Commission will have an impact on your institution’s next enterprise agreement. This is because before the Commission can approve an enterprise agreement, it must be satisfied that employees would be better off on an overall basis when compared to the underlying modern award. This is known as the better off overall test, or the ‘BOOT’.

If the proposed amendments are made to the casual employment clause, and your institution’s enterprise agreement does not take into account those amendments, the enterprise agreement may be found to not pass the BOOT, resulting in the need for undertakings to be given or continued negotiations.

It is therefore important you take into account any changes made to the higher education modern awards through the four-yearly review process.

When the Fair Work Act was introduced in 2009, the Act brought with it an obligation on the Fair Work Commission to carry out four-yearly reviews of modern awards.

The review of the higher education modern awards, namely the Higher Education Industry Academic Staff Award 2010 and the Higher Education Industry General Staff Award 2010, has been happening for some time now and the Commission has received submissions from various parties on a range of issues.

The most significant issue for the higher education industry considered to date has been that of casual employment. It has been proposed the casual employment clause in the higher education modern awards be amended to require:

  • a minimum engagement period of four hours (up from three hours in the current awards)
  • a deeming provision that affects casual conversion rights.

It is this deeming provision that could have the most impact on how institutions engage casual employees.

Firstly, the deeming provision would reduce the service eligibility threshold for casual conversion from 12 months to six months. Secondly, instead of requiring an employer to not unreasonably refuse a casual employee’s conversion to a permanent employee, a casual employee who has worked for more than six months will automatically be deemed to be a permanent employee, and written reasons would need to be provided if conversion is rejected. The proposed model term also sets out provisions dealing with the hours of work that must be offered for non-casual employment and the recognition of prior casual service.

The Commission is yet to make a determination regarding the amendments, with a determination likely in early 2017. Any determination ultimately made by the Commission will have an impact on your institution’s next enterprise agreement. This is because before the Commission can approve an enterprise agreement, it must be satisfied that employees would be better off on an overall basis when compared to the underlying modern award. This is known as the better off overall test, or the ‘BOOT’.

If the proposed amendments are made to the casual employment clause, and your institution’s enterprise agreement does not take into account those amendments, the enterprise agreement may be found to not pass the BOOT, resulting in the need for undertakings to be given or continued negotiations.

It is therefore important you take into account any changes made to the higher education modern awards through the four-yearly review process.