April is an interesting month to be running a business. With all the stop/start, public holidays and roster management, lack of momentum and progress, chocolate hangovers and first quarter reviews to be completed….
Whatever you decided to do over the Easter long weekend, we hope you were able to enjoy some time with family, good food and some relaxation. This year doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, so we hope some of our ongoing hints, tips, information, and advice helps you to keep things on track for your business.
Recent changes to working on public holidays – employees must be requested to work, and can refuse
A decision from the Federal Court on 28 March 2023 has changed the approach to rostering employees on public holidays. An employer’s failure to ask employees whether they wanted to work on public holidays breached one of the National Employment Standards and was ruled unlawful by a Federal Court full bench.
The impact of the decision affects certain awards (please check your award conditions) and came into effect immediately.
If you are rostering for public holidays, you need to communicate to employees:
- Confirming that any roster to work is a request to work that can be refused; and
- Indicating that the roster is not finalised until any responses to the request have been received.
A failure to request that the public holiday be worked (in advance of any direction/requirement to work the holiday) will render the working of the holiday unlawful and in breach of the Fair Work Act. This applies even if the employee’s normal shift falls over a public holiday.
These changes are effective NOW. Make sure you are compliant!
Dismissals and Employee Discipline
Why taking shortcuts can cost you!
There have been a number of cases in the press recently which have highlighted the risks to business owners of not following the correct processes and procedures when either terminating or disciplining employees.
There seems to have been a shift away from following more robust, traditional disciplinary processes; and this has seen more businesses ‘cutting corners’ to expedite the desired outcome. Unfortunately, this has resulted in several employers being ruled against for not demonstrating procedural fairness. The bottom line is that when dealing with complicated issues, in order to reduce the risk of litigation (eg an unfair dismissal or general protections claim), a clear, fair and well documented process must be followed.
There is a wealth of information, resources, guidelines, professional advice and support available to managers to help navigate and manage these inevitable situations. However, people leaders often don’t feel confident enough to tackle these issues; are too quick to act, or don’t follow professional advice. Acting hastily can often lead to crucial steps in the process being missed, and even if you think your decision is justified, a lack of process could be considered harsh, unjust or unreasonable to the employee. It can be challenging dealing with conflict or underperformance, but it still needs to be done properly!
Time and time again, Fair Work has ruled that there were sufficient grounds to dismiss an employee, however because the process undertaken by the employer to affect the dismissal was determined to be unfair, the dismissal was not upheld and the employee was reinstated.
If you need support in the areas of misconduct, employee discipline or dismissals, don’t take the risk and cut corners – give us a call and let us help your through the process the right way.
How often are you in the thick of it with running your business or an employee does something questionable and you suddenly think ‘do we have a policy for that?’ ‘Should we have a policy for that?’ ‘I meant to get those contracts drawn up/amended/updated’, ‘I need position descriptions and contracts if I’m going to hire more people’?
Get your HR foundations right, set expectations, provide clarity to employees, and reduce risk – make sure all your policies and contracts are up to date.
HR Maximised can provide you with best practice, legally compliant, employment contracts, policies, letters, templates and other HR documentation, to ensure you are able to prevent problems, minimise risk and focus on business as usual.
Prevent problems and minimise risk
Easing the paperwork burden – contracts, policies and other documentation. We will develop and review:
- Employment Contracts
- Independent Contractor Agreements
- Employment/WHS Policies
- Position Descriptions
- Letters of Offer
- Termination letters
Our comprehensive Employee Handbook includes a large selection of policies to cover all recommended areas. We will work with you to find the right mix of policies for your business. An example of some of the policies we offer are:
- Anti-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
- Code of Conduct
- Workplace surveillance
- Mobile Phone and Devices Policy
- Internet, Email and Computer Use Policy
- Company Property Policy
- Leave Policy
- Performance Management and Misconduct Policy
- Dispute Resolution and Handling Policy
- Conflict Management and Grievance Handling Policy
- Bullying and Harassment Policy
- Sexual Harassment Policy
Our Workplace Health & Safety Handbook includes over a dozen policies as well as a number of useful forms and checklists to ensure you are meeting your WHS obligations. Some of these include:
- Workplace Health and Safety Policy
- Risk Management Policy and Procedure
- Incident and Accident Management
- Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy
- Plant and Machinery Safety
- WHS Responsibilities for an Employee
- WHS Responsibilities for Managers
- Risk Management Plan Form
- Office Hazard Checklist Form
- Injury/Illness/Incident Reporting Form
- Incident Investigation Form
- Work Health and Safety Management Review Checklist
- Job Safety Analysis (JSA)
For a complete list of all our Policies and Forms, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org