Legal Updates

Voluntary assisted dying laws commence in Victoria – Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic)

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (Act) comes into force in Victoria on 19 June 2019.

Victoria is the first Australian State to pass voluntary assisted dying laws. The laws represent part of the Victorian government’s broader reforms in relation to end of life choices and the quality of palliative care.

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NLRB Rebalances Employers’ Rights to Prohibit Union Solicitation on Their Property

Last Friday, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in UPMC overturned 38-year old precedent and held that employers may lawfully prohibit non-employee union solicitation in public spaces on their property absent evidence of discriminatory enforcement. This ruling may seem like common sense to many as employers have long been permitted to control what types of activities occur on their private property in other contexts.  However, for the past four decades, the NLRB has compelled employers to allow non-employee union organizers to engage in non-disruptive solicitation in areas, such as cafeterias and restaurants, where the Employer had opened its private property to the public.  The NLRB’s ruling in UPMC ends this compelled acquiesce and affirms employers’ property rights.

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Employer Insights: Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

On June 4, 2019, the Illinois legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Cannabis Act”).  Under the Cannabis Act, Illinois residents over 21 years of age may legally possess 30 grams of marijuana flower and five grams of marijuana concentrate for their personal use, starting January 1, 2020.  The 610-page Cannabis Act also provides the most extensive workplace protections for employers of any marijuana legalization statute around the country. Indeed, the Illinois General Assembly declares at the beginning of the Cannabis Act that “employee workplace safety shall not be diminished and employer workplace policies shall be interpreted broadly to protect employee safety.”  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the legislation this month.

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Massachusetts Sets New Deadlines and Contribution Rates for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program, and Anticipates Further Changes

As we previously reported, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) recently extended the deadline for employers to provide notice to employees of their rights and obligations under the State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) law. Subsequently, on June 11, 2019, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, state Senate President Karen Spilka, and state House Speaker Robert DeLeo released a joint statement announcing that implementation of certain aspects of the PFML program are being pushed back, and that “technical changes” will be adopted to clarify the program. Thereafter, on June 14, 2019, the DFML released a notice on its website confirming one substantive revision along with several procedural revisions to the PFML program, including the following:

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Hall & Wilcox advises Victory Offices Limited on $30 million IPO and ASX listing

Leading Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox is pleased to have advised Victory Offices Limited on its successful $30 million initial public offering of securities and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.

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FWO finds Uber drivers are not employees

On 7 June 2019, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) announced that it would not pursue Uber Australia Pty Ltd (Uber Australia) for employee entitlements after finding that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees of Uber Australia.

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Talking Tax – Issue 159

Forgiveness of a loan – deemed dividend under Division 7A
In VCJN and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 968 (23 May 2019), the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal) agreed with the Commissioner of Taxation (Commissioner) that the taxpayer’s forgiveness of a loan should be treated as a deemed dividend per s 109E(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) (ITAA36).

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Companies Using Video Interviewing Beware: New Obligations for Positions Based in Illinois

Increasingly companies are using third-party digital hiring platforms to recruit and select job applicants.  These products, explicitly or implicitly, promise to reduce or eliminate the bias of hiring managers in making selection decisions.  Instead, the platforms grade applicants based on a variety of purportedly objective factors.  For example, a platform may scan thousands of resumes and select applicants based on education level, work experience, or interests, or rank applicants based on their performance on an aptitude test – whatever data point(s) the platform has been trained to evaluate based on the job opening.

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Important Deadlines Fast Approaching For Employers to Comply With the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

In June 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML). As previously reported, PFML creates a paid leave system which is funded by payroll contributions from employers and covered individuals and administered by the newly created Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department). Beginning in January 2021, all Massachusetts employees and some independent contractors will be eligible to take up to 26 weeks per year of partially paid leave for qualifying medical or family events. The Department has issued draft regulations for implementing PFML, and final regulations are expected by July 1, 2019.

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Start ups – Understanding Tax and R&D concessions

Dr. Rita Choueiri Director at William Buck and Lawyer Raoul D’Cruz discuss tax and R&D concessions for startups after a recent talk with Stone & Chalk Melbourne.

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