Employee Rights

Diversity and Equity in the workplace

Diversity and Equity in the workplace
Diversity has been spoken about considerably in recent times. Equity to some degree is in the eyes of the beholder. Lets read on, lets see how we may be able to inform you, help you

Diversity and Equity in the workplace

]What does diversity and Equity look like in the workplace

What does diversity and equity look like in the workplace, is a subject I haven’t seen much written about, so here goes. There are many examples of diversity (and lack of) in the workplace. We all become comfortable with our own groupings. (you see this with religious groups, same beliefs, same ideals) Variety in many cases can be in the eye of the beholder.

Definition of Variety

the quality or state of being different or diverse; the absence of uniformity or monotony. it’s the variety that makes my job so enjoyable

https://www.google.com/search?q=variety+meaning

It’s worth taking a moment and asking: what does diversity and equity mean to you in a particular workplace environment? The concern is people become comfortable, accept the status quo. Not everybody wants to get up in the morning and challenge themselves to do better, make the company, the world a better place. Now this is not being overly critical of people, its just the way it is.

People often fall into an unconscious habit of thinking of diversity and equity in only one or two dimensions. It can be race, age, gender, amongst others, and employees usually only see diversity though their own circumstances and views. Allot of employees see diversity and equity as tolerance of others. Employees think well I work with other races, genders, religions, so we are a inclusive group here. Diversity and equity is ensuring there is deliberate policy and culture of avoidance of the stereotyping of the groups of employees. A deliberate approach to employing people that are individuals outside of the “group” , but based on skills, experience, not because of the sole basis they are different.

Striving for diversity

But this can intended consequences, in striving for diversity in the workplace, you employ people form a particular nationality, and the experience works out well for the company, then they ask can their friend have a job, they’ve just arrived from overseas. You think why not, its work out well so far, its still diversity. But the concern is diversity is here, but no equity, the particular nationality speak in their native language, hence the exclusion to others, Is this fair?, there is not simple answer, the last thing you want to be seen is to be perceived as a racist.

general protections and adverse action
Everybody should be welcome, how do we get there?

Definition of diversity

he state of being diverse; variety. “there was considerable diversity in the style of the reports”

the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc. “equality and diversity should be supported for their own sake”

https://www.google.com/search?q=diversity&oq

Is Diversity Easy?

But depending on the situation, you can almost always find a way to increase the level of diversity in a group of employees, or a team, factory, office, whatever on a decision, in planning, or in a conversation, or in a change of policies, but it must not look like or suggest discrimination in itself. Or a action just to say we are politically correct, to satisfy others outside the company (shareholders, media, legal, etc).

Sharing and being treated equally
Diversity and equity in the workplace, faces many challenges

Here are a few examples: 

Diversity and Equity in the workplace can be in the delivery or development of a new product or service. 

The more employers are trying to serve and create value for a diverse set of customers and customer needs, the more they need multidimensional diversity in their teams. 

  • The first level of diversity (that we almost take for granted now) is cross-functional representation. If you look around and only see scientist you know that is a problem. 
  • The team is given the job of developing a product for a national market. It’s easy to look around and see whether a team is dominated by one gender or one race. Unless the product really only aspires to serve that homogenous market, that’s a problem. 
  • What about socio-economic status? In most professional situations, everyone has achieved a similar band of income and economic security that can lead to a loss of perspective on value, pricing, and relevance. How about educational background? Does everyone come from one or two schools? Has anyone worked their way up through a community college or other means? 
  • Do they share the same work experience? This is particularly an issue in large firms that have very structured career tracks.
  • Is everyone currently in the same city? Did they all grow up in similar environments despite coming from across the globe? 
  • to break down this grouping is extremely difficult, and can take years to achieve, but you have to start, cultural change is a challenge, we all know that, but the quicker its acknowledged, the quicker it can be dealt with.

Groupthink. 

First documented in 1971, groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when individuals avoid disagreeing with a group or expressing doubt. The larger and more similar the group, the less likely individuals are to dissent. 

In this multi-faith commune, there is harmony in celebrating difference

Sunday Age, 19/12/2021

I think the headline in the age has some relevance, be proud of the difference, even if it comes pain and cost. The Australian way of putting “groupthink'”, is to refer to the group as “yes men”, there are numerous studies out, indicating the longer the CEO is in charge of a company, the higher the percentage employees around him or her that have like minded views. Why?

On one hand, individuals may feel such a strong group identification that it feels uncomfortable or threatening to disrupt the group consensus. Group norms and behaviors form and solidify quickly because they seem to share so much in common.  On the other hand, all of the individuals in the group might share such a similar set of experiences that they share the same blind spots and the same lack of awareness of their blind spots. 

Even groups with the best intentions can fall prey to groupthink. Irving Janis, the psychologist who first researched group decision-making, found that behavior such as bullying, rationalizing, and lapses in moral judgment were more likely under these circumstances. You compromise your principals, standards to fit in, not “rock the boat”.

Having a diverse team provides access to a wider range of skill sets and experiences and different ways of thinking, behaving and communicating. This facilitates the growth of new ideas and reduces groupthink.

Diversity and Equity in the workplace
We all need to get along

Diversity and Equity in the workplace, how do we do this? Changing the culture of a workplace is challenging but rewarding work.

Many shy away from it because they don’t know where to start or aren’t sure that they’re doing it right. If an organization has previously tried — and failed — to implement a diversity initiative, they may decide that such initiatives don’t work or that the benefits are no longer worth the effort, and maintain the status quo, after all it has worked previously for a long time.

However, there won’t ever not be a demand for inclusive and diverse workplaces, 40 percent of all people in Australia are foreign born and will be entering the workforce in the future. Now is always a good time to start, but if previous efforts failed, the company needs to take a different approach. 

Here are eight ways to start reviewing, challenging — and shifting — your employer to a more inclusive environment, one to be proud of.

1. Recruitment processes

Ensure diversity and equity in your recruitment practices by making sure that you are looking at talent from all backgrounds. Don’t needlessly apply barriers to entry in the hiring process, like advanced degrees, expensive certifications, or experience with certain firms. poor English should not been seen as a barrier, wee have to knowledge 40% of all Australians are foreign born. The skills, training, experience that these migrants and refugees bring is fantastic and over the last 200 years its what Australia has been build on.

You have to insist that your Employer restate your companies commitment to inclusive recruitment, regardless of background and disability, in the job description. Make sure that when conducting interviews, you represent diversity amongst existing employees as well as in potential employees. There is a whole level of prejudice towards employees who have filed and or been on Workcover, that they are lazy, complainers or may just get injured again and be a liability to the company. We have to move away from this subconscious approach of “only fit, white, young males may apply”.

2. Employee groups

Your employees are whole people, and they bring their entire selves to work everyday. Its not uncommon to spend more time at work than with you own husband, wife or partner. It is hard to separate your work life, away from your home life, phones, laptops, social media going 24 hours a day doesn’t help, your expected to be accessible all the time. Providing spaces where employees can gather with other people of their background, ethnicity, and/or who share certain interests are a way to make sure that people feel included and represented at work. A prayer room, a area for women to breast feed, share their national food. These adjustment don’t really cost anything and it shows inclusiveness and respect.

3. Lead by Example

Leaders set the pace for their companies in more ways than one. Inclusive leadership groups make better decisions, and are a powerful reminder to the rest of the company of the values the organization embodies. Many people from under-represented backgrounds are concerned about their ability to progress in their career (that ever-present glass ceiling), so seeing someone they can relate to reassures them that the company is a place where they can thrive. There is a chance they can get ahead, not a felling of hopelessness.

4. Be upfront, honest in the approach 

Don’t try to build diversity on your own. Be transparent about your efforts and ask your teams for help. One person can’t see or fix everything by themselves. Consider implementing regular meetings and feedback devices where your team can report on what they see. What needs to be improved, and discuss in a neutral space any concerns they may have. Be sure you follow up by acknowledging their concerns and implementing meaningful changes.

5. Community Engagement (Both in and outside the Company)

Social justice issues are prevalent, and companies can’t be quite like they used to be, you see this with climate change. There’s possibly no faster way to lose the trust of your people than by putting out a statement that isn’t reflected in their day-to-day experience. Take an zero tolerance stance against racism, discrimination, sexism, prejudice, and harassment. These are human rights issues, not limited to special interest groups. (this special interest groups seems to have in through lobbying groups) Building an environment where people feel safe and valued means standing up for their rights. 

6. Be open, let it be seen

Diversity and groups means diversity of thought. Ask employees to contribute to the discussion, especially if they haven’t spoken up before. Remember, when a conversation becomes too homogeneous (in other words, when there is groupthink) it becomes harder for people to speak up with dissenting opinions. Play your own devil’s advocate and discuss the pros and cons of your own ideas. This will demonstrate that you are interested in the best idea, not just the most popular one. You are listening to all, with no fear as to who you are or background.

7. Do the research

Share the benefits of diversity with your fellow employees, share little stories, put the benefits forward, in a succinct way. Try and ensure where you can that it being evidence based. Looking at the positives is no bad thing, instead we are always, if we are not careful, of wanting to tear people, ideas down. Research continues to be done on the benefits of a diverse workplace. Across the board, employees are happier, healthier, stay longer, and produce more when they feel respected, valued, and included. Inclusivity builds trust within an organization.

8. Diversity and Equity Stories

Diversity and Equity in the workplace. I’ll tell a story (stories mentioned in 7) of my own, one Friday night (18 years ago) I was going out, of course I don’t drink drive, so I got an Taxi. I asked the driver to stop at a bottle shop, he wouldn’t, three times I asked, and he kept driving past bottle shops. It was obvious because of his religious beliefs. I was getting frustrated, I said to him, how many Christian friends do you have?, no answer. I said to him, ask me how many Muslim friends do I have, I said none. I said neither of us have crossed the divide. Telling this story to others in the work place over time, its shows the great divide, the lack of diversity in my friends. I took a conscious decision this is to never happen again.

We at A Whole New Approach have a very diversified work force. See, its not that hard, it fits in with the “a fair go mate”, that we as Australian’s are proud of. The taxi drive and I are still friends to this day.

Diversity and Equity in the workplace. We are all equal
Be the one that’s different, be the stand out!

Conclusion: Diversity and Equity in the workplace

Diversity and equity in the workplace, isn’t just a conversation or whoever. Everyone has something that makes them different, its what’s makes us who we are and makes the world more interesting. Lets be honest it would be boring if we were all the same. The challenge for management is to play to employees strengths.

To get the best out of people, Employers should be doing this anyway, so its not like employers have to spend huge amounts of money introducing this change. Whether it’s a unique upbringing, educational background, way of thinking, or perspective on the world, whether its nature or nurture, we all bring our own strengths to the workplace. A diverse and inclusive employer is one that is on the forefront of innovation, social change, community and employee engagement.

I hope you enjoyed the article “Diversity and Equity in the workplace”. We are A Whole New Approach, leading workplace advisors. Acknowledged as leaders in Fair work Australia and Fair work Commission matters, including unfair dismissals, discrimination, sexual harassment. We constantly lodge general protections claims relating to matters of diversity.

We contribute to the development of workplace diversity through assistance, advice, commentary, basically being vocal and standing up for employees. Have a concern, want to contribute to the debate, suggestions, give us a call. 1800 333 666 or email us at mediate@awna.com.au. Fair work Commission stop sexual harassment order, forced to resign due to sexual harassment. Find out “what is my case worth?” for unfair dismissal “how much is my case worth

Great article on diversity and rights that may be of interest for you, click here

Discrimination of the poor, click here

Unappreciated and poorly paid, click here

Is working from home really worth it?

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a working from home revolution. Although working from home has been mandated by governments during lockdowns, it is arguable that COVID-19 only accelerated the flourishment of a growing trend. Working from home offers numerous benefits to employees, including greater flexibility and no commute.

There is some indication that once lockdowns cease, employees will continue to value employment that offers flexible work arrangements and the possibility to work from home. We’ve all heard whispers about the ‘Great Resignation’ projected to explode in Australia, following its occurrence in other countries. In August 2021 alone, 4.3 million workers in the United States resigned from their jobs. COVID-19 has caused many workers all over the world to re-evaluate their employment and what they want from an employer.

Working from home may be one such incentive used by employers to gain and retain employees in the present employment climate. But before readily agreeing to ongoing working from home arrangements, employees need to be wary of the potential hidden costs.

No staff interaction, is a “cost” to consider when working from home

Financial Cost’s

Office expenses

Working from home transfers many of the expenses typically paid by employers to employees. Expenses such as computers, WiFi, electricity, heating, and air-conditioning all start adding up. Certainly, some expenses are tax deductible, and some may be paid by your employer. But ultimately, working from home is not without cost. Utility bills are likely to skyrocket. To set up a functional and enjoyable work environment, you may need to spend a little bit, such as on a desk or office chair.

Wear and tear on personal devices

If you already have a personal computer that you are using to work from home, and are not using one provided by your employer, you are likely significantly reducing the working life of your device. For example, if you typically only used your personal laptop out of work hours, now using it all day, every day will speed up the wear and tear.

Living space

Not everyone has ample or appropriate space to work from home. In the United States, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that renters working from home increased their expenditure on housing by 6.5% to 7.4% to have more office space.[1] The same study found that homeowners also spent more money on having a property with larger office space, increasing their expenditure by approximately 8.4% to 9.8%.[2] The report noted:

“For firms, managers often speak colloquially of cost savings from remote work due to reductions in office space. But this neglects the fact that remote households need more space to accommodate working from home. As a result, remote work entails a transition from firm’s financing of office space to household financing of home workspaces.”[3]

Its important your still included in discussions, meetings, and company activities if working form home

Non-Financial Costs

Blurred boundaries between work and home

Working from home makes it more difficult for employees to switch off from a day of work, as their living space has become their workspace. Prior to COVID-19, employees could more easily detach themselves from work, simply because their home was in a different physical space from their work. Work has now encroached on personal lives significantly. 

The taxing impacts of this blurred boundary between work and home life were reported by Aaron McEwan to news.com.au: “We found ourselves still trying to work like we are in offices but whilst doing it in homes, so productivity and performance went up but the broad-lasting impact is people are exhausted and work is inescapable.”

Getting distracted

Working from home isn’t for everyone. Some people find that they are more productive working from home, while others may be distracted from being in their own space. Reduced productivity can have ramifications, such as conflict with your employer or not meeting deadlines.

Decreased social interaction

Working from home rather than in the office also means that you miss out on socialising with your colleagues. Working independently from home and without the opportunity to easily speak to your colleagues may eventually feel isolating. Social interaction is important for your mental health, so if you are working from home, it is important that somehow you still find a way to keep connected with others.

Professional costs

If you are working from home, you may miss out on opportunities for a promotion. Think about it – if you are working from home, you may be less visible to your boss than your colleagues in the workplace. When it comes time to promote someone, your boss may have built a stronger connection with colleagues that they see each day in the workplace.

Points for discussion.

Is it fair to be dismissed over the phone or zoom, since your not in the office anymore?

The company is not renewing office leases, as employees are working from home. Can I charge rent? (this is fair as they are saving a fortunate everybody working from home).

I want to go back to the office during school holidays, as the kids are a distraction, the Employer said no, is this fair?

I keep getting work related parcel sent to my home address, because no ones in the office, my family and neighbor’s are complaining, what can I do?

You have to develop your own culture that works for you, setting your own discipline, after 40 years in business and being in various roles I can state working from home is not for everybody.

Is working from home really worth it?

These are some of the questions I’ve been asked, the list is potentially endless, new challenging times to say the least. My questions is this, if employers can successfully have you working from home, why can’t we outsource the roles to India, Iceland, Philippines etc. So what appears to be a good thing totally disappears. I’m ready starting to get numerous calls “the boss doesn’t want me at the moment back as their renovating” Really?, get made redundant, or dismissed, call us immediately.

We are A Whole New Approach, we “live and breath” workplace stuff, we are not lawyers but the nations leading workplace advisors. Got a question?, want to know something?, make the call, send the email. We are proud of our staff and the outcomes we achieve for our clients. All Fair work Australia and Fair work Commission matters, unfair dismissals, general protections, redundancy issues., workplace investigations, nothing is a trouble for us. call 1800 333 666, advice is free. We work in all states, Vic, NSW, Qld, SA, WA, Tas, NT

Another article that may be of assistance to you on flexible workplaces, click here


[1] Christopher T Stanton and Pratyush Tiwari, ‘Housing Consumption and the Cost of Remote Work’ (Working Paper, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2021) 1. Available at: <https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w28483/w28483.pdf>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Christopher T Stanton and Pratyush Tiwari, ‘Housing Consumption and the Cost of Remote Work’ (Working Paper, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2021) 3. Available at: <https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w28483/w28483.pdf>.

Careful when working from home, there are tax risks

Careful-when-working-from-home-there-are-tax-risks
It’s great you enjoy your job. Working from home brings new challenges.

Careful when working from home, there are tax risks

This article is a little different to the usual workplace advice type articles. However on a another level it continues our series of wanting to inform you. Take care of you, in regards to anything to do with the workplace. Experience now tell us working from home has led to a new era of dismissals, workplace investigations and adverse action. We are in unprecedented times. Please read on, “Careful when working from home”, there are tax risks

Working from home

Many employees are now working from home, great. “I don’t have to travel to work”, and “my house is now a tax deduction”, “how good is that”. I thought for a different workplace theme. Get away from vaccinations, unfair dismissals, Fair work Commission matters, we would look at the issue. Careful working from home is not just about worrying about getting the sack. Now A Whole New Approach are not tax accountants or lawyers, but leading workplace advisors. Get licensed tax accountants advice if you have concerns, or give us a call, I don’t mind.

Claiming Tax Deductions on Occupancy Expenses

“Careful when working from home”, is worth reading, anything that improves your tax knowledge is worth the read. In order to claim working from home expenses in the first place, you must be working from home to fulfil your employment duties and not just be carrying out occasional or trivial tasks. (i.e. checking emails or taking phone calls). You must be incurring additional expenses as a result of working from home.[1] However, occupancy expenses are generally not deductible from your assessable income.[2]

The ATO has held that as rent payments are a form of occupancy costs. They are considered expenses of a ‘private or domestic nature”, meaning they are generally not deductible even where part of the rented home is being used as a home office. The Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth). States that expenses are deductible from assessable income if they are “incurred in gaining or producing your assessable income” or if they are necessary for carrying on a business for that purpose.[3]

Private and domestic nature

However, one of the exceptions to this is that expenses of a “private or a domestic nature” cannot be deducted. Such as occupancy expenses (i.e. rent, mortgage, interest) and running expenses (i.e. electricity, furniture). Nevertheless, rent deductions may be claimed if that part of the home is being used exclusively for the purposes of income-producing activities. That there is no alternative place of business available.

Careful-when-working-from-home-there-are-tax-risks
Working from home as a feel of working for yourself, have you got the discipline for it long term

Place of Business

In Taxation Ruling TR 93/30, the Commissioner of Taxation held that deductions on occupancy and running expenses may be made where the home office has the character of a “place of business”, rather than being merely a “private study”.

“where part of the home is used for income producing activities and has the character of a ‘place of business’… Some of the expenses incurred in respect of the home such as rent, interest, repairs, house and contents insurance, rates and property taxes, may be partly deductible”.[4]

Therefore, a distinction is drawn between an area of the home that can be identified as a place of business. As compared to a room that is used as a study or a home office for a matter of mere convenience. In cases where the area is classified as a place of business, tax deductions are allowable because the space loses its domestic character and takes on a business or businesslike character.[5]

Whether an area of the home is a place of business will depend on the circumstances, but the following factors point towards such a finding:

  • The area is separate and distinct from the rest of your home and it is clearly identifiable as a place of business;
  • The area cannot readily be used for private or domestic purposes that coincide with the use of the rest of the home more generally;
  • Area is used exclusively or almost exclusively for carrying on a business;
  • The area is used regularly for visits of clients or customers.[6]

Taxation issues

On the other hand, a private study is an area (i.e. office or study at home) that you only use as a matter of convenience, so that you can complete work from home, which could otherwise have been done at your place of business or employment. Examples of situations where an area was held to be a private study, rather than a place of business, include:

  • A barrister’s home office where they read client briefs.
  • A teacher’s desk at home where they prepare lesson plans or mark assignments.
  • An insurance agent’s home office where they store their client files and occasionally interview they clients.[7]

In these examples, the areas in question retained their private or domestic character and were not held to be a place of business.

However, the requirement that is space must be separate and distinct and cannot readily be used for private and domestic purposes. This may disqualify a vast majority of people who are working from home because they are working from the sofa, the lounge room or the dining table.[8]

Alternative Workplace

Another relevant consideration is whether there are any alternative workplaces for conducting income-producing activities. If there is no alternative place of business. It is necessary to work from home. The area used is only for income producing purposes, then the court or tribunal is more likely to find that the relevant area is a place of business for the purposes of tax deductions.[9]

During the lockdowns and enforcement of restrictions, it can be said that the office remains inaccessible as employees are directed to work from home where possible. As a result, many employers have closed their offices and instructed their employees to continue operations from home. Therefore, there is no alternative place of business available and it is necessary to work from home.

Completing-your-employment-paperwork
Careful when working from home, there are tax risks, any concerns?. Get tax advice

What expenses can I claim?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published guidelines online regarding. ‘Working from home during COVID-19’ which explain the deductions that can be claimed and the processes for doing so.[10] The deductions listed on their site refer largely to running expenses, including:

  • Electricity expenses, such as heating, cooling and lighting for the area you are working in and the items you are using to work.
  • Cleaning costs incurred for the dedicated working area.
  • Phone and internet expenses.
  • Computer consumables (i.e. paper, ink) and stationery.
  • Home office equipment, such as computers, phones, furniture.

Some restrictions do apply to these deductions, but they can be claimed by almost everyone who is working from home, even if your home office classifies merely as a “private study”.

On the other hand, if your home office can be classified as a “place of business”, then it may be possible to claim deductions in rent, mortgage or interest.[11] If occupancy expenses are deductible, then the actual amount which can be claimed may depend on the apportionment of total expenses occurred, according to floor area and time (i.e. the period of the year in which the room was being used to produce income).[12]

But what about Capital Gains Tax?

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is the tax paid on profits from selling assets, such as property.[13] If you sell your house and make a profit on this sale. Meaning you selling it at a price higher than what you purchased it for, this additional profit will be your capital gain. However, if your property falls within the recognised categories, then a tax will be applied to that capital gain, which you must pay to the ATO.

In general, your main residence (i.e. your home) is exempt from CGT. But it may apply if you use your home for business.[14] This means that if your home office is considered a “place of business” and you subsequently claim tax deductions for occupancy expenses. Then at the point in time when you sell your home, the CGT will be applied to this sale because a portion of the home was used for business and income-producing purposes.

Place of business

An important caveat to note is that if your home office satisfies the conditions of being a “place of business”. Even if you do not claim home occupancy expenses in your income tax return the CGT will still apply when you sell your home. The ‘interest deductibility test’ is as follows:

“If you use part of your home for rent or business, you would be allowed a tax deduction for part of any home loan interest. Your home is subject to CGT to the same extent.”[15]

This means that the extent to which you are eligible to claim tax deductions because your home is a “place of business”, is the extent to which the CGT will apply when you sell your home. As previously mentioned, even if you do not actually claim the deduction, the CGT will apply if the interest deductibility test is satisfied.

Fair-work-unfair-dismissal
You don’t want the tax office after you. Get accountants advice, if its more related to your workplace give us a call

Careful when working from home, there are tax risks, So what should I do?

Ultimately, the choice is yours. There is a high threshold to be met for your home office to quality as being a “place of business”. In order for you to be able to claim tax deductions for occupancy expenses. However, if it is classified as such, then you will also be partially liable for paying the CGT upon the disposal of your property.

The benefit of claiming occupancy expenses is that you will receive a greater portion of your assessable income back from tax returns. However this amount will later be offset by the application of the CGT, which is applied at the same rate as your income tax (for individuals).

Regardless of whether you claim occupancy expenses or not, as an employee working from home, you are able to claim running expenses for the time you are completing income-producing work. Please see the Australian Taxation Office website for further details and instructions.

Having been in business for 40 odd years, my view is get your reductions properly, or leave it completely alone. Having the attitude of go “I’ll claim half away”. “I’m not sure what I’m doing, I’ll claim. I little bit, but I don’t want to upset the tax office”, this approach ends in tears. Be careful, particularly at the moment the tax office knows allot of employees working from home. Employees will give it a go. Try it on. The ATO is not your friend, lets be honest, rich people don’t pay tax in this country. Its employees working from home, sort of “low hanging fruit”, that’s easy pickings for the tax office.

Careful-claiming-expenses
Are you better off working from the office or home is a question many employees are currently addressing. The tax office recently announced the amount of deductions employees are claiming working from home has increased by billions, its a no brainer that the tax office will examine home based expenses carefully. Working from home has made some of lazy, comfortable, you really have to consider the issue from a clear business point of view.

Summary: Careful when working from home

I hope this article “Careful when working from home, there are tax risks” has been informative for you “. If you have other issues around. this, or working from home in general, or returning to work. If you get dismissed or threatened with dismissal because you don’t want to work from home anymore, its not worth it, or risks are too high. Give us a call. Fair work Australia and Fair work Commission matters, unfair dismissals, general protections, workplace investigations give us a call. Advice is free and confidential. 1800 333 666.

Happy to discuss any workplace issue, including termination of employment. Diversity in the workplace, constructive dismissal, been sacked, workers rights whatever. AWNA are leaders in workplace commentary, our name is on over a 100 published decisions, 200 articles on the internet. We are not afraid of taking on the hard issues. We only represent employees.

Another article on bullying when working from home that may be helpful to you, click here

Article on being flexible working from home, click here

Is working from home really worth it, click here

Does your private life matter, click here

Citations


[1] ‘Working from Home’, Australian Taxation Office (Web Page, 1 July 2021) < https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/income-and-deductions/deductions-you-can-claim/home-office-expenses/>

[2] Ibid.

[3] Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) s 8.1.

[4] Taxation Ruling TR 93/30, [2] (‘Taxation 1’).

[5] Swinford v FC of T (1984) 15 ATR 1154.

[6] Taxation 1 [5].

[7] Handley v FC of T (1981) 11 ATR 644; Forsyth v FC of T (1981) 11 ATR 657).

[8] ‘Be careful what you claim for when working from home. There are capital gains tax risks.’ The Conversation (Web Page, 30 June 2020) <https://theconversation.com/be-careful-what-you-claim-for-when-working-from-home-there-are-capital-gains-tax-risks-141364>.

[9] Taxation 1 [12].

[10] ‘Working from Home during COVID-19’, Australian Taxation Office (Web Page, 17 December 2020) < https://www.ato.gov.au/general/covid-19/support-for-individuals-and-employees/employees-working-from-home/>.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Taxation 1 [18].

[13] ‘Capital gains tax’, Australian Taxation Office (Web Page, 4 August 2021) <https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Capital-gains-tax/>.

[14] ‘List of CGT assets and exemptions’, Australian Taxation Office (Web Page, 4 August 2021) https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Capital-gains-tax/List-of-cgt-assets-and-exemptions/#Yourmainresidenceyourhome.

[15] ‘Using your home for rental or business’, Australian Taxation Office (Web Page, 4 August 2021) <https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Capital-gains-tax/Property-and-capital-gains-tax/Your-main-residence-(home)/Using-your-home-for-rental-or-business/>.

Unfair dismissal No Win-No fee

no-win-no-fee
No win-no fee implies its free, its not. Keep track of the fees, find out where there at if your unfair dismissal (or whatever it is) claim settles, or you win. Our arrangements are on a percentage basis, so you know exactly what’s going on.

Unfair dismissal No Win-No fee, What’s it mean?

Unfair dismissal No win-no fee, I suppose Mr Ashby wished he has that arrangement. James Ashby, a former political staffer to former speaker Peter Slipper,(the speaker in parliament) commenced legal action in 2012 against Mr Slipper by alleging he was sexually harassed. That the politician misused parliamentary entitlements.

The original case against Mr Slipper was eventually withdrawn (my assumption was the lawyers for Mr Ashby assumed the claim would settle, however it didn’t). In turn Mr Ashby sought an ‘act of grace’ payment in 2018 from the Commonwealth. This was to cover his legal fees amounting to $4,537,000, incurred from the withdrawn case. The request was refused by the delegate of the Finance Minister. As it was decided there were no special circumstances in Ashby’s case to warrant the payment.

Different to the American system

The Australian court system is designed to protect itself against vexatious litigant’s. Very different to the American system where anyone can litigate freely and in most cases protected against cost. Meaning that litigants who wish to bring proceedings in a Commonwealth court will carry the burden of the risk of legal costs. Generally, if you lose your case in a Commonwealth court, you will not only have to pay your own lawyers’ fees but the other side’s legal fees also. This is designed to maintain the integrity of Australian courts, to save resources. To save time of esteemed justices and more. 

Commenced court proceeding

Mr. Ashby commenced court proceedings by choice. When there were more economical and lower risk options available to him, such as entering into settlement discussions or a lower jurisdiction. ie the Fair work Commission, NCAT, Administrative Tribunal amongst others

Took the risk

Thus, Mr. Ashby took on the risk in relation to costs, which resulted in a fee of $4.5m. Did Mr. Ashby expect to incur so much in fees? We do not know, but $4.5m is definitely not an amount that any average Australian can afford. There are exceedingly few court decisions anywhere in Australia what have awarded anywhere near this amount incurred in legal fees for this type of claim.

A note: Cardinal George Pell spent $3 million proving he was not guilty, justice is expensive in this country. This all supports the increasingly used option of no win, no fee. You believe you have been unfairly dismissed, unlawfully terminated by your employer and you are now without a job. Then excessive and unexpected legal fees is the last thing you want to worry about.

getting-what's-right-for-your-dismissal- or-general-protections-claim
It’s about getting what’s right for your dismissal or general protections claim

No Win-No fee.

However, the alternative to court proceedings, which may seem daunting to the lay person who may face huge legal fees, is getting representation from us – A Whole New Approach. (note we are not lawyers). We offer two payment options to all our clients, the ‘No Win No Fee’ option or a fixed fee option. With the help of our clear and certain payment options, you will be able to fight your case confidently. Without the fear of not knowing how much legal / representation fees you will rack up by the end.

We know that you may feel insignificant and at a significant disadvantage against your employer. Who you think has more money than you to cover legal costs, but with our support and work, you will be well and fairly represented – at a respectable cost!

Whether you use our services or anybody else you need to know, the best you can, what your in for. Get a fixed fee or success percentage. You need to know that you are going to get something thing out of your claim. Or achieve your goal, whatever that may be. Be aware we only work in areas that allow for non lawyers to represent. Fair work Australia (FWC), various state and federal tribunals. If you want to go to court, we have a good referral system you can access.

just-watch-the-bill
Lawyers do a great job (we are not lawyers). Just watch the bill. This one is happy charging for every 10 minutes.

Options

Our ‘No Win No Fee’ option includes an administration fee that will cover the filing fees and any other relevant disbursements. Then if and only when we are successful in obtaining a settlement on your behalf, we will be paid a lesser proportion of the settlement than yourself. This payment structure is to ensure that our interests align and so we are fighting for the same goal in the end. To get the best settlement for you as we also have ‘skin in the game’.

The other option is the fixed fee option. Unlike Mr Ashby who was required to pay $4.5m in fees, you will know exactly how much you have paid to us for the work and know that you will not need to pay a cent more. Upon initial consultation, we will quote you a fixed fee if you wish to weigh the benefits of both options.

get-help-explore-your-options
Get help, explore your options

Unfair dismissal No Win-No fee

The unfair dismissal No Win-No fee article I hope has given you a improved prospective. Fees and charges in the Fair work Commission and other tribunals is a world of its own. It makes a phone plans look simple. you have to balance up the known fees, against the unknown. Get whatever the arrangement is, from whoever it is in writing. Don’t sign up to pages and pages of paperwork without reading it. Look at the experience of who’s going to look after you.

Call us on 1800 333 666 for a free consultation and also a quote on which fee option will be the most appropriate for your circumstances.

Conclusion to Unfair dismissal No Win-No fee

We are the nations leading workplace advisors, fiercely independent, honest, prompt, and we keep it real, no BS here. We are Australia wide, NSW, Vic, Qld, Tas, SA, WA. Looking for a lawyer, give us a call, we are the alternative, explore your rights and fee options. Unfair dismissal claims, forced to resign, workplace investigations, abandonment of employment, workers rights. Anything to do with the workplace give us a call.

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