The industrial relations and employment division of McKays offers professional advice and solutions in the following areas...

Industrial Relations Solutions

Employment & Industrial Relations Legislation, Awards and Agreements

We appreciate the critical importance of keeping our clients in tune with the ever changing IR environment and are able to provide strategic and operational advice to clients on statutory requirements, award provisions, collective agreement making and employment contract matters.

Collective Agreements

We are able to provide valuable and practical assistance with establishing the framework and negotiating teams, workplace change initiatives, negotiation, drafting and approval processes.

Tribunal Work

Our aim is to protect our clients' interests in Industrial Commission matters where we can appear through professional advocacy and effective representation.

Union / Employer Relations and Employer / Employee Relations

We are keen to assist our clients in forging and improving alliances with business, employers or unions; and to assist employers who wish to improve relations with their employees.

Strategic Industrial Relations for new business, mergers and structural change

Our experience enables us to assist clients in the development of appropriate employment arrangements, preparing comprehensive employment documentation and facilitating smooth transitions and implementations.

Legal Compliance

We are readily able to help our clients in understanding and keeping abreast of changes in obligations and entitlements arising in employment relationships and compliance with legislation.

Dispute Resolution Processes

Early dispute resolution is important to effective employment relationships and commercial activities. We consider it our priority to assist clients in the development of effective procedures, providing appropriate advice and professional representation in mediations, conciliations and the arbitration process.

Employment & Human Resource Matters

We can provide you with resources and advice relating to:

  • EEO and anti-discrimination
  • HR policy and procedure development
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Workplace investigations
  • Employment termination issues
  • Anti-discrimination, harassment complaint handling and case representation

Our Philosophy

  • To develop respected relationships with clients
  • To work with and support our clients in the management and resolution of IR and HR issues
  • To assist our clients' business and organisational performance through effective IR and HR approaches and practice

Our Unique Advantage

We have the ability to draw on a range of resources from our other divisions where the situation also requires expert input in other areas (for example machinery hire arrangements, personal property security issues, business structuring etc).

Our location in Mackay gives us an advantage in quickly and effectively assisting employers in the Central Queensland region.

Our extensive experience in the mining services industry and connetions in the industry gives us a unique advantage in assisting mining services businesses to navigate the complexities of employment and contracting in mining services.

If you would like to find out more, view our Employment Law Talk newsletters.


Extensive experience in preparing employment agreements and advising on modern award and Fair Work Act compliance in a range of industries such as:

  • Mining Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Sugar Industry
  • Beef production
  • Health
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Professional businesses

Advising for and preparing enterprise agreements in industries such as:

  • Labour hire
  • Mining services
  • Marine towage

Extensive experience in appearing in unfair dismissal, general protections and employment entitlements disputes in the Fair Work Commission and other relevant tribunals.

Regularly advising in the effective management of underperformance and misconduct situations in workplaces.

On-site training to businesses in:

  • Managing discipline and dismissal
  • Preventing workplace harassment
  • Managing employment privacy

Extensive experience drafting and enforcing employment terms to protect:

  • Business customer relationships
  • Business intellectual property
  • Business confidential information

Employer's Survival Kit

Employment Law issues can pose risks to any business. Innovative solutions are now required to minimise these risks from problems arising in the workplace. McKays' Employer's Survival Kit provides practical advice and recommendations for your business and gives you the opportunity to receive training sessions, telephone advice, reviewing and maintaining of employment contracts and much more.

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  • Changes to unfair dismissal claims


    From 1 July, 2021 the income and compensation caps for unfair dismissal claims will increase, along with filing fees for lodging an unfair dismissal application. The high income threshold rises from $153,600 to $158,500; The compensation cap increases from $76,800 to $79,250; The filing ..

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  • Rise in pay rates announced


    The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has granted a 2.5% wages increase to minimum pay and award wage workers from 1 July 2021. The FWC has lifted the national minimum wage by $18.80 to $772.60 per week (or $20.33 an hour) for a full time employee. The flow on effect to Awards is a 2.5% in..

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  • Attention Employers! Super Guarantee Rates are Changing


    From 1 July 2021, the super guarantee rate will rise from 9.5% to 10%. All employers will need to ensure they have updated their payroll systems ready for 1 July to reflect this increase. Employers can be subject to interest and penalties for underpayments of super contributions to th..

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  • Claim rejected for worker who had pain when turning neck at work


    A claim for workers’ compensation by a worker whose position involved turning his head from one computer screen to another, making notes and dealing with phone calls, has been rejected by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Background Mr Hook was employed by the Department of Human Services..

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  • Rise in pay rates announced


    The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has granted a 1.75% wages increase to minimum pay and award wage workers. The FWC lifted the national minimum wage by $13.00 to $753.80 a week, or $19.84 an hour. The flow on effect to Awards is a 1.75% increase. Significantly the start date of the rise..

    Read More

  • COVID 19 - Modern Award Change for Clerks-Private Sector Award


    A COVID-19 flexibility schedule has been inserted to the Clerks-Private Sector Award 2010, with changes including: Employers may direct an employee to perform where necessary, any duties within their skills, licences and qualifications and competencies regardless of their classifications prov..

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  • COVID 19 - Modern Award Change for Hospitality Industry


    A COVID-19 flexibility schedule has been inserted to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010, with changes including: Employers may direct an employee to perform where necessary, any duties within their skills, licences and qualifications and competencies regardless of their classificat..

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  • Changes to casual employment status under Fair Work Act


    A recent Full Federal Court decision in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131 will have a significant impact on casual employment. The Court decided that a worker who was supplied through a labour hire company as a casual truck driver to a mine in Queensland was not in fact a casual emplo..

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  • Employer criticised, but email dismissal considered fair by the Fair Work Commission…


    The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently dismissed an unfair dismissal claim brought by an ex-employee of a small business that sells bathroom supplies and fittings*. In rejecting the application for unfair dismissal, the Commissioner observed: “It appeared much of the issue for Mr Kh..

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  • Newsflash: Rise in pay rates


    On Friday last week the Fair Work Commission (FWC) granted award covered workers a 3.5% increase. The FWC lifted the national minimum wage by $24.30 a week or 64 cents an hour to take effect from the 1st July, 2018. The flow on effect to Awards is a 3.5% increase. For example, t..

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  • Labour Hire Licensing Regulations Now Released


    The long awaited Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018 (Qld) was released last Friday. The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) (Act) was passed late last year and requires that a person who provides “labour hire services” in Queensland must be licensed to do so. A person provides “labour hi..

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  • The coming family and domestic violence leave is a new entitlement your business will likely have to manage


    The Fair Work Commission will include family and domestic violence leave into almost all modern awards. The details are currently being finalised. Why? Some employers may ask why, when they are trying to operate a commercial business, they are expected to share responsibility for this s..

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  • What changes to labour hire laws really mean


    As published in the Daily Mercury on 15 March 2018. IN JUST over four weeks, it will be an offence to provide labour when unlicensed or to engage labour from an unlicensed provider. A breach of this new law carries series penalties, such as fines potentially in excess of $300,000 ..

    Read More

  • Six figure fine for employer


    Six figure fine for wages exploitation of a young worker and for failure to keep records for 3 months The Fair Work Commission has fined a director $21,500 and his company $100,000 for “an outrageous exploitation of a young worker”. A second year apprentice plumber worked more than..

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  • Were you and are you paying your apprentices correctly?


    A recent decision of the Full Federal Court of Australia may have a significant impact on your business. The effect of the decision is that Queensland employers that have used a “NAPSA” (explained below) to calculate their apprentices’ pay rate have potentially underpaid their apprentices. The e..

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  • The legal risk of Christmas parties


    It’s that time of year again – when staff get together to eat, drink and make merry for the Christmas Party. Sorry to be the Grinch, but without appropriate safeguards, this can turn into an employer’s worst nightmare! Whilst social, a Christmas Party is still a work function. Under anti..

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  • The new labour hire law, don’t be caught out!


    The Queensland Parliament recently passed new a new labour hire licensing act, the first of its kind in Australia and many local businesses may be impacted. The Act requires labour hire providers to be licenced and that management are 'fit and proper' persons. There are also signi..

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  • Industrial Manslaughter legislative amendments and their relevance for you


    Recently, the Queensland Parliament (Labor with the help of the Katter Party) passed the proposed industrial manslaughter amendments into law. The amendments broaden responsibility for workplace related deaths and substantially increases the potential penalty. The new offence of industrial m..

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  • The most effective and misunderstood tool for employers to eliminate the risk of unfair dismissal claims… guaranteed!


    To their own emotional and out of pocket cost, many employers do not understand the ‘minimum employment period’ that applies to their employees… That statement is proven by the regularity of enquiry we receive from employers about how to manage the risks of dismissing an employee whos..

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  • The penalty increase is on


    In March of this year, we reported on an important decision about increased work health and safety fines in Queensland. This followed the District Court of Queensland’s decision in Williamson v VH & MG Imports Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 56. In that decision, the District Court of Queensland held tha..

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  • Casual workers will have the right to demand a permanent full-time or part-time job after 12 months


    In an important decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), the FWC has decided to insert a provision for the conversion of casual employment to full-time part-time employment into all Awards. The decision was part of the FWC’s 4 yearly review of Awards. Some awards already contain a c..

    Read More

  • Restraints aren’t worth the paper they’re written on… and other Urban Myths…


    As employment lawyers, we often advise clients about employment restraints. Very often we have to start by correcting some common urban myths… Urban myth 1 is, “Employment restraints aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.” Urban myth 2 is, “You can’t protect your business..

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  • Newsflash to labour hire businesses – New regulatory laws may be passed later this month


    On Labour Day the Queensland Premier announced the introduction of a new licensing regime for labour hire operators. The stated purpose of the new laws is to “crack-down on rogue operators who are exploiting and mistreating vulnerable workers.”1 The new measures follow an inquiry by the..

    Read More

  • Do you understand how superannuation payments are calculated? Reading this could save your business thousands…


    Superannuation is complicated and it’s not surprising that businesses can get it “super wrong”. Your business could be paying too much super, or too little. Read on to find out more… We have advised small, medium and large businesses for many years. The two common mistakes that busin..

    Read More

  • To pay or not to pay, that is the question?


    During the recent weather events many businesses shut, resulting in employees being sent home and not being able to return to work for a few days. A question we are hearing from employers is;“Do we have to pay the staff?”. Similarly, we have had friends (employees) ask us, “Isn’t it si..

    Read More

  • Tattoos in the workplace


    A recent story carried by many news outlets has put the spotlight on tattoos in the workplace. Chontelle McGoldrick, a 21 year old woman applied for a job with Qantas and Emirates. Her application was rejected because of a small tattoo about 2cm across on her ankle. She was told that if she..

    Read More

  • ABCC Guidelines on Compliant Enterprise Agreement


    The ABCC has released new guidance material dealing with various (typical) enterprise agreement clauses used in the construction industry, and identifying whether those clauses will comply with the 2016 Construction Code (Code). Employers in the construction industry that are covered..

    Read More

  • Fair Work Commission rules to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for some workers


    The long awaited decision by the Fair Work Commission was handed down yesterday as part of its 4 yearly review of awards and penalty rates. The FWC decided to reduce Sunday penalty rates and public holiday penalty rates in awards covering the hospitality, retail, fast food and pharmacy sectors. ..

    Read More

  • Where do you sit in the Hierarchy?


    Training, signage and personal protective equipment (PPE) are some of the more visible and “go to” risk control measures adopted throughout workplaces. These types of controls are often the first that come to mind because they are more visible, more easily recognised and easier to implement ..

    Read More

  • Former employees “stealing” staff and customers on the rise… How employers can fight back


    It seems like every week we hear a new story where a business owner has had a former employee either: Steal their customers; Steal their staff; or Steal their systems or other intellectual property. In some cases, customers, staff and intellectual property have all been targeted. ..

    Read More

  • Queensland passes the Industrial Relations Bill 2016


    Last week, the Queensland Parliament passed the Industrial Relations Bill 2016. This Bill is to commence operation in early 2017, as the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (IRA 2016). The IRA 2016, repeals and replaces the current Industrial Relations Act 1999. In doing so it mostly adopts the ex..

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  • Legislative amendment puts employers at risk for personal injury claims from child sexual abuse


    A recent and important legislative amendment in Queensland removed the limitation period for actions for damages for personal injury resulting from child sexual abuse. This reform is particularly relevant to employers who could be vicariously liable to victims who, as a result of the employer’s ..

    Read More

  • Amendments to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act


    Recent amendments to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) significantly affect indemnity clauses in service agreements. The amendment is especially important for contractors and labour hire businesses that use or supply labour into the mining and construction industries. ..

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  • New unfair contract laws … what they are and how they will affect you


    On 12 November 2016, new unfair contract laws come into force. They offer opportunities for contractors but also pose some risks. Contracts affected The new laws apply to certain ‘standard form contracts’ entered into on or after 12 November 2016. The laws also apply to any terms of exist..

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  • Labour hire businesses, be aware of this ruling!


    Labour hire businesses face a dilemma when the relationship between the labour hire business’s worker and host employer breaks down to the extent that the host employer demands that the worker is removed from site, or even revokes the permission for that worker to attend at the site. In the ..

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  • Vicarious Liability is now too expensive to ignore


    Ever since the Richardson decision (a decision of Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia) the cost to businesses for vicarious liability for acts by their employees of discrimination, sexual harassment or harassment and bullying can no longer be treated lightly. Until now, the minimal dama..

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  • Swearing in the workplace: is it acceptable by law?


    Standards of behavior expected of employees can be a difficult thing to navigate, particularly behavior that leads to termination of employment. Whether words are said in a moment of frustration, to add emphasis to a message, or over a series of events, one thing is clear from recent Fair Work d..

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  • How the election affects employers – Liberal or Labor


    We are all waiting to see who actually wins this election. While we wait, employers can look at what the world might hold for them on the workplace relations front under each party. Labor Government If the Labor Party manages to form Government, the affect on employers will probably lar..

    Read More

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