Legal Writers Wrap Up: April 2018

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The leaves are changing, and so is the law.

We take a look at what’s new and interesting in Australian law below. If you think your clients would benefit from an explainer on any of these developments, contact us and we’ll see if we can help!

Taxation

There have been some recent changes in employment taxes including:

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT): A new ATO Interpretative Decision confirms that after-school care provided at a primary school is exempt from FBT. The exemption applies even if the care is at a different school from where the parent works, as long as the employer is the same.

Superannuation: In the case of Australian Worker’s Union v Bluescope Steel it was found that superannuation may be payable on additional hours and public holidays.

Relevant to: Private and public schools and any employers who pay workers for additional hours or public holidays.

Immigration

The government has announced several new immigration initiatives including:

An inquiry that will look at how migration agents are regulated and the process for cancelling visas on criminal grounds.

A new visa for highly skilled talent, particularly in technology, which will be piloted from 1 July 2018.

Financial Services

New legislation imposes significant civil and criminal penalties on financial institutions who manipulate financial benchmarks. These penalties can be used against foreign nationals and companies, even if they are doing something overseas if it leads to an Australian entity suffering financial loss or other disadvantages.

Relevant to: Anyone involved in valuing or setting financial benchmarks.

Property

A recent NSW decision, Estens v Owners Corporation SP 11825 [2017] NSWCATCD 52, found that bodies corporate cannot pass by-laws restricting the ability of an apartment owner to list their home on AirBnB sites. While it’s a state-based decision, it is consistent with existing laws in other parts of the country, and likely to be upheld nationally.

Relevant to: Landlords, owners and bodies corporate

Employment

In Queensland, the new Labour Hire Licensing Scheme is the first instance in Australia of mandatory labour hire licensing laws. It affects all labour hire providers operating in Queensland, including those based overseas or interstate.

Relevant to: Labour hire providers operating in Queensland; labour hire workers working in Queensland

Nationally, all workers covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) are entitled to five days unpaid domestic violence leave per annum if they’re experiencing family or domestic violence. This came into effect on 26 March.

Relevant to: Employers and workers under the Fair Work Act 2009.

Tanya was admitted to the South Australian Bar in 2006 and practiced for several years in large and boutique firms before starting her own business in legal content writing and editing. Her areas of expertise include contract law, property law, personal finance and personal injury. She relishes the challenge of taking even the most intricate judgement and making it accessible to the interested reader.

Tanya is based in Adelaide. You can contact her by email at tanya@legalwriters.com.au or by telephone at +61 400 972 354.