• John Stirk

FRED’S BAD CALL

For 20 years, readers of the Centralian Advocate looked forward to the Friday edition. Therein Povey Stirk Lawyers published a 300 word tale of fiction based on legally newsworthy events.

The following is a sample of these blogs

1st March 2019


Dead Rock Enterprises conducted a 7/11 business in Alice Springs. Fred and Barney were the owners and each worked 40 hours a week. The remaining 72 hours a week were split between four employees.


The four employees had been employed as casuals. The work suited them and Fred and Barney decided it was in everyone’s best interests if the terms of the employment relationship were in writing. Barney had heard of workplace agreements and called the document by that name. Fred decided that the payroll was a bit messy if he had to calculate penalty rates and decided that the hourly rate was the same regardless of when the employees worked. Barney checked the Award rate for people and decided to add an extra $2.00 per hour to the rate. The employees all signed the new agreements.


Six months later Fred and Barney decided to sell to Mr Rubble. Mr Rubble told Fred and Barney that he had a large family who would be assisting him in the business and he did not want the existing casual employees. Fred and Barney told the employees their services were no longer required and gave each of them a day’s notice.

Two months later Fred and Barney were told by an inspector from the Federal Department of Employment & Workplace Relations that the four casual employees were owed considerable sums of money. The inspector explained to Fred and Barney that merely calling something a workplace agreement does not fit within the requirements of the Federal legislation and overtime was payable.


Where an employer wishes to trade off minimum safety net provisions imposed in an Award, it is necessary for the new arrangements to be compliant with the better off overall provisions, and it would be wise for an employer to seek advice from an employment law specialist.

Disclaimer: This document provides general information and is not legal advice. While we endeavour to ensure the information is correct at the date of publication, laws frequently change. If anything in this post is relevant to you, please contact us for advice on your specific situation