PENALTY RATES DECISION - A SIGNIFICANT AND HISTORICAL DEPARTURE

  • By the source below
  • 04 Apr, 2017

Greg Arnold, Effective Workplace Solutions

Penalty Rates Decision – A Significant and Historical Departure

The Fair Work Commission has announced reductions in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries, meaning that many thousands of Australian businesses in these industry sectors will be able to potentially reduce their labour costs at crucial times of trading. The FWC decided not to reduce penalties for ordinary work performed on Saturday.

Justice Iain Ross said the FWC decided to cut Sunday and public holiday rates because they were not a “fair and relevant” safety net and agreed with employers that reducing rates might increase employment. Justice Ross said evidence from business owners demonstrated that the present level of Sunday rates had led them to restrict trading hours, reduce staff levels and restrict the services provided. This was consistent with the Productivity Commissions findings from 12 months ago. The FWC chose to cut Sunday rates but not as low as Saturday levels because “Sunday work has a higher level of disutility” for employees. Not unexpectedly Labour and the Unions have protested the decision suggesting that nearly half a million people, would lose up to $6,000 a year.

However, for business this is a decision that goes far beyond just the retail and hospitality industries. It does represent a significant shift and a willingness by the Fair Work Commission to surrender many of the bastions and historical norms of our industrial relations system that have been in place for decades and centuries, that in terms of a modern Australian business and a more modern Australian society may no longer be relevant.

In its decision, the FWC said the “existing Sunday penalty rates in the Hospitality, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Award do not achieve the modern awards objective, as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net.” Whilst these words may seem benign, in the context of the past, these are significant words.

Key elements of the decision include:

  1. Retail Industry – reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 200% to 150% (for permanent staff) and 175% (for casuals)
  2. Hospitality Industry - reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 175% to 150% (for permanent staff only);
  3. Fast Food Industry - reduction Sunday penalty rates from 150% to 125% (for permanent staff) and 175% to 150% (for casual staff); and
  4. Hospitality, Retail, Fast Food and Pharmacy industries - public holiday penalty rates reduced from 250% to 225% across all of these industries.
It should be noted that large parts of the variations sought in the Restaurant Award, and all of the claims sought in the Club industry were rejected by the Fair Work Commission.

The reductions take effect from July, however these are subject to possible transitional arrangements, and clients will be informed of the operative date and any transitional arrangements that will be in place. We suspect that those details will be finalised in April or May.
By the source below 19 Apr, 2017

Hair and beauty salons and retail outlets are the focus of a new Fair Work Ombudsman compliance campaign that will target businesses along the east coast of Australia.

Fair Work Inspectors will conduct audits of at least 1600 businesses in randomly selected urban and regional areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The campaign will be conducted in two phases, with audits to be conducted in waves.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the first phase was already underway and the campaign would take approximately 12 months to complete.

“The retail, hair and beauty sectors have been selected for audit because they employ high numbers of workers, particularly young people and workers from migrant backgrounds,” Campbell said. “In addition, previous audits into hair and beauty businesses and the retail industry have found high levels of non-compliance.”

“In 2013, the Fair Work Ombudsman released the results of a national hair and beauty campaign which identified an overall industry non-compliance rate of 55 per cent,” Campbell said. “Victoria recorded the highest rate of non-compliance with almost three quarters of salon operators audited not meeting their obligations under workplace laws,” Campbell said.

The retail industry is Australia’s second largest employer, and Campbell said a previous Fair Work Ombudsman national campaign saw $585 000 returned to 755 workers.

“Our 2012 report revealed that more than 40 per cent of the underpayments identified through the campaign were owed by NSW employers,” Campbell said. “This new hair, beauty and retail campaign will build on our previous work to reinforce the need for all workplace participants to proactively ensure they are meeting their obligations under Australian workplace laws.”

Inside Small Business

By the source below 06 Apr, 2017
It was Gold Coast-based brokerage Austbrokers Coast to Coast that took out Small Brokerage of the Year at the 2016 Australian Insurance Industry Awards. Less than a month later, Dale Hansen was named NIBA's Broker of the Year. There's no doubt 2016 was a year of success for Hansen and the brokerage, and he's extremely excited about times ahead.

An industry veteran with over two decades' experience and passionate about the role of the broker, Hansen is determined to play an active role in promoting awareness in the wider community of the important role of brokers, and precisely what they can achieve. Last year, Hansen told  ´╗┐Insurance Business ´╗┐ he's not buying into the "doom and gloom" regarding disruptors, and sees those businesses as providing an opportunity for brokers to reinforce their value proposition. Talking about current time, he said he's "never been prouder and more excited and enthusiastic to be an insurance broker".

We look forward to following Hansen, particularly the work he undertakes to bring home to the community outside the insurance space the real value that brokers can offer.
By the source below 04 Apr, 2017
New legislation may be enacted to force Queensland unit owners to sell their homes against their intentions if 75% of the property owners in the complex agree.  The existing Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (Qld) may only force unit owners to sell their home if the body corporate has 100% votes in favour of it.

The amendments to the current laws have come about after a recent review and report by the Commercial and Property Law Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology as commissioned by the Queensland Government. As a result of the review the Department of Justice and Attorney-General are now conducting a public consultation process which ends on 5 May 2017.

The report details recommendations which suggest that if a dissenting owner wishes, they may apply to the District Court within three (3) months to decide whether or not the termination plan should proceed. This recommendation is based upon the current New South Wales reformed body corporate legislation which commenced on 30 November 2016.

Under the reformed New South Wales legislation, lot owners of any scheme, regardless of the age of the scheme or its state of repair, may with the support of 75% of the other lot owners, approve a plan for the collective sale or redevelopment of the scheme. Western Australia is currently considering draft legislation that will implement similar changes.

If the new legislation is adopted it may still require several steps to be followed to develop a strata termination plan. The plan may include two (2) cooling-off periods and afterwards the owners would be given the opportunity on whether to move forward with the termination of an owner.

The proposed amendments are due to come into effect later this year (or early next year). These changes will deal with issues regarding outdated and often deteriorating unit blocks that are being maintained at great expense. Generally, the outdated and deteriorating unit blocks are situated on prime real estate which are in demand by developers to build better and safer apartments. This is an ever changing and interesting area of law and unit owners and body corporates alike should avail themselves of these suggested new laws.

For further information please contact our office on 07 5586 9955.
By the source below 04 Apr, 2017
Human error was the top cause of liability loss by value of claim for Australia and New Zealand, a new report has found.

Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty analysed more than 100,000 global claims in the corporate liability insurance market between 2011 and 2016 with 94% of local claims caused by human error.

The international insurer found that 80% of global losses came from ten causes, with defective product/work leading the way globally at 23%. Collison crash took second place on 22%, while human error rounded out the top three at 19%.

In Australia and New Zealand, human error was far and away the biggest cause for loss defective product/work taking second place with just 2%.

 “Liability losses are ubiquitous and can range from minor incidents to major disasters, always causing third party damage or injury,” said Alexander Mack, AGCS board member and chief claims officer.

“The risk landscape for companies is constantly shifting with liability risks on the rise globally.”

Mack noted that the use of new technology and the rise of the internet of things will create new liability scenarios in almost every business sector as the insurance market becomes more important.

While human error topped the charts in Australia and New Zealand, globally it accounts for just 1% of all claims received by insurers.

In a rising local trend, the report found that Australia is now second only to the United States in terms of securities class action exposures, which could become a key liability risk for the country over the coming years.

Top 10 causes of liability loss by total value of claims

  1. Defective product/work
  2. Collision/crash
  3. Human error
  4. Accidental nature/damage
  5. Slips/falls/falling objects
  6. Water/fire/smoke damage
  7. Environmental damage
  8. Natural hazards
  9. Vandalism/terrorism
  10. Property damage

** Please contact our office to discuss any of these matters further - we will help you make sure that you are correctly covered.
By the source below 04 Apr, 2017

It amazes me how many times people have spoken of Act of God being both an insured or excluded peril under an insurance policy.

There was even a famous Billy Connolly with this as its theme. My nephew, Jeffery, one of the guys sending me a joke questioned me on it and I thought it was worth setting the record straight.

Despite having read thousands of policies of insurance and being involved in the drafting of 100's more, I have never seen the words 'Act of God' appear in a policy as an insured, or excluded peril.

What it means in layman's term is:

a completely unforeseeable event where there has been no human intervention

Things such as fire, lightening, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, cyclone, flood, landslip, and the like.

Under policies such as a comprehensive motor vehicle policy, all these perils are in fact, insured. Most property policies, such as your home and contents, business pack or ISR, the vast majority would be insured, although landslip, action by the sea, storm surge and flood may be excluded.

If you are in any doubt as to the cover afforded by the policy which you have in place, I recommend that you speak to your insurance broker.

By the source below 04 Apr, 2017
Penalty Rates Decision – A Significant and Historical Departure

The Fair Work Commission has announced reductions in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries, meaning that many thousands of Australian businesses in these industry sectors will be able to potentially reduce their labour costs at crucial times of trading. The FWC decided not to reduce penalties for ordinary work performed on Saturday.

Justice Iain Ross said the FWC decided to cut Sunday and public holiday rates because they were not a “fair and relevant” safety net and agreed with employers that reducing rates might increase employment. Justice Ross said evidence from business owners demonstrated that the present level of Sunday rates had led them to restrict trading hours, reduce staff levels and restrict the services provided. This was consistent with the Productivity Commissions findings from 12 months ago. The FWC chose to cut Sunday rates but not as low as Saturday levels because “Sunday work has a higher level of disutility” for employees. Not unexpectedly Labour and the Unions have protested the decision suggesting that nearly half a million people, would lose up to $6,000 a year.

However, for business this is a decision that goes far beyond just the retail and hospitality industries. It does represent a significant shift and a willingness by the Fair Work Commission to surrender many of the bastions and historical norms of our industrial relations system that have been in place for decades and centuries, that in terms of a modern Australian business and a more modern Australian society may no longer be relevant.

In its decision, the FWC said the “existing Sunday penalty rates in the Hospitality, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Award do not achieve the modern awards objective, as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net.” Whilst these words may seem benign, in the context of the past, these are significant words.

Key elements of the decision include:

  1. Retail Industry – reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 200% to 150% (for permanent staff) and 175% (for casuals)
  2. Hospitality Industry - reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 175% to 150% (for permanent staff only);
  3. Fast Food Industry - reduction Sunday penalty rates from 150% to 125% (for permanent staff) and 175% to 150% (for casual staff); and
  4. Hospitality, Retail, Fast Food and Pharmacy industries - public holiday penalty rates reduced from 250% to 225% across all of these industries.
It should be noted that large parts of the variations sought in the Restaurant Award, and all of the claims sought in the Club industry were rejected by the Fair Work Commission.

The reductions take effect from July, however these are subject to possible transitional arrangements, and clients will be informed of the operative date and any transitional arrangements that will be in place. We suspect that those details will be finalised in April or May.
By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

Having a licence to operate a vehicle is a well known requirement. Some might not be aware of this requirement in respect of pleasure craft in particular jet skis.

The enclosed Carter Newell legal update contains discussion of an interesting case authority in respect of personal injuries litigation arising from jet ski usage and in particular unlicensed drivers.

A brief summary of the judgment: The precedent holds that failure to possess a jet ski licence, despite being a breach of policy terms and conditions, but which does not cause the accident occurring , does not give the Insurer right to deny coverage. This is true of Australian law because of protections in section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act (ICA).

It is conceivable that in the family dynamic, the dominant driver would be licenced with other family members not being licenced. Without ICA s 54, an Insurer would be able to decline the claim. In other circumstances, where the act of not being licenced, say from lack of instructed practical knowledge does contribute to the occurrence of the claim, the Insurer will almost certainly be entitled to deny indemnity to the policy holder regardless of s 54 of ICA.

We take this opportunity to remind clients that even a family member or other acquaintance that only operates a vehicle for a minimal amount of time, exposes themselves to the prospect of being uninsured because of a technicality.

Given this case involve the unfortunate amputation below the knee of the claimant’s leg, it shows that jet ski injuries can be severe such that the potential for significant uninsured losses is far from trivial.

Below is a link to Carter Newell’s case discussion and judgment itself on AUSTLII should you wish to read more.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/act/ACTCA/2016/59.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=title("2016%20ACTCA%2059")

 

Kind regards,

Ryan Sandilands LLB GDLP GDFS ANZIIF Fellow CIP
Claims & Risk Manager

By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

Below is an article published in couriermail.com.au. It again highlights the growing need to business of all sizes to hold this insurance. This is just as important as having public liability cover. We will be talking to each of you about this cover when we next review your covers but if you would like to look at this sooner please contact our office.

ONE in five Australian small and medium-sized businesses have been hit with a cyber-attack, polling suggests.

And many have paid the price in the form of cash or intellectual property, according to the survey results.

The latest Norton SMB Cybersecurity Survey indicates that 19 per cent — or about 400,000 — of the 2.1 million Australian small and medium-sized businesses have been attacked at some point by cyber threats.

Phishing scams, where criminals send emails impersonating someone and ask for money or intellectual property, are the main form of attack. The Norton survey also found 11 per cent of small businesses had been hit with ransomware attacks.

In such attacks, criminals take control of computer systems remotely until a ransom is paid.

Among those targeted, 34 per cent paid the ransom at an average cost of $4677.

Cyber security expert Mark Gorrie from Symantec said he had even heard of businesses paying a $50,000 ransom to regain control of their data.

“Two respondents said that had paid more than $50,000 to recover their data…once they are in that situation and realise they can’t survive without that information, they are paying up.

By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

Professional car thieves have colour preferences when choosing their targets, according to a new study by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.

A black 1997-2000 Holden Commodore VT is three times more likely to be stolen for profit than a red one, but black and red Commodores have similar short-term thefts rates.

By type, green small and medium passenger vehicles are the most likely to be stolen.

The 2015/16 theft rate for green cars was 3.58 per 1000 vehicles, followed by black at 2.96.

The next most popular targets by type are large black passenger vehicles, black sports vehicles, green SUVs and black light commercial vehicles.

Black cars became increasingly popular to own in 2015/16, up 29% since 2011/2012, and even more popular to steal, up 56% since 2011/12.

Red 1995-2000 Nissan Pulsars have the highest theft rate by model (29.6 thefts per 1000 registrations) – a 46% higher theft rate than blue ones.

Black 2006-13 Holden Commodores have a 57% higher theft rate than silver ones.

By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

The insurance bill for the hailstorm that pummelled parts of Sydney and the Illawarra on February 18 has passed $350 million, according to latest figures from IAG and Suncorp.

IAG today announced it has received more than 20,000 claims, expected to cost $160 million, and its net exposure could reach $200 million after allowing for reinsurance.

Suncorp has received about 11,000 claims across its insurance brands, at an estimated cost of $150-$170 million.

The Insurance Council of Australia says 48,000 claims have been received for the hailstorm, with 38% for damage to motor vehicles, while roofs and incidental contents claims account for the rest.

IAG is close to its 2016/17 natural perils allowance of $680 million, reaching about $650 million at the end of February. However, a 2016/17-specific natural perils cover of $96 million effectively extends the allowance to $776 million.

Suncorp’s total natural hazard claims stand at $610-$630 million for the eight months to February 28.

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