Special Counsel & Senior Product Manager
Infrastructure & Construction
We are Australia’s leading workplace legal and human resources solutions business. We specialise in providing you with the highest quality employment law advice. In addition, our team of human resources (HR) consultants devise smart ways to ensure that you manage your people as efficiently as possible and reduce the chances of workplace problems arising. We can also provide you with migration advice, a smart technology solution designed specifically for Australian businesses and a complete workplace management package for smaller businesses.
At FCB Group, we focus on providing you with the best possible workplace relations and legal advisory service. This can range from providing you with straight legal advice, to drawing on our knowledge of employment law, migration law, workplace relations consulting and technology to come up with a holistic solution that will make your business more efficient and productive. We’re also responsive (meaning we understand that workplace problems don’t necessarily occur between the hours of nine and five). We’re pleased that so many of our clients agree that we’re meeting our objectives.
At FCB Group, we believe it is the quality of our team of employment lawyers, workplace consultants and technology experts that separates us from our competitors. The majority of our lawyers have interdisciplinary backgrounds, meaning that they draw not only on their understanding of workplace relations law to solve your problems, but also on their knowledge of how workplaces actually operate in the real world. The team includes three accredited workplace relations specialists. In addition, our lawyers and consultants have specialist knowledge of a range of industries, including infrastructure and construction, manufacturing, health and aged care, education, retail, hospitality and leisure, and recruitment.
As a practice specialising in employment law, workplace relations, and work health and safety (WHS), we are pleased to have received recognition for our work. Chambers and Partners 2015 described FCB Workplace Law as ‘a good boutique with a great reputation’. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2015 stated that FCB Workplace Law’s team is ‘responsive, business relevant, knowledgeable and good value for money’. FCB Workplace Law is also recognised in Best Lawyers 2017 and shortlisted for Employment Law Specialist Firm of the Year in the 2016 Australasian Law Awards.
FCB Workplace Law is Australia’s leading workplace relations law firm. We practise only in the area of employment law. We do it all day, every day. As a result, we are very good at it and, over the past 25 years, we have built one of the most highly regarded employment law practices in Australia. In terms of size, we are larger than the workplace relations teams in many of the large full-service firms. Our expertise in employment law is unparalleled and our team of lawyers includes three accredited workplace law specialists.
FCB Group offers HR Services through an expert team of experienced Human Resources consultants who specialise in supporting your people and culture functions. Whether you have a short-term assignment or a long-term project or parental leave cover – we have a group of individuals who are available at very short notice to cover any HR gaps in your business.
FCB Smart Visa helps employers who need to attract and retain the best human talent in a highly competitive global marketplace. We enable clients to have peace of mind knowing they can have movement of key employees, crucial to the success of major projects, where and when they need them. We deliver timely, tailor-made, sector specific advice on all matters involving the ever-changing Australian immigration laws. Unlike other providers, FCB Smart Visa is part of FCB Group, which delivers complete people management solutions to more than 10'000 Australian businesses, including some of the country's most recognisable brand names. We have particular expertise in the areas of IT, creative industries, recruitment, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, health & aged care and sport.
enableHR is a state-of-the-art online information and management system that delivers affordable and best-practice HR and WHS processes, tools, advice and record management. Widely regarded as the most sophisticated technological workplace solution on the market, enableHR provides you with a cloud-based employee management tool that results in greater efficiency and higher productivity. It can be used by enterprises, businesses, small-to-medium sized businesses, industry organisations and not-for-profit organisations.
HR Assured is our complete workplace relations solution for small-to-medium sized businesses. By providing you with a comprehensive human resource solution, HR Assured helps reduce the risks associated with managing people. Most importantly, it makes businesses more efficient and is also cost effective.
At FCB Group, we have been advising small and large businesses operating in the building, infrastructure, services and facilities management industries on workplace relations strategies and employment issues for over 20 years. Our infrastructure and construction team helps clients with the full spectrum of employment arrangements. We are also experienced in managing disputes, enterprise agreements and project contracts. If required, we can develop workplace management plans specifically tailored to this sector that streamline human resources processes and procedures for increased efficiency.
At FCB Group, we are very aware that, over the past 30 years, the industry has transformed. Operators today need to develop sophisticated industrial relations strategies if they are to remain competitive. Our manufacturing team helps strengthen our clients’ businesses by advising on industrial relations governance, developing innovative enterprise bargaining agreement strategies, setting up initiatives that drive workforce engagement, developing bespoke contracts and policies, assisting with union management, defending employment claims, and managing work health and safety issues. In addition, we can help companies that recruit workers from overseas to navigate Australia’s complex migration laws.
At FCB Group, we have specialised knowledge of the health and aged care industry in Australia. As an industry that is undergoing considerable growth, the sector is facing numerous challenges, especially in the area of people management. Our health and aged care team regularly assists clients with compliance, cultural and workforce development issues. We also advise businesses operating in this sector on recruitment and hiring (both pre-hiring and on-boarding processes), organisational change and restructuring, management of ill and injured workers, and workplace investigations. In addition, we provide assistance and advice on enterprise agreements and bargaining.
At FCB Group, we know that most retailers are finding it challenging to grow their businesses in the current economic climate. In addition, workplace laws are constantly changing, so remaining compliant can be a constant struggle. Our knowledge of the retail sector is unparalleled. We partner with the Australian Retailers Association and are currently representing a number of industry associations during the Fair Work Commission’s award review process. Our lawyers and consultants combine technical expertise with commercial pragmatism to offer long-term solutions that are specifically tailored to the requirements of retail businesses and prevent workplace issues emerging in the first place.
At FCB Group, we are very aware that, as people have become more focused on the activities they enjoy away from work, the hospitality and leisure industry has grown rapidly. We also know that in an industry built around adaptable, flexible workforces, there is always the potential for workplace issues to emerge that can quickly escalate into major problems. Our hospitality and leisure team can advise on all types of statutory entitlements and remuneration, as well as develop commercially pragmatic and efficient strategies for performance management. We can also help to devise, negotiate and implement enterprise bargaining agreements. Finally, if necessary, we represent clients in all types of employment-related litigation (including unfair dismissal, bullying, breach of contract and discrimination-related claims).
At FCB Group, we know that the key to a successful recruitment business is satisfied workers and candidates. We also know that workplace relations and safety compliance under tripartite employment arrangements can be challenging. Our recruitment team is experienced in managing client and workforce relationships in the recruitment sector. To help recruitment businesses remain competitive, we provide strategic advice on workplace relations governance, develop processes and procedures that ensure good workforce and expectations management, draft industry-specific contracts and policies, defend employee claims and grievances, and prepare complete workplace health and safety management systems.
FCB Group has been advising national and state sporting bodies, player associations and professional athletes for more than 20 years. In addition, FCB Group continues to enjoy a longstanding partnership with Fitness Australia and a number of key franchise businesses and individual operators, delivering innovative and practical workplace management and compliance solutions across the fitness industry.
Special Counsel & Senior Product Manager
Infrastructure & Construction
By Adrian Turner WorkSafe Victoria will soon commence issuing infringement noti...
By Monday 27 September 2021, employers with more than 15 employees must assess whether any casuals employed before 27 March 2021 are eligible for casual conversion to permanent part-time or full-time employment. Read this article for more information about the casual conversion process, including where offers of conversion must be made. Where an offer of part-time employment is made, it is essential employers are across any obligations contained in applicable awards or enterprise agreements that arise for newly converted part-time employees. The regular pattern of work requirement Unlike casual employment, which allows for the employer to flexibly alter the hours and days of work offered (if any work at all), many awards and enterprise agreements require part-time employment to be subject to written agreement on a regular pattern of work between the employee and employer. Under the General Retail Industry Award 2020 for example, the employer must enter into a written agreement with a part-time employee at the time of engagement which must cover: The guaranteed hours to be worked on particular days of the week; The start and finish times for those days; and When meal......
Following a recent spate of outbreaks in or resulting from the construction sector, on Monday night, the Victorian Government announced that all construction activity in Melbourne and certain Local Government Areas would be shut down for a two-week period. With more than 400 of Victoria’s COVID-19 cases linked to construction workers, the Victorian Government has followed up its initial plans of mandatory vaccination requirements with an abrupt fortnight closure of construction projects in metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire. There are exemptions on safety grounds, such as attending sites to ensure they’re shut down safely, but otherwise, the industry has come to a noisy, grinding halt, with violent protests needing to be dispersed by the Victorian Police. The construction industry, identified as a highly mobile and generally young workforce, have been identified as a particular risk for transmission of the COVID-19 virus as a result of factors such as work performed at multiple sites, travelling long distances for work, and congregating in confined spaces such as tearooms/lunchrooms......
In response to the rising COVID-19 transmission rates linked to the construction industry in Victoria, all construction workers will be required to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Thursday 23 September 2021, unless a medical exemption applies. From Friday 24 September 2021, employers will be required to sight evidence from all workers that they have received their first dose of the vaccine, and prohibit entry to work sites to any individuals who do not comply with the mandatory vaccination requirements. Additionally, construction workers are no longer permitted to travel between regional and metropolitan Melbourne for work. This is to prevent the virus from ‘hitching a ride’ when workers are travelling between communities and sites. The economic impact that these new restrictions will have on supply and demand for building assistance is yet to be measured, but it will undoubtedly have significant implications for both the construction industry and its clients. For any queries on how to best manage these new restrictions, contact Dani Salinger from FCB's Infrastructure and Construction team......
In response to a record number of COVID-19 transmissions, the Victorian Government has announced a four-week compliance blitz within the construction industry in the hope of slowing down the spread of the latest outbreak in which a man in his 20s recently lost his life to the virus. The blitz is targeting small-to-medium sized businesses to support their often mobile and young workforce to understand their obligations under the Chief Health Officer’s directions. According to Government reports, the Industry Enforcement Engagement operation, Work Safe, and the Victoria Building Authority will be taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to breaches of health orders. Lunch or tea rooms have been cited as being problem areas, as often this is where union meetings are held, workers congregate to consume food and drink, and shift changeovers occur between colleagues. In pre-COVID-19 times, this was standard practice, and people interacted freely. Now, rigorous and protective procedures and policies are required to be in place. Additionally, all construction workers must check-in when entering a site using the Victorian Government QR Code Service, and always......
Today is R U OK? Day, recognised nationally as part of the R U OK? initiative. In the midst of a global pandemic, where we are experiencing lockdowns, working from home and extremely challenging times, it’s more important than ever to value our mental health and the health of those around us. R U OK? Day focuses on keeping everyone connected and starting a conversation around mental health by simply asking: “Are you okay?” – a question which fuels a conversation that could potentially change someone’s life. In this article we discuss how employers can support mental health during a pandemic. What are some warning signs to look out for in your employees? Workers often spend much of their lives at work, and employers may be in one of the best positions to recognise the early warning signs of poor mental health. Such signs vary between person to person, but may include: Increased absenteeism or tardiness. Looking tired and seeming stressed. Having trouble concentrating, making decisions and managing multiple tasks. Being unusually emotional and getting frustrated with people. Avoiding social activities. Outbursts and mood swings. Sitting alone at lunchtime. Unable......
Employers in Greater Sydney have been given more time to comply with the Government’s mandatory vaccination requirements for employees living or residing in the 12 local government areas of concern who leave their LGAs for work. As of today, Monday September 6, the mandatory vaccination deadline for authorised workers from the 12 Sydney LGAs of concern has been pushed back in a two-stage process. From Monday, 20 September 2021, authorised workers must not leave their LGA for work unless they have: Had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; or Evidence of a medical exemption (obtained from a medical practitioner in the form approved by the NSW Chief Health Officer) Whilst this deadline has been extended by a fortnight (as it was originally intended to commence today, 6 September 2021), it comes with an additional requirement: that from Thursday, 9 September 2021, authorised workers must not leave their LGA for work unless they meet one of the above requirements OR they have booked their vaccination appointment for a date on or prior to 19 September 2021. If the latter, the worker must have evidence of the appointment and present such proof if requested by their employer......
By Dani Salinger & Simon Saha Industrial manslaughter is primarily associated with the construction industry as the risk to the physical safety of employees is often higher. Simply put, blue-collar employees face greater risks to their physical safety compared to white-collar employees – the risk to life is larger given the nature of work carried out and our laws are still catching up. Australia’s industrial manslaughter laws are intricate and differ in each state and territory; changing social expectations influence their enforcement, and their inconsistency may, in part, sometimes be attributable to the particular political flavour of the day. In opposition, the construction industry in Australia is far from inconsistent. According to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) this industry generates over $360 billion in revenue annually and produces around nine per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With a projected growth rate of 2.4 per cent over the next five years, it isn’t surprising that employment rates in this industry are only growing. In this article, we answer critical questions about Australian......
In March 2021, the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2021 (Bill) passed Parliament. The Bill introduced several changes to casual employment, including providing a statutory mechanism for casual conversion. Before these changes, there was no universal entitlement to casual conversion, rather, employees covered by a modern award were able to request casual conversion if they met the eligibility criteria outlined in the award. Now, the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) requires employers to proactively offer casual conversion to eligible employees. This applies to all employees in the business, not just those covered by a modern award. There is a transitional period that ends on 27 September 2021 to allow employers time to make assessments as to whether they need to offer casual conversion. Businesses must therefore determine who is eligible and make offers of conversion before this date. In this article, we answer some common questions and share some tips to help businesses prepare for casual conversion. 1. Which businesses need to make an offer? The changes apply to national system employers, which are those that fall under the......
By Brittany Byrne & Adrian Turner Before the pandemic, working from home (WFH) was a workplace perk that was hard to come by – this type of workplace flexibility was irresistible to many. WFH has significant benefits to employees and employers. However, as WFH is rapidly becoming the new norm amid an unrelenting pandemic, it is exposing more and more the psychological risks to employees. While many thought we would say goodbye to lockdowns as we farewelled 2020, the last two months have proven otherwise. The current COVID-19 crisis in New South Wales and the seemingly endless occurrence of lockdowns in the rest of Australia’s states and territories have forced employees to exclusively work from home for periods beyond those ever anticipated. The increased isolation and uncertainty in the current climate are a timely reminder for employers to recognise and appropriately respond to the risk of psychological injury of their employees while they’re working from home. Psychological injury includes a range of symptoms that can affect how we feel, think, behave, and interact with others. Depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorders – these are just......