Does your employment agreement meet Australian workplace laws?

A fast-food franchise signed a Proactive Compliance Deed in 2012 with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure that it was following Australian workplace laws.

The self-audit of the employment records has revealed that the company will have to repay $645,253 to 3,140 employees who were underpaid. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, more than 1,200 current and former employees had been back-paid a total of $346,285 by 27 August 2014. 

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Privacy is vital for good customer relationships

Privacy is an important consideration when businesses are collecting personal and confidential information. 

The Queensland Business and Industry Portal states that educating staff can ensure a culture of security within an organisation where privacy is key. 

On March 12 2014, the Australian government introduced new privacy laws, which include the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, Privacy Regulation 2013, the Credit Reporting Privacy Code. As part of the amendment Act, the federal government introduced 13 new privacy principles.

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Queensland Supreme Court decide beneficiary in imprecise will

A recent case at the Queensland Supreme Court highlights the importance of estate planning and regularly updating your will.

The case concerned an imprecise will. The deceased had had two wills made up within nine days of each other in August 1998. He died in 2003, but by 2014 the administration of the estate had not been completed. 

The first will, dated August 11, stipulated that the deceased’s estate should be split between three residual beneficiaries, the respondent’s three children. The second will made on August 20 added that his house, or the proceeds of the sale, be given to his late wife’s niece. The August 20 will was admitted to probate on September 15 2010.

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Estate planning is the focus of new research

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Health Law Research Centre is conducting a study on the process of making a will and distributing assets. 

The aim of the study is to explore the level of understanding people have surrounding asset distribution and intestacy.

Professor Ben White from QUT’s Health Law Research Centre said that creating a will and estate planning can be difficult for people to address. Such issues can also be tricky when there are complex circumstances surrounding the division of the estate. 

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Australians need better work-life balance

Businesses in Brisbane and Redlands should pay attention to the findings of the 2014 Organisation for Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Better Life Index. The index ranks the 34 OECD countries.

The index ranked Australia as above average for all indicators except for work-life balance. The OECD state “evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardise safety and increase stress”. Unfortunately, 14.2 per cent of Australians employees work very long hours (more than 50 hours per week). The OECD average is 8.8 per cent. 

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What are unfair contract terms?

Presently the unfair contract provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) apply to consumer contracts only, but do not apply to a contract to supply goods or services from one business to another for business use.

Consultation regarding unfair contract terms for small businesses was recently conducted by the Australian Treasury. 

The Australian Treasury states that small businesses are being negatively affected by unfair contract terms that are being written into standard contract terms. The aim of the consultation process is to provide small businesses with the same protections, in regards to unfair contract terms, as consumers. 

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Gender reporting may address the widening pay gap

The gender pay gap has reached its highest point in thirty years, according to statistics released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Men were found to earn on average $283.20 more a week than women – that’s 18.2 per cent more, according to the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Diversity Council Australia (DCA) CEO Lisa Annese explained that this may in part be attributed to the motherhood penalty, which refers to the negative effect starting a family has on a woman.  

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Small business is an integral part of the Queensland economy

The Queensland government will emphasise the importance of small business to the Queensland economy during Small Business Week in September. 

In a newsletter regarding small business week, the Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said small businesses are vital to increasing employment and economic progress throughout Queensland. 

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Dispute resolution becoming easier for small businesses

When small-business owners run into problems with other companies over a commercial contract, it can be difficult to know where to turn to. Obviously, contacting a lawyer is a good start. Our lawyers offer personalised advice to suit your needs.

Another option that small-business owners can take is to investigate the various alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that are available for companies looking to solve a disagreement without going to court. To help make this step, the federal government released a new online tool on the 24th of June that can help direct business owners to the right avenues for their disagreement.

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Saturday marks the beginning of Seniors Week

Last Saturday marked the beginning of Seniors Week in Queensland. Seniors Week celebrates the older people in Queensland and the contribution they make to the wider community. 

Seniors Week is organised by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland and runs from August 16 to 24. A number of activities are run throughout the week for Queenslanders to get involved in, including tai chi, outdoor activities, high tea, workshops to help Seniors with new technologies and advance care planning training.

COTA Queensland say the aim of the week is to improve community attitudes toward older people, enhance community connections and facilitate community participation. The Queensland Government is the principal sponsor of Seniors Week.  

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