The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry – Observations by an Employment Lawyer

By Chao Ni, Principal, MST Lawyers

With the release of the Final Report for the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne (formerly a Justice of the High Court of Australia) has made a number of recommendations that may be adopted by the current Government (and/or future ALP Government).

While consumers should ultimately reap the benefits of the recommended changes, specific industries and occupations will no doubt be shaken up. 

In particular, we expect to see job losses in the mortgage brokerage, vehicle dealership and insurance industries as a result of reduced remuneration incentive and/or stricter legal compliance enforcement outcomes.  We also expect to see an increase in disputes between employees and employers in those industries over commissions and incentive payments.

For those affected employers who are no doubt pondering the potential ramifications of the Final Report (and the current political landscape), now is a good time to give some thought to the following employment law issues:

  1. What are the rules around implementing new contracts of employment, amending existing contracts of employment and terminating contracts of employment?
  2. What steps must be taken to terminate employment on the basis of “genuine redundancy”, failing which the employer will be susceptible to an unfair dismissal or general protections claim?
  3. How to appropriately handle employee resignations to ensure that no subsequent “constructive dismissal” argument (i.e. forced resignation) can be made out by the employee?
  4. What are the statutory and contractual obligations with respect to final pay obligations for those employees who either resign or who are affected by redundancy?
  5. What are the reporting obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 in the event that an employer decides to dismiss 15 or more employees because of redundancy?

If you are unsure of the answer to any of the questions raised above, please contact the MST Lawyers’ Employment Law Team by email or call +61 3 8540 0229 to speak to a specialist employment lawyer.