In calculating times for the deadlines imposed by the Fair Work Act, for example for unfair dismissal and general protections’ cases, it helps to be aware of the following provisions of the Commonwealth Acts Interpretation Act.
ACTS INTERPRETATION ACT 1901 – SECT 36(1)
(1) A period of time referred to in an Act that is of a kind mentioned in column 1 of an item in the following table is to be calculated according to the rule mentioned in column 2 of that item:
Calculating periods of time
Item Column 1
If the period of time: Column 2
then the period of time:
1 is expressed to occur between 2 days includes both days.
2 is expressed to begin at, on or with a specified day includes that day.
3 is expressed to continue until a specified day includes that day.
4 is expressed to end at, on or with a specified day includes that day.
5 is expressed to begin from a specified day does not include that day.
6 is expressed to begin after a specified day does not include that day.
7 is expressed to end before a specified day does not include that day.
Example 1: If a claim may be made between 1 September and 30 November, a claim may be made on both 1 September and 30 November.
Example 2: If a permission begins on the first day of a financial year, the permission is in force on that day.
Example 3: If a licence continues until 31 March, the licence is valid up to and including 31 March.
Example 4: If a person’s right to make submissions ends on the last day of a financial year, the person may make submissions on that day.
Example 5: If a variation of an agreement is expressed to operate from 30 June, the variation starts to operate on 1 July.
Example 6: If a decision is made on 2 August and a person has 28 days after the day the decision is made to seek a review of the decision, the 28-day period begins on 3 August.
Example 7: If a person must give a notice to another person at any time during the period of 7 days before the day a proceeding starts and the proceeding starts on 8 May, the notice may be given at any time during the 7-day period starting on 1 May and ending on 7 May.
(a) an Act requires or allows a thing to be done; and
(b) the last day for doing the thing is a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday;
then the thing may be done on the next day that is not a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday.
Example: If a person has until 31 March to make an application and 31 March is a Saturday, the application may be made on Monday 2 April.
(3) In this section:
“holiday” , in relation to the time for doing a thing, means:
(a) a day that is a public holiday in the place in which the thing is to be or may be done; and
(b) if the thing is to be or may be done at a particular office or other place–a day on which the place or office is closed for the whole day.”