We are getting closer to mid-year and Fair Work legislation updates have been coming in thick and fast with more amendments on the immediate horizon! With the significant, wide-reaching changes both introduced recently and upcoming in the second part of the year, it is important to keep you up to date. We’ve dedicated this month’s HR Spotlight to Legislation.

May’s Spotlight

HR Legislation Changes – Are your Employment Contracts up to date?

With a continually changing workforce and so many factors competing for employers’ attention, it’s critically important that you keep abreast of changes in the Fair Work Legislation (employment and industrial relations reforms), to ensure you are minimising your litigation risk. Knowing that you have everything covered in your employment contracts is a great way to protect your business.

The  Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Cth) was enacted in December 2022, resulting in a number of changes that will be introduced throughout this year. Some key changes made in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) include:

Confidentiality and Pay Secrecy – Pay secrecy clauses are now illegal in Australia and any employment contract entered into or changed after 7 December 2022 must not include a clause that prohibits employees from discussing their salary and remuneration. Effective since December 2022.

Positive Duty to Eliminate Sexual Harassment Employers can be held liable for sexual harassment in the workplace unless they can demonstrate they have policies in place and have taken reasonable steps to prevent it. Effective since November 2022.

Anti-Discrimination Protections Additional anti-discrimination measures have been introduced and all workplace participants need to be educated about the new protected attributes including breastfeeding, gender identity and intersex status.  Effective since December 2022.

Flexible Work Arrangements Employers will soon have new obligations when an employee requests a flexible work arrangement (see our February Newsletter) and employees have more legal recourse if their request is denied. Effective as of June 2023.

Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave – All employees can access 10 days of paid leave in a 12-month period. Effective February 2023 for employers with 15 or more employees  and 1 August 2023 for employers with less than 15 employees.

Public Holidays – Employees need to be requested to work public holidays and may refuse on reasonable grounds. If they work the public holiday, they must be compensated accordingly e.g. given a mutually agreed day off in lieu. See our April Newsletter for more information. Effective March 2023.

Shut Down – Employers covered by certain awards will be required to give employees affected by a temporary shutdown (such as a closures over Christmas/New Year), 28 days’ written notice of the shutdown, if the employer will require employees to take paid annual leave during that period. If an employee doesn’t have enough annual leave accrued for the closure, employers and employees may mutually agree to an alternative such as leave without pay, annual leave in advance or using accrued time off. To see if you are affected by this change, check for your award on this list: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/newsroom/news/new-shutdown-rules-for-awards

Pay Day Super – Employers will be required to pay their employees’ super at the same time as their salary and wages. Effective from 1 July 2026.

Salaries inclusive of overtime – Employers who include regular overtime as part of employee salary calculations are still required to ensure they have requested the employee work the over time, allowing the employee to reasonably refuse the request.

Employee wellbeing and psychosocial hazards – Employers must have up to date training and systems in place to manage psychosocial hazards at work including psychological and physical harm. Effective 1 April 2023.

HR Maximised can provide up to date, legally compliant Employment Contracts that give you peace of mind and keep your business protected.

Performance Reviews

We are getting closer to the end of the financial year, which is when many businesses conduct salary reviews. Fair Work has already indicated there could be a rise to award rates of between 5 – 7%. We know this will have a significant impact on many businesses so we’re hoping that common sense prevails and a lower rise is announced.

If you’re looking at conducting salary reviews then we would always recommend doing this in conjunction with a performance review. This ensures that you can discuss any areas for improvement, set new goals, and identify training and development opportunities.

If you’re unsure about how to prepare for and conduct employee performance appraisals and salary reviews, we can help. Whether it’s knowing how to structure a discussion; having the confidence to address performance issues; or simply developing the right questions to assess employee performance against what matters most for your business, we can support you.

As a business owner it’s important for you to understand how best to measure and discuss key performance measures such as efficiency, and quality and quantity of work so that you can really understand how the business is performing. It’s also critical that staff feel heard, and have an opportunity to reflect on their performance and provide feedback about the business. We can coach you through how to have these discussions to ensure you and your employees are getting the maximum value out of the process. Properly facilitated performance reviews improve transparency and communication and increase employee productivity, which in turn boosts business growth.

Revitalise Performance Discussions with EDGE Conversations

Do you want to reinvigorate your existing performance discussions or  implement a  new, simple and effective solution to manage staff development and evaluation?

In our January Newsletter we introduced you to our exciting new performance management solution: EDGE Conversations.

We have been busily developing the platform for delivery to the market in  the second half of this year and can’t wait to share it with you. EDGE is a cost effective, easy to use, performance management tool that allows you to focus on having genuine discussions with your staff. EDGE is designed to:

  • Simplify the performance review process;
  • Minimise the time and stress involved in completing reviews; and
  • Maximise the outcomes through clear goals, and improved engagement and communication.

We know that traditionally employers and employees have held some fairly consistent gripes about review discussions. They are difficult to complete, time consuming and sometimes it’s challenging to know what to say or how to manage the conversation. With EDGE Conversations, we take care of the hard stuff!

We have developed the system around structured areas of focus; and through years of discussions and evaluations, have designed targeted (customisable) questions that direct your discussions, and really focus on key issues. We know from our research that a monthly 10-15 minute face-to-face conversation helps to build rapport, engagement and action.  And the EDGE Conversation platform facilitates the entire process via:

  • Web-based, easy to navigate and use functions that are tailored to your business
  • Admin dashboard to easily review individuals, teams or whole of business
  • Customisable, individual Goal and Task Tracking and Action Items
  • Pre-populated staff information to cut down on set up time
  • Automated reminders and notifications to prompt action and keep you on track
  • Comparative reporting available to identify and understand trends
  • Affordable pricing based on usage
  • Ongoing support

We are in the process of completing our platform testing. If this is something you are interested in knowing more about, please get in contact.