It has been another busy month and heading into the end of the financial year we are looking at:

  • Small business grants for HR services have been released for QLD businesses to support investment in HR solutions that will drive business growth.
  • Wage Reviews – when did you last undertake a wage review? With the recent announcement of an increase to the National Minimum Wage and minimum award wage; changes to some allowances also set to occur; and two significant Australian employers having to rectify employee underpayments in the millions, don’t leave it until you have a claim on your desk to take action.
  • Team activities to deepen engagement, improve culture and have some fun!

June’s Spotlight

HR Support Grants for Small Business via the Workforce Connect Fund

The Queensland Government via it’s Workforce Connect Fund has released grants of up to $5,000 for small businesses to invest in innovative HR solutions, support and advice.

Eligible businesses for this grant program have fewer than 20 employees and an annual turnover of less than $10 million. They must also demonstrate that they are QLD based and at least 50 per cent of the business’s income is generated directly from the business (not govt funding for example).

A business must have also engaged with an Industry Workforce Advisor and developed a Workforce Plan that identifies immediate HR solutions to support its workforce.

Eligible Activities

  • Engage with HR specialists to receive advice and coaching to improve workforce issues.
  • Specialised recruitment strategies or practices to attract and retain staff.
  • New workforce systems or tools that promote HR support and improve business operations.
  • Other new and innovative approaches to support attraction, retention, or participation.

Eligible businesses can send a copy of the completed Workforce Plan, as well as contact details of their Industry Workforce Advisor to wcf@desbt.qld.gov.au to request an application form.

How we can help

If you require any assistance in identifying HR solutions to support your business, please give us a call. We can assist with developing an initial plan to take to your advisor, including services we can provide to address your immediate and future requirements. We can then assist with providing quotes in the application part of the process.

For more information, visit the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training website via the following link: https://desbt.qld.gov.au/employment/workforce-connect-fund.

Time for a wage review?

The past couple of weeks has seen a number of issues arise around the topic of wages. Whether it be back pay for employee underpayments; changes to award rates, or increases in award allowances, it’s a timely reminder that annual wage reviews are an absolute must for employers.

Suncorp’s insurance arm has paid out about $32 million to more than 15,800 underpaid staff after it failed to adequately pay employees the minimum wage since 2014, due to the inconsistent use of ‘rostered employee’ and misunderstandings of appropriate entitlements.

The payback includes interest and superannuation, including about $26 million in wages and entitlements, $4.5 million in interest, and $1.4 million in superannuation.

This comes after BHP announced last week it had underpaid 28,000 employees $430 million due to basic payroll errors.

These companies are huge employers with equally huge Human Resource departments and if they can get it wrong, so can smaller businesses. Whilst underpayments of that magnitude are not common, they can certainly run into the thousands for smaller employers – and it only takes one employee to raise a concern.

In addition to recently reported underpayment claims The Fair Work Commission has announced:

  • the National Minimum Wage will be increased to $882.80 per week or $23.23 per hour
  • a 5.75% increase to minimum award wages.

The increase applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2023.

Make sure you are paying your staff correctly and talk to us about a wage review if you have any concerns.

Need ideas for your next team building or social event?

We all know that getting our teams together to enjoy some down time can have significant benefits for morale and business culture. Some employees love social events whilst others might find them overwhelming, so it’s important to check in with your teams to understand the types of activities they enjoy.

We’ve put together a few ideas for your next team event. But don’t forget that the best ideas come from your people! If you really want to reward your team and help them feel valued, send around a ballot and ask for suggestions and then plan the event together.

Here’s some suggestions to start you off:

  • Staff family day
  • Themed office party
  • Murder Mystery party
  • Escape Room event
  • Office trivia night
  • Great office bake off/cook off
  • Office Karaoke night
  • Sip and Paint night

Whatever you choose for your next team building event, do it soon! They really do make a difference to team morale and are great for creating fun work memories.