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Unfair dismissal claims soar during pandemic

Unfair dismissal applications increased by 43 per cent between March and June 2020.
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Unfair dismissal claims soar during pandemic

Unfair dismissal claims soar during pandemic

23 October 2020

Unfair dismissal applications increased by 43 per cent between March and June 2020, with 1520 more applications received compared to the same period in 2018‑19.

The Fair Work Commission's annual report reveals the regulator's total case load increased 19 per cent in the final quarter, compared with the same period in 2019.

The number of applications to vary enterprise agreements, to deal with stand‑down disputes, and general protections claims involving dismissal increased significantly. Conversely, there were significantly fewer applications to approve enterprise agreements, for right of entry permits, and industrial action when compared to the last quarter of 2018‑19.

The report reveals the commission received 33,989 applications throughout the year, including:

  • unfair dismissal – 16,558
  • general protections involving dismissal – 4823
  • agreement approvals – 3795
  • dispute resolution – 2255, and
  • orders to stop bullying – 820.

The median time from lodgement to conciliation in unfair dismissal claims was 34 days, while the media time for agreement approval was 17 days.

FWC president Justice Iain Ross said the COVID-19 pandemic had been 'challenging' for the commission and the community.

It had "affected many aspects of our lives and has brought significant changes to workplaces and the economy.

"The commission has acted quickly to vary modern awards to provide flexibility for employers and employees to make workplace changes in response to COVID-19....

"It has assisted employees and employers through the resolution of JobKeeper disputes and has dealt with a large number of applications to vary agreements to help workplaces respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic."

View the full report here.
 

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