At the commencement of 2018, the Fair Work Commission decided to remove the abandonment of employment clauses from the 6 Modern Awards that included them:

– clause 21 of the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010;
– clause 17 of the Business Equipment Award 2010;
– clause 16 of the Contract Call Centres Award 2010;
– clause 14 of the Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2010;
– clause 11 of the Nursery Award 2010; and
– clause 10.6 2 of the Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2010.

Over the course of the year, both employer and union groups made submissions regarding possible alternatives setting out procedures for abandonment of employment. In particular, in relation to the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010. In the end, the Fair Work Commission was of the opinion that ‘the provision cannot be regarded a necessary to meet the modern awards objective’. The abandonment of employment clauses were then removed from each of these awards, effective from the start of the first full pay period that commenced on or after 20 December 2018.

For employers, this results in a reliance on the ‘common law’ aspect of how to best handle potential abandonment of employment scenarios. In a nutshell, it’s not enough to simply declare that an employee has abandoned their employment if they haven’t turned up to work (without a valid, communicated reason) for 3 or more days. Repeated attempts to communicate with the employee and ascertain their ongoing employment expectations are often required. These communication attempts should be recorded and may require an employer to try to contact the employee through varied means. Each abandonment of employment scenario should be resolved on an individual basis, as each situation can be quite different.

The Workplace Central team are experienced in managing a variety of human resources challenges on behalf of our clients and would love to talk with you about your employment needs in 2019.

This is not legal advice and should not be relied upon when making decisions about your business. For personalised support, please contact our Workplace Partners on 1300 766 380.