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‘The Great Regret’ over 85% of Aussie Workers want their Pre-COVID Job Back

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The grass isn’t greener… 1/4 of working Aussies have Re-Applied to their pre-COVID employer. 

In an intriguing twist of career trajectories post-pandemic, a significant portion of the Australian workforce is circling back what is familiar. Astonishingly, ¼ of working Aussies have re-applied to their pre-COVID employers, underscoring a unique trend of professional boomerang moves.

Initially drawn away by the allure of better pay and the flexible, hybrid cultures advertised by other employers, many employees are now retracing their steps. This was further amplified by retrenchment rates simultaneously peaking at 22% in 2021 (ABS).

Note: Retrenchment is most seen in the example where it ceased due to economic hardships. It typically doesn’t reflect an individual employee’s performance – more that the company they work for needs to cut costs to survive.

Fast forward to 2024, and the scenario has dramatically shifted, with retrenchment rates plummeting to a record low of 8%. Meanwhile, the Australian job mobility rate has been at 9.5% since 2022, the highest rate in over two decades, according to the ABS.  

But the question remains: would employers take back their covid-quitters? The answer is overwhelmingly yes, with 98% of hiring managers affirming their willingness to re-hire former employees. This notable trend of boomerang employees highlights the evolving dynamics within the job market, weaving a narrative of resilience, reconnection, and, perhaps, rediscovery.


Paying Staff $2 Above Minimum Wage, Fined $200,000 for Underpayment? The most common and avoidable HR documentation mistakes:

One often overlooked aspect is the reliance on outdated employment contracts or, even riskier, verbal agreements. Astonishingly, such oversights account for over 37% of workplace lawsuits. This statistic is a stark reminder of the legal quagmires that can ensnare businesses not paying heed to the evolution of employment laws. To mitigate such risks, ensure your contracts are regularly reviewed and updated. 

Underpayments represent another significant challenge, particularly when businesses fail to comply with all award entitlements. A cautionary tale comes from a Melbourne cafe fined $200,000 for not compensating staff with required allowances for split shifts despite offering a higher base pay above the award minimums. This example underscores the importance of a comprehensive understanding and implementation of award entitlements, safeguarding against costly legal repercussions.

Interestingly, businesses with up-to-date policies and procedures are 63% less likely to encounter workplace incidents. This statistic illustrates the protective barrier that well-crafted and enforced policies can provide against potential legal issues. Regularly revisiting and reinforcing these policies can foster a safer, more compliant workplace culture.

Lastly, the impact of poor record keeping must be balanced, with companies potentially losing 5% of their revenue annually due to inadequate documentation practices. This loss can be attributed to various factors, from unclaimed deductions and disorganised financial records to penalties for non-compliance. Therefore, investing in robust record-keeping systems is not merely an administrative task; it’s a strategic move to safeguard your business’s financial health and legal standing.

At marvinHR, we’re dedicated to helping you quickly navigate the often complex landscape of HR. Let us help you address these common pitfalls— we can update your contracts, perform wage audits, revamp and promote your policies. Get in touch with our team today (click here). 


Podcast Promo – Morality vs. Money: When Profits Clash with Fair Pay.

Exciting news! Our 3rd podcast episode will be live on Spotify and YouTube on Friday, 10 May. We will be diving deep into the world of employee engagement. We’re unpacking six critical factors that can make or break engagement levels: reward, recognition, voice, choice, learning, and legacy. 

This time, we’re zooming in on the hot topic of remuneration. Let’s face it: the quest for higher wages is on everyone’s mind, but why? For starters, life happens! Whether it’s the dream of owning a home or coping with unexpected expenses, financial needs are a big motivator. Then there’s the quest for fairness. 

Many feel their hard work and added responsibilities should be compensated better. And, of course, there’s the confidence factor—some believe their skills are worth way more, even fresh out of university, asking for salaries like $75k p.a. + super, despite $55k being the norm. On the flip side, employers have a delicate balancing act. 

They must weigh their organisation’s financial capabilities, especially not-for-profits, which often can’t match the salary packages of their for-profit counterparts. However, paying fair wages above industry standards isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a must. And let’s be clear: underpaying is illegal, but there’s a big morality issue often not spoken about – which is companies that can afford to pay their staff better but choose not to – i.e. profits over people.


  1. Seek’s Laws of Attraction in Australia Top 5 – Work-Life Balance, Remuneration, Work Environment, Management Quality & Career Development 
  2. 4 legal tips to keep in mind to insure your redeployment policies stand up to scrutiny
  3. What to do when your star employee leaves? Harvard’s Amy Gallo breaks down this topic in audio and transcript
  4. Employees open to being promoted without a pay rise

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