Emergency powers arising from COVID-19

Direction from Chief Health Officer – Emergency powers arising from COVID-19 While there has been some debate regarding mandatory vaccination requirements, the recent public health direction has set out new requirements for workers in healthcare, their employees, and responsible persons in healthcare settings, including limited exceptions. On 29 January 2020, the Minister for Health and...
Buying a business

How to avoid hidden issues when buying a business

Buying a business can be one of the most beneficial financial decisions you make. This is because you are not only purchasing the ability to practice in that business, but you are also purchasing an established client base, staff and location, which means you have essentially jumped into an already established business where all the...
bankruptcy Australia

What it means to be bankrupt and how we can help

It is understandable to fear the idea of bankruptcy and everything it may entail due to its ‘end of the world’ stigma. The path towards bankruptcy is not an easy one and should not be taken lightly due to the negative consequences involved.  However, it can offer relief, release you from debts and allow you...
protect your business interests post employment

Are Your Business Interests Protected by Post-Employment?

While it is a priority for your business’ intellectual property (IP) to be adequately protected from copycats and infringers, it is equally important to protect your business in the post-employment context. Employees come and go, and with it they take their knowledge and skills acquired from one business to the next. Fortunately, there are several...
choose executor

How to Choose the Right Executor

When it comes time to prepare your will, it is also time to consider nominating at least one person to be the executor of your estate.  The executor’s role is to administer your estate in accordance with your will. While it may seem straight forward and easy to allocate this role, it should not be...
estate planning

What property passes under my Will?

When planning your estate, it’s important to understand what assets will or will not form part of your estate upon your passing.  Estate assets will be distributed in accordance with the terms of your will. Other assets (non-estate assets) – which may surprise you – will not form part of your estate and cannot be...
out of hours conduct cause for dismissal

When does out-of-hours conduct cause for employee dismissal?

The ever-blurring lines between work and private life make it difficult for both employees and employers to identify where their rights, duties and obligations begin and end. Typically, when you walk out the door from your days’ work, you’re “off the clock” and your business is your own. However, some out of hours conduct may...
changes to defamation laws in Queensland

Updates to Defamation Laws in Queensland

On 20 April 2021, The Defamation (Model Provisions) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (“the Bill”) was introduced into Parliament to amend parts of the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld).  In 2006, Queensland and the other states and territories adopted the Uniform Defamation Laws (“UDL”). Following the adoption, the law on defamation was substantially the same...
starting a small business

Things to remember when starting a small business

Starting a small business can be an exciting life choice.  Operating a small business offers many benefits, such as flexibility, independence, and the ability to be your own boss. However, there are things that all prospective business owners should consider before taking the plunge. This is because starting a business isn’t as easy as you...
employee vs contractor

Employee or Contractor – that is the question.

Whether to hire workers as an employee or contractor is a commercial decision. Whatever decision you make, you’ll need to ensure that the relationship is clear cut. If the lines are blurred your business may: risk impeding the rights of a worker; and fail to meet your business’ tax and superannuation obligations. To understand those...
right to a view in Queensland

Is there a right to a view in Queensland?

If you’re thinking about purchasing a picturesque property overlooking a scenic vista, please bear in mind that property owners do not have a legal entitlement to a view in Australia.  Sometimes, the risk to your view arises from new development.  If so, you may be able to make submissions to your local counsel to oppose...
Superannuation guarantee

Superannuation guarantee to increase, who bears the brunt?

The superannuation guarantee (SG) is the minimum percentage of a salary that an employer must contribute to an employee’s superannuation fund. The percentage is legislated and controlled by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The current SG percentage is 9.5% of employees’ ordinary time earnings. From 1 July 2021, the SG will increase from 9.5 %...
social media defamation

The Perils of Social Media Defamation

Defamation is an area of the law that most readers would be familiar with. The general idea is that if one person publishes an opinion about another person which reduces their standing within the community, it can be classified as defamation. It is a legal issue presented in popular culture, because we live in an...

End of temporary debt relief measures

2020 was a year marked by drastic changes. In March of that year, governments around the world scrambled to make the necessary adjustments to prepare for a changed world. In the name of public health and safety, the Australian Government issued a mandatory lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. As a result, only...
jobkeeper test case appeal

JobKeeper test case – appeal

Since our recent blog about the first JobKeeper test case, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has  appealed the decision handed down by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). To summarise our last blog, in December 2020, the AAT handed down its decision in Apted and Federal Commissioner of Taxation [2020] AATA 5139. The AAT decided to allow...
JobKeeper test case

JobKeeper – the first test case

Many small businesses have remained afloat thanks to the JobKeeper scheme which allows employers to keep their employees following the effects of Covid-19.  Other small businesses have significantly suffered financially after being denied by the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) of JobKeeper payments due to technicalities. On 21 December 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled on...
Employment law changes

Big Changes to Employment Law in 2021

What a year 2020 has been. We began the new decade with this country in a haze of drought and devastating bushfires, just as the fires were put out, Australia and the rest of the world was thrown into the uncertainty of a global pandemic and economic downturn. It is fair to say that 2020...
business power of attorney

Do You Need a Company Power of Attorney

In today’s fast paced business environment, it makes smart business sense to appoint a company power of attorney.  A company power of attorney may be better described by distinguishing it from an individual power of attorney. In simple terms, a power of attorney is an instrument that gives authority to another person to act on behalf...
employee standown

Mere business downturn may not be lawful grounds for stand down

Before March 2020, the stand down provision under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“Act”) was uncommonly used. Then came Covid-19 and with many Australian businesses struggling in such unprecedented times, actions were taken without understanding legal obligations to employees. A stand down under section 524 of the Act permits an employer to stand down...
sick leave

What is a sick day? Mondelez v AMWU: High Court Delivers Certainty Over Personal/Carer’s Leave Obligations

A recent interpretation of the personal/carer’s leave in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“Act”) by the High Court provides clarity of an important issue for both businesses and workers. Earlier this year, the High Court issued its decision in Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, printing and kindred Industries Union known...

Defamation, Civil and Criminal: The limits of what you can say.

We’re generally free to say what we want, but there are limitations to free speech that cover a wide range of issues important to society. Defamation laws protect people and organisations from abuses of free speech. What is it? Defamation is a civil action allowing parties to seek compensation for damages against a person’s reputation...
website terms and conditions

Website Terms and Conditions

Perhaps one positive spin to Covid-19 restrictions lead you to extend your business to the online world.  You have spent countless hours perfecting your website layout for your business. You are almost ready to launch. Before you do, you do a bit of online research to make sure you’ve covered everything a website needs and...
Group 2 workers

Pay increase for group 2 workers – do your employees fall under group 2?

The Fair Work Commission announced in June a 1.75% increase to minimum wages as part of its annual review. Due to the significant impacts of the pandemic in some industries, the start date of the wage increase was staggered in 3 different groups. Group 1 had a wage increase in 1 July 2020. These included...
buy and sell business

What You Need to Know When Buying or Selling a Business

When negotiating the terms of sale or purchase of a business what will need to be considered will vary depending on the type of business involved.  However, there are some general considerations that you need to take into account for most businesses:  Terms of the contract  Some of the important things that should be dealt...
employment matters

Employment matters – we like to understand your business

Employment law affects all businesses with employees. Employment relationships can be complex and the rights and responsibilities are ever-evolving. An employment law “health check” is worth the investment to ensure your business is compliant with legal obligations whilst protecting your business’ interests for the future. At Cohen Legal, we pride ourselves in providing our clients...
intellectual property

Partnership Disputes over Intellectual Property

When a business owned by two or more partners dissolves, disputes over how to divide intellectual property (IP) ownership rights between partners often arise, particularly when the partnership agreement does not provide any recourse or there is no partnership agreement at all. Two partners set up a business. Both had great plans for their new...
shareholder agreement

Shareholders Agreement

The purpose of a shareholders agreement is to govern shareholders of a company, their business relationship and arrangements, both during and after the relationship. Shareholders agreements are not mandatory. However, it’s important to set out the rights and obligations of shareholders in a binding agreement so that disputes amongst shareholders are minimised. As no two...

Three things to keep an eye on in any agreement you make

Agreements are a part of every business. While most agreements are formed without a hitch, the consequences of simple mistakes can cause major headaches and be costly for your business. Here are some issues to think about and potentially avoid some very big problems.  Agreements can be legally binding despite being extremely informal A common...
employment law

Navigating Employment Law for Small Businesses

All businesses in Australia, whether you operate as a sole trader or company, must comply with the minimum entitlements under employment legislation and regulations. Many businesses must also comply with specific requirements associated with its industry. Failure to adhere to employment laws can result in investigations and fines.  But did you know that there are...
intellectual property

Is your business’ intellectual property adequately protected?

Intellectual property rights, also known as IP rights, provide owners with the time and opportunity to commercialise their creations.  Your business name, logo, trade secrets, and any creative processes and inventions all fall within the gamut of IP.  Your IP is what will differentiate your business from another. So, is it adequately protected from copycats...
Business Structures

Choosing Your Business Structure

When starting your business, it’s important to consider the right structure for it. Your choice of structure will depend on many factors, including the size and type of business, your personal circumstances and business goals.  There are four main types of business structures in Australia: Sole trader Company Partnership Trust. Each structure provides different: Tax...
wage increase

Fair Work Commission – Annual Award Increases

Following its annual review, the Fair Work Commission recently announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages.  In previous years, wage increases applied from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July. Having considered the significant impact caused by the pandemic in some industries, the Commission has opted to stagger the wage increases...

Litigation – What is it?

Litigation is the area of law when things get a bit hairy – you or your business are in a dispute about contractual breaches, unpaid monies and other issues. Essentially, you’re heading into a legal fight and it’s stressful and complicated. You need a legal partner to help you navigate the legal vortex. Seek help...
commercial tenancies

A Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies

The Queensland government has finally introduced regulations under the Covid-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 giving effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct for commercial leases. A lease is considered to be an affected lease if: it is a retail shop lease or a lease for carrying on the business of the tenant; it...

New Ruling: What Constitutes a Casual Worker

The Federal Court of Australia handed down a new ruling yesterday in WorkPac v Rossato redefining what constitutes a casual employee. Effectively, your regular rostered casual workers may not be casual workers at all and may be entitled to certain leave entitlements. The Federal Government has indicated that it is open to legislative amendments to...
building and construction adjudication

Building and Construction Law Basics – Part 4 – Adjudication

Adjudication is a dispute resolution process to help resolve disagreements about progress payments and money owed....
partnership agreement

Partnership Agreements: An important step in securing your business

Establishing a partnership type business is a good way for two to a small group of business partners to start a small to medium sized business. As we’ve already covered, partnerships are good businesses because they usually are cheap to set up, easy to maintain with minimal regulatory requirements and can be transformed into a...
employment contract

The importance of well drafted employment contracts

The need for well drafted employment contracts and policies is vital as these documents set out the framework in which the employment relationship is regulated. A well drafted employment contract: sets clear obligations and expectations on the employee so if that employee fails to meet the terms and conditions of employment the employer can rely...

The importance of registering a business name

So, you’re a new startup company. It’s an exciting new chapter. After months of toing and froing you’ve finally found the perfect name for your business. What next? Read on and we’ll tell you why it’s important to register your business name. Reason 1: Mandatory requirement It’s a legal requirement in Australia to register the...
construction reference date

Building & Construction Law Basics – Part 3 – Reference Date

Welcome to part 3 of our series of articles discussing the basics of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (Qld)(BIFA).  So far in this series we’ve covered: Payment claims; and Payment schedules. If you’ve missed these articles, be sure to read them here. What is a reference date? It’s a date stated...

COVID-19 business restrictions and requirements in Queensland

COVID-19 business restrictions and requirements in Queensland, on 8 October 2021, the Chief Health Officer issued directions in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency. These directions set out the requirements that restricted businesses in Queensland must follow. Restricted businesses included businesses in the hospitality, entertainment venues, personal care services industries,...

Exercising an option to renew a lease

If you have ever signed a commercial lease, you may be familiar with the common option to renew term. This allows for the tenant to exercise their right to renew the lease and continue to exercise their rights under that lease after the expiration date. It is important to understand your rights and obligations under...

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