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Playing limbo with the high income threshold

Playing limbo with the high income threshold (Last Updated On: July 9, 2015)

The Fair Work Commission has settled a very controversial and ground breaking case in recent days. An unfair dismissal decision between Dart v. Trade Coast Investments Pty Ltd ended not as intended for Mr. Dart.

Mr. Dart filed for unfair dismissal which was, what he thought, well within his rights as an employee covered by a statutory modern award and earning less than the high income threshold.

The high income threshold controls an employee’s eligibility to apply for an unfair dismissal claim. If you earn over $136,700 you cannot apply for an unfair dismissal case. This figure is constantly reviewed and employers need to be aware of changes to this threshold when negotiating salary packages and employment contracts. Discrepancies with the high income threshold were apparent between Mr. Dart and his employer Trade Coast Investments Pty Ltd.

The FWC found that Mr Dart actually did earn over the high income threshold, even though his salary figure was below $136,700. Company supplied devices were included into the calculation of Mr. Dart’s income. An iPhone and an iPad were provided to the employee and judging by the amount of personal pictures on the devices it was made apparent that Mr. Dart was using the devices “significantly for personal use”. The court found that Mr. Dart was therefore earning over the threshold and his unfair dismissal case was just that, dismissed.

Employers need to understand that non-monetary benefits can be included in calculations for the high income threshold, as a result of this very case. Company cars for example or laptops which are given to the employee maybe used for personal use. This usages however, needs to be agreed upon between the employee and the employer.

If you are an employer and need support in characterising an employee’s permissible use of company supplied resources or to implement policies and procedures around company devices, contact Employsure on 1300 651 415. If you have employees that are earning salaries close to the high income threshold and you would like any clarification on this topic, call Employsure today.

Sourced: Mondaq website

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