Updated time

Last updated

07 March 2016

See the list below for access to historic case summaries and judgments.

You can also go to the Major cases page on the Fair Work Commission website for more recent cases and details of national wage cases and safety net review decisions from 1985.

The standard severance pay scale is extended to a maximum of 16 weeks' pay after 9 years of service.

The High Court decides that protected industrial action can only be taken in pursuit of claims about matters pertaining to the employment relationship.

The High Court holds that the AIRC has the jurisdiction to vary an award to cover a foreign company operating a foreign registered ship with a foreign crew while the ship is trading in Australian waters or on a voyage to or from an Australian port.

The AIRC creates an explicit award right for an employee to refuse to work overtime in circumstances where it would result in the working of unreasonable hours.

The AIRC extends the right to parental leave to ?eligible casual employees?.

The High Court confirms Parliament?s power to legislate for parties to confer on the AIRC by a certified agreement a power of private arbitration in respect application of the agreement.

The AIRC decides that casuals in the metal industry should be given the option of converting to permanency after 6 months regular and systematic work.

Under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, the AIRC is required to review all federal awards to ensure they are up-to-date, in plain English and include only 20 ?allowable matters?.

The AIRC decides that employees can access aggregated sick leave and bereavement leave for specified family leave purposes.

The AIRC adopts a model clause for awards as part of a Commonwealth scheme designed to assist people with disabilities to obtain employment in the open labour market.

The case follows the 1992 commencement of the Superannuation Guarantee Scheme which requires all employers, whether award regulated or not, to make superannuation contributions on behalf of their employees.

Determined that federal award employees throughout Australia should be entitled to a minimum safety net of 10 public holidays per year. In addition to this number, Easter Saturday was also found to be a public holiday which should be observed.

The AIRC grants employees a maximum of 5 days carer's leave per year, to be taken from the total pool of sick and bereavement leave available under appropriate awards.

The AIRC grants fathers the right to take unpaid leave to become the primary care-giver for their newborn or newly adopted child.

The High Court upholds the power of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to order the reinstatement of unfairly dismissed employees.

Cram?s Case involves a dispute in the mining industry over staffing levels and recruitment.

The case arises from the 1980s push for wider access to superannuation benefits.

The Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission adopts a test case standard for leave sought by parents adopting a child.

In response to significant technological and structural changes, the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission establishes a test case standard on employment protection in Australia.

In a unanimous judgment the High Court decides to reinstate the interpretation of the term ?industrial dispute? to that decided in the 1908 Jumbunna Case.

The Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission sets a standard of 12 months unpaid maternity leave for permanent employees.

The second of the two major Equal Pay Cases provides for equal pay for work of equal value. Before 1972 male and female jobs are compared to see if they are basically identical. After 1972 work is compared to see if it is very similar in content or tasks.

First of the 2 major equal pay cases. The 1969 decision grants 'equal pay for equal work'?where women perform 'equal work' alongside men they should receive equal pay.

Aboriginal stockmen in the Northern Territory are awarded equal pay with white workers when their union successfully applies for the deletion of clauses excluding them from the Cattle Station Industry (Northern Territory) Award.

Association of Professional Engineers, Australia v Lord Mayor Councilors and Citizens of the City of Melbourne & Others (Professional Engineers? Cases Nos. 1 and 2)

The High Court rules that it is unconsitutional for the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to exercise both judicial and non-judicial powers. The Court is subsequently split into 2 separate bodies.

Standard hours of work are reduced from 44 to 40 hours per week as a result of a 21-month-long inquiry.

In order to determine what constitutes an industrial dispute the High Court decides that 2 steps must be followed: Did the dispute occur within an 'industry', and did the dispute concern an 'industrial matter'?

Amalgamated Engineering Union v J. Alderdice & Company Pty Ltd & Others (44 Hour Week Case) (1927) 24 CAR 755 ? Dethridge C.J., Beeby and Lukin JJ., Judgment, 24 February 1927

The High Court holds that an industrial organisation has created an 'industrial dispute' within the meaning of s.51(xxxv) of the Constitution even though certain conditions have not been met.

The High Court abandons the doctine of intergovernmental immunities preventing the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration from exercising jurisdiction over State instrumentalities or authorities and their employees.

The High Court narrows the scope of the definition of 'industrial dispute'. It indicates that the term should be limited to a dispute in an 'industry' in which capital and labour cooperate to provide goods or services for the community.

The first case before the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration dealing with 'the problem of female labour'. Justice Higgins rejects a union call for equal pay for equal work.

The High Court rules as invalid a provision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 authorising the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to make 'common rule' awards.

The High Court decides that the term 'industrial dispute' should be interpreted broadly and covers 'every kind of dispute between master and workman in relation to any kind of labour'.

The case marks the origin of the concepts of a minimum wage and wages based on the economic needs of employees rather than a market for labour.