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Can Australian bosses force you back to the office?



The recent shift by companies to require employees to return to the office has sparked discussions about the legality of such mandates.

Zoom, for instance, known for its remote work-friendly policies, has directed staff to return to the office for at least two days a week.

This shift is part of a broader trend, with close to 90% of Australian employers implementing mandatory in-office days, according to a survey by recruitment agency Robert Half.

The question arises: Can employers change their stance on remote work after initially directing employees to work from home? While in most cases the answer is yes, individuals have the right to advocate for flexible arrangements, provided they adhere to proper procedures.

Lawful direction

Employment contracts in Australia require employees, including those working on a casual or short-term basis, to follow “lawful and reasonable” directions from employers.

This legal requirement has been deemed “implied” by Australian courts in every employment contract. However, directives to return to the workplace must be considered “lawful and reasonable,” except in extreme cases where they conflict with government mandates or other laws.

Employees with legitimate reasons, such as health concerns, can contest returning to the office, and employers are obliged to provide a safe and considered plan for a return.

Failing to comply with such a direction may lead to disciplinary measures, including dismissal.

Consultation required

Consultation is required when a return-to-work directive impacts employees covered by awards or enterprise agreements. The Fair Work Ombudsman emphasizes that consultation involves giving notice, discussing proposed changes, sharing written information, and taking employees’ views into prompt consideration.

Workplace flexibility provisions in employment contracts, awards, or enterprise agreements grant employees the right to request work-from-home arrangements.

The Fair Work Act’s national employment standards also afford employees the right to request “flexible work arrangements” if they meet certain criteria, such as being parents, carers, disabled, or victims of domestic violence.

Employers can refuse flexible work arrangement requests only on “reasonable business grounds” after genuine consideration of alternative solutions.

Since June 6, 2023, employees have had the right to appeal to the Fair Work Commission, which has expanded powers to mediate, recommend, and even arbitrate disputes.

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McDonald’s plans massive expansion with 9,000 new burger joints by 2027



Fast-food giant McDonald’s has unveiled an ambitious plan to open nearly 9,000 new burger joints across the globe by 2027.

The move comes as part of the company’s aggressive growth strategy to maintain its dominance in the competitive fast-food industry.

McDonald’s, known for its iconic golden arches, currently operates over 38,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

With this expansion, the company aims to tap into emerging markets while also strengthening its presence in existing ones. The plan includes opening new outlets in urban centres, shopping malls, and even smaller towns, catering to a diverse range of customers.

The expansion drive is expected to create thousands of jobs, from front-line crew members to management positions, offering economic opportunities in various communities.

Furthermore, McDonald’s will continue to focus on sustainability, with commitments to reduce its environmental footprint through eco-friendly practices and packaging.

As the fast-food giant prepares to embark on this ambitious journey, the focus keyword for Google SEO is “McDonald’s expansion.”

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Citigroup’s enormous billion dollar restructuring cost revealed



Citigroup, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, is undergoing a significant restructuring effort that comes with a hefty price tag of $1 billion.

However, this massive overhaul is now anticipated to extend beyond the current quarter and will likely stretch into the next.

The restructuring plan, which was initially expected to conclude this quarter, involves a comprehensive review of Citigroup’s operations, aiming to streamline its business processes and enhance efficiency. The bank has been facing mounting pressure to adapt to changing market conditions and technological advancements.

The delay in completing the restructuring has raised concerns among investors, as the prolonged uncertainty can impact the bank’s financial performance. Citigroup’s leadership remains committed to the plan, emphasising the importance of getting it right rather than rushing through the process.

Despite the cost and delay, Citigroup remains optimistic about the long-term benefits of the restructuring, which include improved profitability and competitiveness in the financial sector.

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British American Tobacco issues warning on future of U.S. brands



British American Tobacco (BAT) has raised concerns about the long-term viability of its US-based cigarette brands, marking a significant shift in its outlook on the American market.

The company is now planning a massive $31.5 billion writedown, reflecting its dim view of the future prospects for these brands.

BAT, one of the world’s leading tobacco companies, has traditionally maintained a strong presence in the US market through brands like Newport and Camel. However, changing consumer preferences, stricter regulations, and the rise of alternative tobacco products like e-cigarettes have put pressure on the traditional cigarette industry.

The company’s decision to write down the value of its US brands highlights the challenges it faces in a market that is evolving rapidly. BAT is expected to focus more on the development and marketing of reduced-risk products and alternative nicotine delivery systems.

This strategic shift may have significant implications for BAT’s future operations and the broader tobacco industry. It remains to be seen how the company will navigate this changing landscape and whether it can adapt to the shifting preferences of consumers.

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