National campaign shows FWO intervention improves compliance

A nation-wide audit of 891 businesses previously found to have contravened workplace laws has revealed the positive impact of intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) on improving employers’ compliance.

The FWO national compliance monitoring campaign focused on following up with businesses that the agency had previously found to be non-compliant with their workplace obligations. The campaign found that 83 per cent of previously non-compliant businesses were now paying their workers correctly, while 81 per cent were complying with record-keeping and pay slip requirements.

Overall, 69 per cent of the previously non-compliant businesses were found to be fully compliant with their workplace obligations.

FWO Natalie James said the results show the progress being made by her agency towards creating a culture of compliance with Australian workplace laws.

“It is important to go back and check that businesses have mended their ways after my agency has found them to be non-compliant. It is clear that after their initial interactions with my agency, most of these businesses have taken our advice on board and put in place systems and processes to ensure they are compliant into the future,” Ms James said.

“Many of these businesses are small businesses that often do not have the benefit of dedicated human resources or payroll teams, meaning that the advice and guidance they receive from my agency is vital. The positive results of this campaign show that non-compliant businesses are often genuinely trying to do the right thing, but may lack an understanding or awareness of their obligations.

“Of course, there is still room for improvement. It is important for all businesses to be aware of and comply with their workplace obligations, and my agency will continue to assist them to do so.”

Amongst the businesses found to be non-compliant during the campaign, Fair Work Inspectors identified 390 contraventions, primarily relating to pay slip errors, underpayments and failure to apply penalty rates.

In many cases where non-compliance was detected, the FWO found that the businesses had made a genuine effort to comply following the initial interaction with the FWO.

However, the FWO has taken enforcement action against 195 businesses in response to significant instances of continued non-compliance uncovered during the audits.

“Continued deliberate non-compliance, particularly when a business has previously been audited by my agency, cannot be tolerated,” Ms James said. “We will be closely monitoring those businesses found to be non-compliant during this campaign to ensure that they are meeting their obligations in the future.

“Any further instances of non-compliance may be put before the courts to seek financial penalties.”

Ms James said her agency is committed to providing employers with easy access to resources and information to enable them to understand and comply with their workplace obligations.

www.fairwork.gov.au

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Source: InClean

IMF Bentham withdraws Spotless class action funding

IMF Bentham Limited plans to discontinue funding of shareholder class action against Spotless Group, subject to court approval.

The class action was launched by IMF Bentham and William Roberts Lawyers in February against Spotless  over its 2015 financial results.

In a statement issued by IMF Bentham, the litigation funder said the withdrawal will result in a loss from the investment of around $510,000.

A second class action was filed against Spotless in May by law firm Slater & Gordon over the company’s 2015 profit downgrade.

The announcement comes as Spotless continues to reject a takeover bid by Downer Services.

Earlier this week Downer declared its $1.2 billion takeover offer for Spotless Group unconditional, waiving  all remaining outstanding conditions and introducing accelerated payment terms.

The offer is still scheduled to close on Thursday, 29 June.

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Source: InClean

ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America keynote speakers revealed

Comedian Howie Mandel and former NFL Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman will be the 2017 ISSA keynote speakers for the ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America Trade Show and Convention, taking place 11 to 14 September in Las Vegas.

“With the high-quality of the selected speakers, these entertaining addresses will be can’t-miss events,” said ISSA conventions and meetings director Kim Althoff.

“I can’t wait to hear what insights these gentlemen share for attendees to bring back to their everyday lives and businesses.”

Aikman will be speaking on Wednesday 13 September at 9:00 am, and Mandel will be closing the show, speaking on Thursday 14 September at 2:30 pm.

From left: Howie Mandel and Troy Aikman

Meet the speakers

Canadian born TV personality Howie Mandel has amassed a prolific career lasting more than 30 years. While many know him from his current stint as a judge on the widely popular TV show America’s Got Talent and his role as former host of the game show Deal or No Deal, he also participated in a wide variety of other shows. Mandel’s success is not limited to solely one media. His memoir, Here the Deal: Don’t Touch Me, that covers a variety of topics and personal issues—including his self-proclaimed germaphobia—was a New York Times bestseller.

Troy Aikman spent his entire 12-year football career as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Entering the league as the first-overall pick of the 1989 NFL Draft, he enjoyed legendary success, setting 45 franchise passing records and leading his team to six divisional titles, four conference championship games, and three Super Bowls—a feat done by only three quarterbacks besides Aikman in the history of the NFL. Aikman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006; and his work as a five-time Super Bowl broadcaster for NFL on Fox earned him an Emmy nomination.

To learn more about the ISSA keynote addresses, visit issa.com/keynotes, or learn more about ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America at issa.com/show.

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Source: InClean

GECA unveils new branding and website

Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) has revealed a fresh new look with the launch of its newly redesigned website and logo.

The website has been completely redesigned is among some of the first organisations to use the new .eco domain. According to GECA, the launch of the new website supports the company’s broader mission to provide solutions for sustainable consumption and production.

The website now showcases the full range of services offered by the organisation, including consultation and advisory services, education and training opportunities, and advocacy links across the globe. GECA’s web address also features a new web address ending, “.eco”.

 

New GECA logo

 

Along with a new website, GECA has also launched new branding and a redesigned logo. The ecolabel has been given a fresh, modern update, and remains a recognisable symbol of trust and credibility in communicating sustainability.

“It’s more than just an environmental label – GECA takes a truly holistic approach to sustainability, making sure products are better for your health, and have a positive social impact too,” said GECA’s marketing manager, Paula Clasby.

GECA’s new logo has been officially recognised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as a certification trade mark.

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Source: InClean

Downer lifts Spotless stake to 30 per cent

Downer EDI Limited says it has increased its interest in Spotless Group to almost 30 per cent, despite the cleaning and facilities management group continuing to urge shareholders to reject the takeover bid.

Downer announced on Thursday, 15 June it has an interest in Spotless equivalent to 29.598 per cent.

Downer is offering $1.15 per Spotless share, valuing the company at $1.3 billion.

Earlier this month Downer extended its takeover offer for a second time, with the new deadline set for Thursday, 29 June.

The company also agreed to waive all remaining conditions, and introduce accelerated payment terms, if it reaches a 50 per cent acceptance level by Monday, 19 June.

In a business update issued on Thursday, 15 June, Spotless once again urged shareholders to reject the offer.

Spotless said it was demonstrating positive momentum, accelerated by the sale of a bundle of around 250 small cleaning contracts in New Zealand, as well as the commencement of its partnership with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital – Spotless’ largest PPP contract.

In addition to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Spotless said it had also received a short-term extension of the SA Health contract under which Spotless provides support services to three metropolitan Adelaide hospitals.

Spotless chairman, Garry Hounsell said: “As we have consistently maintained, Spotless is at an inflection point, and today’s announcement is further evidence that the strategy reset is well on track and there is strong positive momentum in the business.”

“The board and management team have maintained their strong focus on delivering results and we continue to maintain our belief that Spotless can create more value over the medium term as an independent company.”

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Source: InClean

SCA to shut US tissue production plant

Photo courtesy: azdailysun.com

SCA will close its tissue production plant in Flagstaff, Arizona, in the US this month.

The company said the closure of the Flagstaff tissue production plant is part of the company’s “Tissue Roadmap” and is aligned with the company’s strategy to optimise the geographic production footprint to drive cost and capital efficiency, and further increase value creation in the Professional Hygiene business area.

The Flagstaff tissue production plant has an annual capacity of 55,000 tons for the Professional Hygiene business.

SCA, with the leading global brand Tork, is the second largest player in the US professional hygiene market.

The US is the Group’s largest market, based on net sales in 2016, and is highly prioritised by SCA.

www.sca.com

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Source: InClean

Diversey Care president honoured at Women World Awards

Diversey Care president Dr Ilham Kadri has won two Women World Awards, an annual program that recognises the world’s best in leadership, innovation, organisational performance, new products and services and milestones.

Dr Kadri will accept the Gold award for the ‘Women Helping Women’ category and the Bronze award for the ‘Female Executive of the Year’ category for companies with 2500 or more employees.

“As someone who is passionate about women’s advancement, it’s a great honor to be recognised for my involvement with organizations dedicated to equal opportunities for women,” said Dr Kadri.

Dr Kadri is the founder and first chairwoman of the ISSA Hygieia™ Network, an international community dedicated to helping women in the cleaning industry. Dr Kadri is also an advisory board member of Catalyst, a non-profit organisation that promotes inclusive workplaces for women.

Within Sealed Air, she is heavily involved in the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), which aims to ensure the company attracts, retains and advances the professional development of women.

www.sealedair.com

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Source: InClean

SCRIA merges with ISSA

Specialised Cleaning & Restoration Industry Association (SCRIA) has merged with worldwide cleaning association, ISSA – marking ISSA’s first major acquisition in the Oceania market.

Under the agreement, SCRIA members will retain their SCRIA memberships on a local level while they will also receive ISSA membership benefits.

ISSA executive director John Barrett, said: “The merger with SCRIA represents an exciting step toward fulfilling ISSA’s mission to change the way the world views cleaning—particularly in our recently established Oceania region.”

“We are delighted and proud to partner with SCRIA members to help them achieve their bigger-picture goals to bring about progress within their industry.”

SCRIA president Gidon Kabaker said SCRIA is proud to announce the merger, following an emergency general meeting on 1 June when members voted in favour of the deal.

“This is the step forward that SCRIA and its members needed. The carpet care and restoration industry is going through a very challenging time now, and we need to band together to bring about change toward a self-regulated industry. I believe our merger with ISSA will help us achieve that. SCRIA board members are committed to working closely with ISSA Oceania Manager Kim Taranto and see this as a fantastic opportunity to contribute positively to the value our members receive and to the carpet and restoration industry overall.”

SCRIA has already commissioned ISSA’s staff to provide administrative support, which began on 5 June. Transition of support from the former office to the ISSA Oceania office will take place over the next few weeks.

The ISSA-SCRIA merger will include a calendar of events schedule offering regional meetings and increased training workshops throughout the year along with an update of the SCRIA website

www.scria.org.au

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Source: InClean

Win for housekeepers in sham contracting arrangement

A sham arrangement case that involved three employees – including two housekeepers – who were engaged as independent contractors so their rights and entitlements would not be protected by industrial relations legislation, has now been finalised, with their former employers penalised a total of $58,740 in the Federal Court.

The penalties are the result of Fair Work Ombudsman legal action commenced in 2011.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleged that Quest South Perth Holdings, which formerly operated the Quest on Arlington serviced apartments in South Perth, contravened the sham arrangement provisions of workplace laws in 2009 when it purported to convert two housekeepers and a receptionist at Quest on Arlington into independent contractors.

Quest South Perth Holdings dismissed the workers and immediately re-hired the housekeepers as purported independent contractors to perform the same duties. The receptionist was not re-hired after Quest dismissed her.

After the purported conversion to independent contractors, the two housekeepers were paid a flat rate that did not make provision for entitlements such as weekend and public holiday penalty rates or overtime.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleged the purported contracting arrangement was a sham and the correct relationship for the workers was as employees.

After part of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s case was dismissed by the Federal Court and the Full Court of the Federal Court, the Fair Work Ombudsman lodged its first ever High Court appeal.

The High Court unanimously upheld the appeal in December 2015, ruling that Quest South Perth Holdings’ conduct contravened sham contracting laws.

The matter was referred back to the Federal Court, where penalties have now been imposed against the company and Luchmaya by Justice John Gilmour.

Justice Gilmour found that the contraventions were the result of “Quest’s strategy and desire to engage the employees as independent contractors so their rights and entitlements would not be protected by industrial relations legislation”.

“The FWO submits correctly, in my opinion, that the impact of sham contracting contraventions is that workers believe that they are deprived from the wide ranging entitlements afforded to employees, including minimum rates of pay, annual leave, personal leave, long service leave, parental leave, superannuation, workers compensation, notice upon termination of employment and eligibility to access other protections such as unfair dismissal applications, general protections applications or an application for an order to stop bullying,” Justice Gilmour said.

Justice Gilmour said Quest’s contraventions involved “deliberate and conscious acts designed to circumvent industrial relations legislation and the protections they provide” and found that the impact on the workers was significant.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the outcome of the matter sends a clear message that her agency will not tolerate attempts to use corporate trickery to try to disguise employment relationships as contracting situations.

“The significant resources we have committed to pursuing this matter for several years reflect the seriousness with which we treat sham contracting behaviour,” James said.

“These proceedings send a message to unscrupulous employers about the consequences of sham contracting behaviour.

“The High Court ruling we secured in this matter was also important because it creates greater legal protection for employees in situations where employers attempt to avoid responsibility for providing employees’ lawful minimum wages and entitlements by claiming employees are independent contractors.”

www.fairwork.gov.au

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Source: InClean