With 2019 coming to an end, it is time to think about the New Year. 2020 is already looking like a busy year ahead as there are already notable changes on the horizon which will have a significant impact on most businesses, with the first change to commence on 1 January 2020.

1 January 2020 – Deadline for Compliant Whistleblower Policies

In case you have missed our previous updates, as of 1 January 2020, all public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities must have a compliant whistleblower policy in place following the enactment of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019.

It is important that you take the time to review any existing whistleblower policy you have, as failure to have a compliant whistleblower policy may attract large financial penalties.  If you do not have a whistleblower policy in place, you will need to have one in place by 1 January 2020.

For a whistleblower policy to comply with the new legislation it needs to deal with certain matters.  Click here to read more about what information must be included in a whistleblower policy.

If you are unsure whether your organisation requires a whistleblower policy and/or you would like us to review your current whistleblower policy or draft a new whistleblower policy for your organisation to ensure you have a policy that it is compliant with the new whistleblower laws, you should urgently get in contact with our office for assistance to ensure you are prepared for the 1 January 2020 deadline.

4 February 2020 – Variations to Modern Awards

As part of the Fair Work Commission’s four-yearly modern award review, many modern awards have undergone changes which are set to commence operation next year, some as soon as 4 February 2020.  In order to assist your organisation in preparing for these changes, the Fair Work Commission has released an updated draft for 31 modern awards which have been varied.  Click here to see if your business is affected by any of these changes to the modern awards.

We recommend that you take the time now to ensure that you are familiar with the changes which are to be implemented.  If you would like to discuss the impact that the changes may have on your organisation or to ensure that your employment contracts and practices reflect the requirements of the changes to the modern awards, please contact our office for advice.

1 March 2020 – Annualised Salary Clauses to be Implemented in Modern Awards

It is common practice for employers to adopt a “set and forget” approach when paying employees an annualised salary and most employers assume that by paying an annualised salary all entitlements to penalty rates, overtime rates and annual leave loading is accounted for.  However, times are changing as the Fair Work Commission has made significant changes to the annualised salary provisions in 22 modern awards which put onerous obligations on employers which are set to commence on 1 March 2020.

Some of the key changes to the annualised salary provisions include:

1. Employers will need to record the assumptions used to factor in the amount of overtime and penalty rates that an employee’s salary compensates for.

2. Employers will need to record the number of overtime hours and/or other penalty rate hours, referred to as the “outer limits”, which are considered to be compensated for in the employee’s annualised salary and the “outer limits” of ordinary hours which will attract payment of overtime and/or penalty rates.

3. Timesheets will need to be kept recording the start and finishing times and any unpaid meal breaks taken by an employee and signed at the end of each pay period or roster cycle to acknowledge that hours recorded are true and correct.

4. Reconciliations will need to be performed to ensure that an employee’s salary adequately compensates them for their actual hours worked. Any underpayment identified will need to be paid to the employee within 14 days.

5. The employee must be better off overall and the annualised salary must be no less than the amount the employee would have received under the modern award for work performed over the year during which the salary is paid.

1 March 2020 may seem far away and you may think you have plenty of time to prepare, however there will be a significant amount of work involved in reviewing your salaried arrangements and making sure they are complaint with the new requirements.  If you would like further information about what steps you should be undertaking and /or how to prepare for 1 March 2020, please contact our office.



In case you do not follow us on LinkedIn we have provided a summary of the notable updates we posted throughout December 2019.

Failure to Provide Meal Breaks can Result in an Underpayment

Often when things are busy, work takes precedent and employees are not granted meal breaks or rest breaks in accordance with the applicable modern award or the industrial instrument.  Click here to read more about the implications of employee’s not taking meal breaks or rest breaks.

Leave Granted to Appeal Personal/Carer’s Leave Decision

Throughout the year we have posted several updates regarding the calculation of personal/carer’s leave following the Full Federal Court decision of Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWU [2019] FCAFC 138.  Click here to read more about the High Court’s decision to grant special leave to appeal the decision.



The team at HR Law would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!   We thank you for your ongoing support throughout 2019 and we look forward to working with you in 2020.  Our office will be closed from 12.00pm on Friday, 20 December 2019 until 8.30am on Monday, 6 January 2020.


For more updates in 2020, follow us on LinkedIn and our website or get in touch by contacting the firm on (07) 3211 3350 or via email at

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