Paulette - Employment Relations Expert, Author at Fresh HR Insights Human Resource Experts |Gold Coast | South East Queensland | Brisbane
CASUAL UPDATES – March 2021

CASUAL UPDATES – March 2021

CASUAL UPDATES 

March 2021 – What you need to know

Entitlement for casuals to convert to permanent employment after 12-months of employment.

Small business (this is businesses with less than 15 employees)

  • no obligation to offer casual conversion.
  • obligation to consider any requests for casual conversion.

 Business with more than 15 employees

  • Transitional period of 6 months (ending 26 September 2021)
  • Requirement to assess existing casual workforce before 27th September 2021 and where it is appropriate to do so offer casual conversion.

 

 New Definition of a casual

 15A – Meaning of a casual

  • A person is a casual employee of an employer if;
    1. An offer of employment made by the employer to the person is made on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work for the person; and
    2. The person accepts the offer on that basis; and
    3. The person is an employee as a result of that acceptance.
  • For the purpose of subsection (1), in determining whether, at the time the offer is made, the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work for the person, regards must be had only to the following consideration.
    1. Whether the employer can elect to offer work and whether the person can elect to accept or reject the work.
    2. Whether the person will work as required according to the needs of the employer.
    3. Whether the employment is described as casual employment
    4. Whether the person will be entitled to a casual loading or a specific rate of pay for casual employees under the terms of the offer or a fair work instrument.
  • To avoid doubt, a regular pattern of hours does not of itself indicate a firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work.
  • To avoid doubt, the question of whether a person is a casual employee of an employer is to be assessed on the basis of the offer of employment and the acceptance of that offer, not on the basis of any subsequent conduct of either party.
  • A person who commences employment as a result of acceptance of an offer of employment in accordance with subsection (1) remains a casual employee of the employer until.
    1. The employee’s employment is converted to full-time or part-time under division 4A of part 2-2; or
    2. The employee accepts an alternative offer of employment (other than as a casual employee) by the employer and commences work on that basis.

 

Important Considerations
  • Newly engaged casual need to have contracts that reflect the new definition.
  • New definition applied from the time employment commences. Existing casual employers or casuals cannot simply bring them in line with the new definition by providing a new contract. They need to follow the process.
  • Recommended so that employers can take advantage of the off-set rule to provide all existing and new casual employees with new contracts.

 

Double-Dipping
  • Where an employee is engaged as a casual, but it is later determined that they are in reality a perm employee an employer will be able to off-set any causal loading paid to the employees against any permanent entitlements that arise (e.g., Annual Leave etc)
  • In order to have the benefit of this offset arrangement, the following requirements must be followed.
    • The employment must be described and identified as casual employment.
    • The casual loading paid must have had components that can be identified as being paid to the employee instead of one or more perm employee entitlements.

           

Employment contracts for casuals should contain the following.
  •  Employment type – casual
  • Work will be offered on an as and when needed basis.
  • Employee may accept or decline work offered by the employer.
  • Casual rates of pay and entitlements are in satisfaction of Award/EA rates including casual loading.
  • Casual loading is expressed as a separately identifiable amount, paid in compensation for the employee not having at least one of more of the following entitlement;
    • Paid annual leave;
    • Paid personal/ carers leave;
    • Paid compassionate leave;
    • Payment for absence on a public holiday;
    • Payment in lieu of notice of termination; or
    • Redundancy pay.

 

What you need to do
  • Non-small business;
    • Need to assess and notify all existing casuals before 27th September 2021.
    • Going forward, need to offer conversion after 12-months service – make a note of when this is coming up.
  • Small business
    • Need to respond to conversion requests as they arise.

Make sure offers of employment reflect the new arrangement and that this is reflected in the wording of contracts.

If you need help or support in your casual employment arrangements then please book in a 30-minute FREE discovery session with our team using the below button.

schedule an appt - CASUAL UPDATES – March 2021

Workplace disciplinary procedure – updated blog

Workplace disciplinary procedure – updated blog

What Is the Definition of a Disciplinary Action?

Disciplinary action is a reprimand or corrective action in response to employee misconduct, rule violation, or poor performance. Depending on the severity of the case, a disciplinary action can take different forms, including:

  • A verbal warning
  • A written warning
  • A poor performance review or evaluation
  • A performance improvement plan
  •  A reduction in rank or pay
  • Termination

Employers are sometimes confronted with having to discipline employees ‚ possibly leading to dismissal ‚ over a range of matters. What is regarded as reasonable criteria for a workplace disciplinary procedure? This question was sent to Workplace Info’s editorial team in 2013.

QUESTION: We are currently reviewing our company policies and procedures. Our counselling/disciplinary procedure currently refers to an employee receiving a verbal warning initially, then three written warnings, then possible dismissal. While the Fair Work Act 2009 identifies factors that Fair Work Australia (FWA) takes into account when determining the harshness, etc, of a dismissal, it makes no mention of an appropriate disciplinary procedure.

Because our company employs more than 100 employees, we are not subject to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code. Is there a counselling/disciplinary process that could be regarded as ‚ ‘fair’ when defending an unfair dismissal application before FWA?

ANSWER: The Fair Work Act (s387) provides the criteria for considering harshness, etc, which FWA must take into account when determining an unfair dismissal application. These criteria are:

  • whether there was a valid reason for the termination related to the employee’s capacity or conduct
  • whether the employee was notified of that reason
  • any unreasonable refusal by the employer to allow the employee to have a support person present to assist at any discussions relating to dismissal
  • if the termination related to unsatisfactory performance by the employee, whether the employee had been warned about that unsatisfactory behaviour before termination (disciplinary procedure)
  • the degree to which the size of the employer’s business would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the termination
  • the degree to which the absence of dedicated HR personnel would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the termination
  • any other matters that FWA considers relevant. Reasonable . . .

The company’s current disciplinary procedure would appear adequate on the issue of ‚ ≤procedural fairness’, although an employee must be given a reasonable chance to rectifying the problem before a subsequent warning is issued, which may involve counselling the employee or providing additional training.

Warnings While a warning plays a critical role in the context of the fairness, or otherwise, of an employee’s dismissal, other important matters may need to be applied in addition to an appropriate warning procedure. The disciplinary procedure is not unbreakable in that certain types of misconduct could alter the procedure by issuing (say) a final written warning to the employee. However, in the normal course of events, failure to warn an employee that their conduct or behaviour may lead to dismissal would be considered a major omission by FWA.

There are certain instances that should always result in disciplinary action because of the egregious nature of the misconduct. These include:

  • Threats or acts of violence, especially if against employees or customers
  • Sexual harassment or assault, especially in the workplace
  • Fraud, including unauthorized use and misappropriation of funds
  • Theft
  • Discrimination

It is always recommended that an investigation is carried out prior to any action being taken. A workplace investigation is a process of fact-finding. An investigation should commence as soon as possible after you become aware of a serious conflict or allegation of misconduct in your workplace. Why? because ultimately, engaging in timely and effective workplace investigations will save your business time and money. Workplace investigations may be subject to challenge. It is therefore important that you establish a process for investigating conflicts and allegations that is rigorous and procedurally fair.

Need more help with either a workplace investigation or alternatively a disciplianry process? Fresh HR Insights can assist you with your specific people management issues and problems. Contact us today to book yourself in on 0452471960 or paulette@freshhrinsights.com.au

Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS)

Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS)

The Fair Work Act 2009 was amended on 26 March 2021 to make changes to workplace rights and obligations for casual employees and these changes apply from 27 March 2021.

The amendment includes a new definition of a casual employee.

An employer (except a small business employer with less than 15 employees) has to offer their casual employee the option to convert to full-time or part-time (permanent) when the employee has worked for them for 12 months, has worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 of those 12 months on an ongoing basis and could continue working those hours as a permanent employee without significant changes.

There’s now a new proactive obligation on employers, they have an obligation to offer conversion rather than the previous situation of employees making the request.

The obligation to offer casual conversion doesn’t apply to small business employers with less than 15 employees.

There’s also a new Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS), it’s similar to the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS) and it needs to be given to every new casual employee before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job. This is in addition to providing the FWIS.

Click HERE for the CEIS below

Termination – No opportunity to respond – unfair dismissal  (from 2012)

Termination – No opportunity to respond – unfair dismissal (from 2012)

Recently we have written an article – Termination and Making it less stressful for Everyone. We gave some tips and advice on how to handle terminations which let’s face it no one ever said that they actually like doing them. We often hear from employers “its impossible to terminate employees” which we get when you see time and time again case law (like the below) pops up in the media. This does not show the true extent of unfair dismissal claims however as many are settled at conciliation and never make it to public knowledge. 

If a termination procedure is not managed appropriately and carefully, employers can be subject to numerous post-termination claims, including unfair dismissal, adverse action, discrimination and harassment, workers’ compensation and breach of contract – among others. Even if the termination is by mutual agreement or the employee resigns, the employer should ensure they have proper termination procedures in place so as to best protect the employer’s goodwill and property. 

Below are some key areas to watch out for when you are looking to terminate an employee – you can also get some guidance from our Termination Checklist which you can find as a FREE resource HERE 

      1. Ensure that you have workplace policies and procedures in place including code of conduct, performance management, disciplinary, and termination;
      2. Ensure that the expectations are clear to all employees and where someone is not meeting those expectations have a meeting to set them out – ensure you document this process and follow up in writing with the employee the expectations, support to be provided, and timelines to improve;
      3. If the employee is not improving despite support and guidelines being clear you can start the formal process;
      4. When you invite to a meeting make it clear that it is a formal process and ensure that a support person is allowed. You would also give a reasonable time frame of notice for the meeting;
      5. In your communications make sure you include consequences of the conduct or performance is not improved – such as further disciplinary action leading up to and including termination of employment
      6. If a serious conduct issue comes to light, ensure the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to respond prior to any final decision being made;
      7. Ensure overall that the employee is generally given ‘a fair go all round’.

If you need support then you can book a discovery call in with our team by using the button below

schedule an appt - Termination - No opportunity to respond - unfair dismissal  (from 2012)

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No opportunity to respond ‚ unfair dismissal

The dismissal of an employee for poor work performance has been deemed to be unfair. The poor performance had only been one of the reasons for the dismissal ‚ the other being unacceptable behaviour towards colleagues and superiors ‚ and the employee had not been given an opportunity to respond to either of the reasons.

[Full text of this case: B v SPI PowerNet Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 5962 (25 July 2012)]

Unacceptable behaviour due to domestic stress

A procurement coordinator employed by an electricity provider was short-tempered at work and received a written warning on 25 March 2010 because of his behaviour. He was under serious stress because his former wife would not give him access to his young son (who had just started walking) and because he had been involved in a car accident and the person liable for damage to his car was refusing to pay.

In October 2010, the employee also had run-ins with some of his superiors because he thought they were breaching the company’s purchasing policy and exposed it to monetary losses. He then received a final warning in January 2011. In June 2011, he requested to work part-time until early 2012 so that he could care for his son two days a week, but the employer did not respond to his request.

The employee went on leave and returned on 12 September 2011. He was put under pressure because the employer had introduced new software and gave him only half an hour’s training on the new system. Another employee felt frustrated by the new system too, even though she had been given two hours of training.

On 7 October 2011, the employee was told there were concerns about his performance and behaviour and he was given a performance improvement plan. Over three weeks, weekly meetings were held to assess his performance against the plan. At the third meeting, on 28 October 2011, his behaviour and conduct were raised but issues relating to work performance were not. He was dismissed after the meeting, and the reason given was that his work performance had not improved sufficiently.

The employee applied to Fair Work Australia for an unfair dismissal remedy according to s394 of the Fair Work Act 2009, claiming the termination of his employment had been harsh, unjust or unreasonable. A conciliation conference on 29 December 2011 was not successful.

Evidence before Fair Work Australia

Before Fair Work Australia (Commissioner Cribb), the employer claimed a number of formal and informal conversations had been held with the employee about his conduct. He had frequently absented himself from work without permission and had raised his voice in uncontrolled and aggressive outbursts towards his colleagues and manager at work. He had not completed the majority of the tasks set for him, and the quality of his completed work had been poor.

The employee claimed his employer had set him up to fail after he returned from leave. It had changed his job, provided inadequate training in the new system, and made it difficult for him to convert to part-time in order to care for his child. He also alleged that the performance management process had been a sham ‚ a process set up in order to manage him out of his job. The performance plan had been unachievable because it had required him to complete not only his regular weekly work but also a backlog of eight months of work that had not been done while he had been on leave.

Poor work performance

During the three-week performance improvement review period, the employee had worked three days a week and had been on sick leave for two and a half days; so, instead of assessing his performance over three weeks, it had been assessed on only 6.5 days of work.

The tribunal accepted that at the final meeting on 28 October 2011 the employee had not been told where he had not met the performance plan and had not been given an opportunity to speak about the tasks he had completed. Although the behavioural concerns had not been mentioned in the dismissal letter, it was clear that they had also been part of the reason for the dismissal.

The tribunal found that the employer had not established that there had been a valid reason for the employee’s dismissal based on his work performance.

Unacceptable behaviour

The employee’s behaviour at work, with uncontrolled and aggressive outbursts, had undoubtedly been unacceptable. In his witness statement, he said that he had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety already some 21 years previously and that it had been successfully controlled then. His employer, however, had not been aware of his history of depression, but at the same time, it had not enquired either whether his inappropriate behaviour could be related to a medical condition.

The tribunal found that on the basis of his unacceptable behaviour there had been a valid reason for the employee’s dismissal.

Conclusions – compensation awarded

As the employee had not been notified of one of the two reasons for his dismissal, he had not been given the opportunity to respond to that reason. Even in relation to the work performance reason, his performance during the final week had not been discussed at the meeting on 28 October 2009, so it could be argued that he had not been given the opportunity to respond to that either. The tribunal concluded that the dismissal had been harsh, unjust, or unreasonable.

The tribunal was satisfied that reinstatement was inappropriate as a remedy. In calculating compensation, it took into account the employee’s 22 years of service and his salary at the time of the dismissal. It determined that he was entitled to $19,939.28 in compensation. Up until 3 February 2012, he had not been able to undertake alternative work, and after that, he had been able to work two days a week. Hence, a discount of 15% was deemed to be appropriate, leaving the compensation as $16,948.38. However, the figure could not be finalised until the tribunal had information of any other possible payments the employee had received since 3 February 2012.

B v SPI PowerNet Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 5962 (25 July 2012)

Source: http://www.workplaceinfo.com.au (06/09/2012)

Review of Post – Early intervention critical in addressing bullying

Review of Post – Early intervention critical in addressing bullying

Back in September 2012, we wrote the below article. 8 years on what has changed. Not much in reality other than the voice against workplace bully and harassment has only got stronger and the stand against the treatment of women louder. The state of bullying at work in 2021 is at a point where 79% of working professionals have experienced or witnessed bullying at work. Of those that become a bully 52% are co-workers, 33% direct managers, 8% external managers ad 6% other company employees.  

When we look at what makes us bullying in the workplace the most common types are

  • Being picked  on or getting regularly undermined (women 66% vs men 55%)  – 60%
  • Becoming a victim of malicious rumours  – 30%
  • Having someone interfere with your work – 29%
  • Receiving aggressive texts, emails, or phone calls – 23%
  • Getting your work sabotaged – 12% 

It turns out—49% of employees don’t report workplace bullying and prefer to keep it under wraps. The remaining 51% of workers report getting bullied to:

  • Their own boss – 24%
  • Senior manager – 20%
  • HR – 16%
  • Lawyer – 1%

Interestingly, more experienced employees that have been in the workforce for 6–10 years are more willing to come forward and report bullying than their younger colleagues with only 1–2 years of professional experience (59% vs. 46%).  Similarly, working professionals with some university experience (but without a degree) prefer to keep things a secret from others, unlike those with a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree (37% vs. 52%)

But what can we do about Bullying

Workplace Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination not only lead to psychological harm to employees but can significantly affect a companies reputation. A failure to understand and manage these issues can result in liability for employers and employees involved in a breach.

Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

It is a risk to health and safety because it may affect the mental and physical health of workers. Taking steps to prevent it from occurring and responding quickly if it does is the best way to deal with workplace bullying.

Bullying can take different forms including psychological, physical or even indirect—for example deliberately excluding someone from work-related activities. It can be obvious and it can be subtle, which means it’s not always easy to spot.

Some examples of workplace bullying include:

  • abusive or offensive language or comments
  • aggressive and intimidating behaviour
  • belittling or humiliating comments
  • practical jokes or initiation
  • unjustified criticism or complaints.

According to Safe Work Australia Managing the risk of workplace bullying involves the following

Organisations can minimise the risk of workplace bullying by taking a proactive approach to identify early, any unreasonable behaviour and situations likely to increase the risk of workplace bullying occurring.

Organisations should implement control measures to manage these risks, and monitor and review the effectiveness of these measures. This could include activities such as:

  • Regularly consulting with workers and health and safety representatives to find out if bullying is occurring or if there are factors likely to increase the risk of workplace bullying.
  • Setting the standard of workplace behaviour, for example through a code of conduct or workplace bullying policy.
  • Designing safe systems of work by clearly defining jobs and providing workers with the resources, information and training they need to carry out their work safely.
  • Implementing workplace bullying reporting and response procedures.
  • Developing productive and respectful workplace relationships through good management practices and effective communication.
  • Providing information and training on workplace bullying policies and procedures, available support and assistance, and how to prevent and respond to workplace bullying.
  • Prioritising measures that foster and protect the psychological health of employees.

If you as a business owner or Manager need help when it comes to your workplace book in a virtual appointment with us today by clicking on the link below. Bullying in the workplace will only stop if we all take a stand and say NO MORE.

schedule an appt - Review of Post - Early intervention critical in addressing bullying

 

 

 

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Post from 10th September 2012

Early intervention critical in addressing bullying: lawyer

Bullying in the workplace – Despite its ‚ ‘symbolic importance’, Brodie’s Law is a deeply flawed response to workplace bullying, according to prominent employment and industrial lawyer who also says the issue should not be confined to the‚ ‘realms of WHS’.

In Sept 2012, Josh Bornstein, principal for Maurice Blackburn Lawyers told a legal forum in Melbourne that a new policy and legislative approach to workplace bullying is‚ ‘overdue’ because the current system does little to afford victims with effective options for relief.

‘One of the keys to sensible legislative and policy reform on workplace bullying is to remove it from its current legal and cultural designation as an occupational health and safety issue,’ he said. Confining [workplace bullying] to the realms of WHS hasn’t worked and won’t work.’

Brodie’s Law – symbolic, but flawed

Bornstein explained that Australia has, for too long, accepted a‚ second-rate system wherein the regulation and policing of this issue is entrusted to state-based WHS regulators, which are ‚ simply not resourced sufficiently to manage the volume of workplace bullying complaints [they receive]’.

He also took aim at the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Act 2011, dubbed‚ ‘Brodie’s Law’, which took effect in Victoria in June 2011. The legislation extends existing criminal laws that deal with ‘stalking’ under the Crimes Act 1958 so that they apply to cases of serious bullying. This means that people can face up to ten years jail in ‘extremely serious’ cases of workplace bullying.

Brodie’s Law was prompted by the tragic 2006 suicide of 19-year-old Melbourne waitress Brodie Panlock, who was relentlessly bullied during work hours. Bornstein said that while Brodie’s Law is‚ ‘strong as a symbol’ those affected by workplace bullying need‚ ‘better, earlier protection’. Brodie’s law is not a bullying law but a stalking law, he said.

In reality, it’s useless in about 95 percent of workplace bullying cases. Even if it was amended to change that, it is deeply flawed. To give but one illustration of its flaws, imagine you are an employer and an employee turns up to work on Monday brandishing an intervention order prohibiting another employee from going within 100 metres of him or her.’

Criminalization is not a workable model

Bornstein disagreed with calls for Brodie’s Law to be adopted nationally. He also rejected the use of criminal law to address workplace bullying. It is not a workable model, he said. Criminal law should only intrude into the workplace in extreme situations. Most bullying cases are not criminal matters. The criminalization of workplace bullying is a misguided and ineffective way to address workplace bullying and provide victims with remedies.’

Early intervention, education and hard work . . .

Bornstein said that workplace bullying should be addressed by national workplace laws, which establish a ‚ user-friendly, proactive system; wherein, victims can take a complaint to a tribunal or court ‚ well before the situation has escalated to the point of damage to an employee’s health. Early intervention is often critical. Amending the Fair Work Act to allow this to occur would be a step in the right direction. Furthermore, Bornstein said that an investment in an educational campaign about workplace bullying, together with legal reform, would ‚ ‘reap a huge dividend by saving millions in lost productivity, healthcare costs, and social welfare payments.It would enhance managerial skills and improve the quality of our work environment. Also, Bornstein advised employers that implementing codes of conduct and policies is not the solution.

The era of the workplace policy or code of conduct being the key to managing workplace culture is well and truly over. It is one thing for employers to purchase a vanilla workplace policy off the internet. It’s altogether another to actually manage workplace culture. The gulf between culture and policy can and is often significant. Bridging that gulf requires sustained hard work and strong management.’

Myths debunked

During the forum, Bornstein debunked a number of myths about workplace bullying, including the belief that bullying is ‚ ‘unlawful and actionable’. This assumption is wrong,’ he said. Contrary to popular belief and despite the apparent scale of the phenomenon, there is no statutory scheme in Australia that proscribes bullying. The lack of a law that explicitly deals with workplace bullying is quite anomalous.’

Another myth was that workplace bullying is a ‚ ‘misguided reference to a personality conflict’. It has become fashionable by some to claim that bullying allegations are unfounded and simply the result of a personality conflict or relationship breakdown,’ he said. This is a myth generated principally by jaded OH&S regulators and bottom-feeding consultants seeking to drum up work.’ Mental health damage is often invisible to the eye. Bullying behaviors are often subtle or Machiavellian and an accomplished bully can often construct a defense of plausible deniability.’ He also said the view that there is no definition of workplace bullying is wrong.

Most OH&S regulators use working definitions of bullying that are remarkably similar,’ he said. The Draft Code of Practice released on Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying, Safe Work Australia defined the term to mean repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

Source: http://www.workplaceinfo.com.au

A Look At Casual Employee Engagement, Termination And Definitions

A Look At Casual Employee Engagement, Termination And Definitions

Casual employees are quick workforce solutions for the unseasonal, unexpected or inconsistent workload. Casual is a misleading word because it does not place the ‘casual employees’ casual treatment in a good light.

Some casual employment relationships become ‘regular’ or ‘systematic’. Take note that this may allow entitlements not available to casual employees. Here are some case study overviews.

Casual Versus Regular

A truck driver, employed on a casual basis, could be recategorised as a regular even with varying hours week on week and a three week period away from the employer.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) found that the work commenced at the same time, involved similar functions and occurred for similar reasons as thus was regular and systematic.

A telemarketer was also reclassified as a regular and systematic casual employee. Their weekly hours varied from 20 – 70 hours per week and had different start/end times. The FWC ruled the employee had worked consistently.

Breaks. Including seasonality, between periods of casual employment do not disrupt the regular and systematic nature of the casual employment.

Another case study example is a dump-truck driver employed to work a rotating roster, preset for twelve months, twelve-hour days, every 2nd week and with a flat rate payment. At the time of their ‘casual employee termination”, they disputed their casual employee status, declaring permanent employee status with benefits due.

The Court confirmed that true casual employment is irregular, unpredictable and intermittent.  There is a lack of pattern in the work and no forward commitment.

The employee was recategorised as a permanent employee with accrued benefits due upon termination of the employment.

What Employers Need To Know

It is prudent to examine casual employment arrangements currently in place. Employment must be on an ad hoc basis. Ensure you are aware of any minimum engagement periods for casual employees and any obligations to notify casual employees of conversion-to-full-time rights.

As a casual employee, there is no guarantee of ongoing or regular work and there are no minimum or maximum hours that are guaranteed. Hours worked will be as directed by the employer and may include weekend work. There is no obligation on you to accept the hours as offered. As a casual employee, you are not entitled to paid annual leave or paid personal/carer’s leave. Your unpaid leave entitlements are set out in the National Employment Standards.

Any termination or dismissal has to be valid as ruled by FWC. A written termination letter or explanation must be issued and a Statement of Service. An Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA) with an employee requires a 4 weeks’ notice of termination by either party.

Under most modern awards, a “regular casual employee” can request to convert their employment if they have worked:

  • for a period of 6 or 12 months or more; and
  • a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, which the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee (as applicable), without significant adjustment.

Recent decisions impacting on Casual employment

In WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 the Full Federal Court determined that Mr Rossato had entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and the relevant Enterprise Agreement; These were – being paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave, paid compassionate leave, and payment for public holidays.  This came about when the court made the finding that Mr Rossato was not a casual but a permanent employee.

The essential question asked was – “ if an employee agrees to a contract that labels them a casual but their work is systematic (rostered well in advance for example) and regular (set hours and days) and longer-term (happening for years) are they still a casual?”

In the WorkPac decision, the Federal Court says NO

Conclusion

If a casual employee has become a regular and systematic casual employee, the employee will have to serve a minimum qualifying period before being entitled to file an unfair dismissal claim.

It is, however, advisable to seek H.R. professional advice before proceeding with any terminations.

Contact our experienced, efficient professionals for the management of your casual employees’ engagement and termination.  We can work in-house or remotely within your budget.

Changes in relation to Casual employees – Omnibus Bill

Changes in relation to Casual employees – Omnibus Bill

The much-anticipated changes have been passed by Parliament. Of particular interest to small business owners is the changes in relation to casual employees.

But what are these changes?

  • The introduction to the definition of ‘casual employee’ into the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for the first time. This focuses on the offer and acceptance of the employment relationship rather than the current pattern of work.
  • The National Employment Standards (NES) will also change so that it includes an entitlement for regular and systematic casual employees to request to be moved to full-time or part-time employment.
  • The Court will be allowed to offset any casual loading paid to the employee against any claim for unpaid entitlements (e.g annual leave, personal leave) where an employee was properly characterized as a perm employee.

An exciting change for many small business owners that will be a welcome relief is the power of the Fair work Commission to dismiss frivolous and vexatious claims has been increased.

As a business, we encourage you to take this opportunity to review the way that you staff your business, and those casuals that are regular and systematic seek to start the casual conversion process. Below are out 5 steps to ensure compliance with casual conversion clauses. 

CASUAL CONVERSIONS

ENSURING COMPLIANCE IN 5 STEPS

 Under most modern awards, a “regular casual employee” can request to convert their employment if they have worked:
for a period of 6 or 12 months; and

  • a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, which the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee (as applicable), without significant adjustment.

The casual employee must put their request to convert in writing.

STEP 1 – Provide new and existing award-covered employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause

Ensure you read the award that applies to your employees carefully. Some awards contain more onerous requirements on employers to notify casual employees of their right to request casual conversion at 6 or 12 months of ‘regular and systematic’ casual employment. This means you will need to be keeping a close eye on any casual employees that are reaching these milestones.

Once you have checked your award you can notify your employees regarding the casual conversion clause. You can use our Notification of Casual Conversion Clause. Also copy the applicable section from the Award and staple to the back of the letter.

You will need to provide the clause within 6 to 12 months of their employment commencing.

Shortly after the Notification of Casual Conversion Clause you will send a follow up letter that sets out the nature of a casual and that of a perm employee as well as the rates of pay for both. Also included is the Casual Conversion Election Form where the employees can advise if they wish to convert.

Employees have 4-weeks to consider if they would like their employment converted to permanent employment or remain as a casual.

 STEP 2: Respond to any casual conversion requests

Respond to any requests to convert to permanent in writing within 21 days to accept or reject the employee’s request for conversion. You can only reject a request convert to permanent in accordance with the terms of the relevant award. Sometimes an award will include the ‘reasonable grounds’ on which you can refuse a request.

 legally responding to requests for casual conversion
Your business must comply with the obligations contained in any casual conversion clause in a modern award, this includes:

  • Providing new and existing casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause;
  • Responding to any request to convert within 21 day’s;
  • If you reject a request, complying with the requirements in the relevant award such as rejecting the request on ‘reasonable grounds’ or ‘not unreasonably refusing’ a request;
  • If you agree to convert a casual to permanent employment, complying with the provisions of any part-time employment clause in the relevant award and providing the employee with set days, hours and patterns of work (and a new contract of employment).

How to legally refuse the request for casual conversion
It is important to note that the new clause does not mean you have to approve all requests. It is best to double check the relevant award but generally, the scenarios where you may refuse on reasonable grounds include but not limited to:

  • The conversion would require a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours of work as a full-time or part-time employee;
  • It is known, or reasonably foreseeable that the employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months or the hours of work which the employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
  • The employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months.

STEP 3: Review your existing workforce

Review the use of casual employment in your business, particularly where the arrangement involves long-term, regular work patterns. We recommend that you consider doing a cost analysis between that of the cost of wages for casual employees compared to that of Perm employees.

The 25% loading is designed to compensate employees for not receiving some of the benefits of perm employees as well as for the insecurity of their employment. You may well find that the bottom-line figure is more favorable to employee permanent employees compared to casual.

  • Ask us about our analysis sheet that we have created for you to easily see over 12-months the cost differences to help you form your decision.
  •  For those employees, consider offering conversion to permanent employment to protect your business ask us about our casual employment contracts/ agreements.

STEP 4: Update your employment contracts

Update your employment contracts and ensure you at least include provisions that make clear that the position of casual

  • has no guaranteed hours of work;
  • will usually work irregular hours;
  • has no sick or annual leave entitlements
  • They are not obligated to always be available; and
  • can have their employment ended without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award, or employment contract.

We have casual employment contracts/ agreements available and highly recommend that if you have not done so in the last 12-24 months updated these then you do so.

 STEP 5: Document and save the casual conversion process

If it isn’t written down, then it didn’t happen”. ALWAYS protect yourself and the business by ensuring that you keep documentation about any changes to workplace relationships. Keep these documents for at least 7-years so that any retrospective claims can be defended with copies of the clear and documented process.

 

The temporary JobKeeper Payment scheme will end on 28 March 2021

The temporary JobKeeper Payment scheme will end on 28 March 2021

Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy said the end of JobKeeper would result in thousands of job losses – but what happens when you need to let some team members go as a way to reduce your overheads.

Can you just say “I’m sorry there is no role for you anymoreWell, it depends, but the answer is not really as this is likely to trigger a redundancy or even unfair dismissal. For blog purpose, we will look at the redundancy.

But what is redundancy?

Redundancy is when an employer reduces their workforce because a job or jobs are no longer needed.

Common reasons for redundancy

There are lots of reasons why you might be made redundant, and they usually aren’t a reflection on your ability to do the job…

  • New technology has made your job unnecessary.
  • The job you were hired to do no longer exists.
  • Your employer needs to cut costs by reducing staff numbers.
  • The business is closing down or moving.
  • The business has been bought by another company.

When an employee’s job is made redundant their employer has to give them redundancy pay, also known as severance pay.

Redundancy pay doesn’t need to be paid in some circumstances.

  • employees whose period of continuous service with the employer is less than 12 months.
  • employees employed for:
    • a stated period of time
    • an identified task or project
    • a particular season
  • employees terminated because of serious misconduct.
  • casual employees
  • trainees engaged only for the length of the training agreement.
  • apprentices
  • employees terminated because of ordinary and customary turnover of labour.

For small Business owners you may find some relief that a small business is one that employs fewer than 15 employees. Some small businesses don’t have to pay redundancy pay when making an employee redundant.

But you have to do it the right way and it needs to be a genuine redundancy.

genuine redundancy is when:

  • the person’s job doesn’t need to be done by anyone.
  • the employer followed any consultation requirements in the award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement.

It won’t be a genuine redundancy if.

  • still needs the employee’s job to be done by someone.
  • could have reasonably, in the circumstances, given the employee another job within the employer’s business (or associated entity)
  • has not followed consultation requirements as provided by the relevant Modern Award or enterprise or other registered agreement (if applicable)

Let’s focus on the consultation 

You are generally required to consult with the employee before ending their employment. This means that you must notify the employees of the proposed change to their employment, invite them to a meeting to further discuss the matter and take any suggestions the employee might offer to keep their job into consideration before making a final decision.

As part of the consultation process you must offer the employee any vacant job within the business or an associated entity that the employee can reasonably do.

You should also consider jobs that pay less or that are not as senior, as the employee may want to take them for a number of reasons.

If you are a manager or owner, it is highly encouraged that you arm yourself with the knowledge and get to need to know about the procedures of disciplinaries and the associated risks along the way.  Since 2012 we have been creating, writing and updating our support manuals which are now available to you.

Our manual – Effective and risk free disciplinaries, A guide for Manager and Business owners  – consists of all this information you need. Managing employees can be complex, but a claim-free and happy workplace with motivated, loyal, and productive employees, is possible through a few simple steps and a fair and transparent process, free from discrimination, or harsh, unjust or unfair treatment.

This disciplinary manual will guide you through the disciplinary process step by step and provide you with the templates, tips and advice. However, it is not a replacement for expert advice.

Use this manual to help you understand.

  • what makes a dismissal unlawful;
  • when and how you can lawfully dismiss and employee;
  • how your policies and procedures can help you to manage dismissal in your workplace;
  • the alternatives to dismissal; and
  • your notice and termination pay requirements.

Grab our manual now and be one step aheadit’s the crazy price of $97.  If you need advice and extra support along the way the team at Fresh HR Insights is just a call away

Reasons for having written policies

Reasons for having written policies

Reasons for having written policies

Number of reasons

There are a number of good reasons for having written workplace policies in place. Not the least of these is the fact that workplace policies are useful documents to rely on when a legal dispute arises between an employer and an employee. In many cases, where the employer can point to a policy to show that the employee ought to have known what his or her responsibilities were in relation to the disputed matter, the employer is likely to be in a much stronger position before a court or tribunal. Well-written company policies aim to help businesses in many ways.  Policies demonstrate that the organisation is being operated in an efficient and businesslike manner, raise stability and ensure consistency in the decision-making and operational procedures.

Other reasons for putting policies in place are explained below.

Legislative requirements

Some employment related laws include a requirement that a policy be in place and that the policy fulfils certain specifications. For example, workplace health and safety laws require employers to put in place a rehabilitation policy outlining the responsibilities of the employer. Where no policy is in place this will constitute an offence under the legislation. In other areas of the law, such as equal opportunity, there is no specific requirement in the legislation that policies be put in place. However, where an employer can point to a policy, that will go some way towards substantiating the employer’s compliance with the law should the matter arise before a court or tribunal. To this end, many organisations have policies on EEO, workplace harassment and grievance handling procedures.

Policies that are required by the law, either directly or indirectly, serve the function of stating in the least what the minimum legal rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employees are. This gives employees a clear indication of what is expected of them and what they can expect from their employer. Some employers choose to have policies that set a standard higher than that required under the law.

Codes of conduct

Many companies introduce policies relating to matters that are not regulated by law but are based on standards set by the employer in an effort to ensure a high standard of behaviour in the workplace. Such policies usually deal with employees’ behaviour at work, including the way employees relate to each other, as well as their responsibilities towards the employer and to company property. Setting policies in these areas again indicates to employees the standard of behaviour that is expected of them at work and what the consequences of a breach will be.

Policies can deal with such matters as: fighting, language, dress standards, alcohol, drugs, smoking, confidentiality, other employment, maintaining the workplace, borrowing of company property, theft, and statements to media.

Examples we have in our code of conduct are;

  • Be honest and fair in dealings with customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers, management and the general public.
  • Display the appropriate image of professionalism at your workplace. Wear the required uniform, safety equipment or work clothes, and if a workplace participant wears their own clothes, ensure their appearance is neat and tidy.
  • Treat customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers, company management and the general public in a non-discriminatory manner with proper regard for their rights and dignity. In this regard, discrimination, victimisation or harassment based on a person’s race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, union membership or non-membership, mental or physical disability, or any other classification protected by law will not be tolerated.
  • Promptly report any violations of law, ethical principles, policies and this Code.
  • Maintain punctuality. If a workplace participant is late or cannot report for work, please telephone and let the supervisor know as soon as possible.
  • Do not use work time for private gain. If a workplace participant is required to leave the work premises for personal reasons, they should advise their Manager well in advance.
  • Maintain and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out duties and responsibilities.

 

Conditions of employment

There is a whole range of conditions of employment that may not be prescribed by law but which are agreed to by the employer and the employee at the commencement of the employment contract. Some companies issue policies on such matters so that employees are clear on what their rights and responsibilities are. Conditions of employment that may fall within this category include: attendance, absenteeism, punctuality, transfer, training, promotion, probation, performance review, discipline, abandonment of employment, exit interviews, notice, and termination.

Employee entitlements

It is useful to develop policies on employee entitlements that are prescribed by award or legislation so that employees and human resources staff are easily able to ascertain what the entitlements are. Policies included within this category will include annual leave, long service leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, carer’s leave, jury leave, special leave, overtime, shift work etc. This also now includes Family and Domestic violence leave.

Employee benefits

Some companies provide a whole range of benefits that employees enjoy as part of their job. These are often not prescribed by legislation or award but are provided by the employer for the benefit of employees – sometimes as incentives aimed at increasing productivity. Other benefits are provided with the idea of increasing employee morale. These can relate to such things as employee health, or assisting employees to balance work and family responsibilities. It is important to clarify how such benefits are awarded to employees in a company policy in order to ensure that all employees know of their availability, they are distributed fairly, and that any conditions applying are understood.

Employee benefits that fall into this category and which should be included in policies include company cars, mobile phones, employee assistance programs, salary packaging, career breaks, and study assistance.

Running a company without a rulebook is like going on a voyage without a sail.  Don’t gamble with your policies, don’t gamble with your goals. Contact us today to find out some more

You can also grab our checklist –

  • Why do you need to have Policies and Procedures
  • Communicating Policies
  • What are the benefits to my business
  • What is included in an employee handbook policy
  • What are the essentials (Must-Have) Policies that a company needs
  • How to Implement workplace policies effectively

Click HERE

 

 

HR Support – Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Coffs Harbour and places inbetween

HR Support – Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Coffs Harbour and places inbetween

Fresh HR Insights is going mobile and are now servicing businesses with their HR support requirements not only virtually but also now within a 300km radius of the Gold Coast – this includes right up to Bundaberg, out to Toowoomba, and down to Coffs Harbor.

We have always had the intention to move what we do on the road and to travel as we work and with the pending arrival of our mobile office, we will now be able to do that. This means that businesses in the more remote locations can have access to professional and experienced HR support.

If you are a business within these areas or know of a business within this area, then contact us today by using our 30-minute free online consultation. Book HERE

Areas Covered Include (but not limited to) – Bundaberg, Childers, Woowoonga, Maryborough, Gympie, Cooroy, Noosa Heads, Beerwah, Burpengary, Caboolture, Deception Bay, North Lakes, Sandgate, Chermside, Mount Gravatt, Springfield, Amberley, Ipswich, Gatton, Toowoomba, Pittsworth, Warwick, Stanthorpe, Glen Innes, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Yamba, Evans Heads, Woodburn, Ballina, Lennox Heads, Bangalow, Casino, Lismore, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, Tweed, Tweed Heads and of course our Hometown the Gold Coast.

 

5 Team Motivation Ideas – Inspire and Build Confidence in Your Teams

5 Team Motivation Ideas – Inspire and Build Confidence in Your Teams

Work can be boring sometimes. As a leader, why not make the mundane, routine work activities more fun? Using these 5 easy-to-implement team motivation ideas, you can make your team feel more inspired, contribute heartily and have fun while working!

How to Motivate Your Team At Workplace?

The workplace is not just a place where people work.

It comprises many diverse human beings with a unique set of skills, identities, and experiences. When you put them together in a team, you need to make an effort to bring out the best in them. Being a leader, you can motivate them to collaborate to generate newer work styles,  think more creatively, and innovate better than what a single individual ever could. An effective manager can bring out the best in them and help deliver successful team and organizational outcomes.

Wondering how to make it possible? Let me show you how to boost confidence and inspire your teams using these simple 5 team motivation ideas.

1.      Quit being diplomatic

Diplomacy is an art. But having it is not essential. Let your team members speak in a simple and straightforward manner and encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings. If they overthink about what others think or feel, their real views and ideas may not emerge. Create an open culture where they can say their true thoughts without being defensive about it, and you’ll soon see fresher and more innovative ideas emerge!

2.       Prioritize your people

Prioritizing your people is not just a tagline. Make it a reality by sticking with them through thick and thin. As a business owner, your employees are your first ever customers. They brought in to your vision, which is why they are with you today. Pay it back by defending and motivating each individual, and taking care of them like a close family. Have an employees first policy. (instead of customer first!)

3.      Let them be free

Giving responsibility when you assign a job task gives them the freedom to do their roles. Quit micro-managing and let them grow on their own. Once they get the autonomy along with their job roles, they’ll feel more resourceful, creative, and inspired!

4.      Allow them to make mistakes

Yes, you read that right! As a manager, let your team members fail in a safe environment. If they fear that they’ll fail at something, you’ll notice their creativity, innovativeness dying down. When this fear of failure goes away, creative ideas begin to emerge, and productivity inches up.

5.      Make it fun

Your team is full of humans, not robots. No one can even be mildly creative if they work in a monotonous or boring way. Add in a fun element so that your team wants to come to work. Ask them their definitions of fun and make it happen! Whether it is having a fun day out once a month or a game day at work, try to create a work culture that’s fun and inviting! Who wouldn’t want to go to work if they have such exciting events to look forward to each week or month!

Set up your team for success

Spend some time with your teams and ask them their idea of fun and then do it. Just by spending a couple of hours in planning and execution, you’ll quickly see how your team has fun, works together, and stays inspired together.

A strong team will then look after each other, lean on one another, and synergize their ideas into one harmonious group that’ll take your team to newer heights and be inspired every day.

 

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas to Build Love in Your Teams!

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas to Build Love in Your Teams!

Want to know a powerful way to reduce your employee turnover and gain a strong competitive edge over your competitors in 2021?

As an entrepreneur, you know that appreciating a job well done is desirable. But did you know that more than 50% of employees leave an organization if they are not tangibly recognized for their efforts on the job? Multiple studies confirm that employees would go above and beyond in their job roles if they feel meaningfully recognized for their contributions.

In this blog, we have 7 creative employee recognition ideas you can put to work right away to build love in your teams! When you make a simple employee appreciation plan and implement it consistently, you can see stronger team bonding coupled with better organizational outcomes.

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas for Your Workplace

Make a recognition calendar

When you make an employee appreciation plan, add it to your yearly calendar. Mark the employee recognition activities to be done month-wise and assign them to a responsible team member. Pick a handful that look easy and are simple to implement. Adding it to your calendar ensures that you will assign time and importance to it.

Mark important employee days

Make it a point to celebrate your employees’ birthdays, even if you do it virtually (with the pandemic raging!) Give them a day off or order a special lunch for the team. Even a gift card from a global retailer would be a thoughtful employee appreciation idea that shows the person some love! Such a personal touch on their special day will also make it more memorable for them.

Get the team appreciation flowing

When cheers come from peers, it feels better and strongly boost the team bonding. Ask all co-workers to choose a good or positive action done by any employee (except themselves) and give a team shout out to that person. When you do this activity monthly, it becomes embedded in the employee and team psyche, automatically building love and recognition for employees.

Don’t fly blind

Once you start the employee appreciation plan implementation, ask your employees to take a quick 2-minute survey. Ask them what activity/action would they like for appreciation (with and without a budget). You may be surprised at what makes them tick and ensure that you align rewards with their expectations.

Have surprise treats

Everyone likes treats! Especially if they are not expecting one and it turns out a complete surprise for them! Order a pizza lunch for the team on a Friday just to treat them. Take the team out to a popular eatery if they just delivered a big client project successfully. Want to treat your remote team virtually? Ship them some company swag or a box of curated treats and snacks that they’ll freak out on!

Showcase your team

Appreciations work wonders if it’s done publicly. Showcase your team on your company website by adding their photographs and bios (if they are comfortable with that, of course). Public appreciation can work remarkably well and help them feel valued and loved in the team.

Get Ready to Build Recognition & Love in Your Teams

With these simple and actionable creative employee recognition ideas, you’ll be on your way to creating an employee appreciation plan that helps develop love and recognition in your team.

Want to add in a new employee recognition tip? We would love to know your ideas! Share your suggestions and feedback in the comments section below.

Related Tag: Performance Improvement Plans

 

 

Your Business Have An Effective, Risk-Free, Ethical Termination Procedure?

If you are reading this you might be about to start a disciplinary-termination procedure. No-one enjoys this process, but it is vital that it is done sensitively and legally.

Senior executives list this as one of their top three most anxious situations according to the Wall Street Journal so it is not only the employee who suffers. This feedback from our clients led to us writing a manual, Effective and Risk-Free Disciplinaries 2020, to help reduce their stress, ensure processes are ethical and, more importantly, reduce their legal risk. Download it here.

Probationary Periods As Part Of The Process

Above all else, it is vital that any existing company rules are clear and logical rules. Next, there must be an atmosphere of trust between management and employees.

Employees should be consulted on new rules prior to the adoption of them. The consequences of non-compliance must be well-understood by everyone.

If non-compliance occurs, you should have an employee warning system already established which you can then activate.

The first time a warning is needed perhaps it would be more productive to have a gentle reminder as step one followed by a written reprimand for a 2nd transgression which refers to past performance and warnings. For a 3rd transgression, a final warning can be issued which accompanies a probationary period with a set period of time and measurable outcomes for that period of time. This must include a detailed account of the employee’s transgressing performance. It must also be crystal clear to that employee that violating the probation will mean dismissal for them.

All the above-mentioned steps must be executed in a private consultation with the employee as a public debacle could be construed as constructive dismissal. In addition, they must be offered counseling to improve their performance. The warnings must be added to their personnel file.

Myth Buster: There is no longer a requirement of 3 strikes, and you are out. The ‘three warnings‘ rule is one of the most common misconceptions in employment law. It simply does not exist. The reality is there is no general rule that employers must issue three warning before an employee can be dismissed. The level of response needs to be proportionate to the matter at hand.

Less Haste, More Fairness

Evidence of transgressions that has blurred lines can be damaging. In all instances, it is always better, and more ethical, to try to assist or rehabilitate the employee rather than dismiss unless it is impropriety, gross incompetence or theft.

Lack of appropriate support and lack of fair communication are the top reasons behind poor results from an employee.

Performance reviews allow a fair chance to change. Remind the employee of what is expected of them.

Documenting Information

Goals and deadlines must be confirmed in writing, must be signed off, and must be filed in their personnel file.

It is also helpful for you and your team of 2 or 20 to have reviews or efficiency reports every 6 months and definitely after an initial probationary period.

Our Effective and Risk-Free Disciplinaries 2020 manual will give you detailed guidance on how to structure these requirements fairly for your employees. This comprehensive manual is moderately priced at $97.00. Download it now.

Next Steps

In the instance that your efforts to turn the employee’s performance around does not bear fruit, and you have come to the end of the probation warning period, it is time to make a replacement.

This step is best done quickly. Stick to facts. The employee’s manager and the HR manager, or alternative witness if you do not have an HR manager, should be present for better legal protection. Written evidence is the only material acceptable to labor boards and labor courts.

Other Issues to Consider Before Firing

Union employees will have collective bargaining agreements that must also be considered.

If the employee is an officer or director of the corporation, firing that employee does not terminate his or her appointment as an officer or director. Get a resignation or vote recording any such actions in resolutions as required by the corporation commission(s).

Be careful about benefit plans and be aware of their terms in the event of termination. There are penalties for failure to pay vested interest in profit-sharing plans, for example.

Do not allow a dismissed employee to train his replacement. Train the replacement yourself. Inconvenient in the short time, highly beneficial in the long term.

Pay out all funds due to them quickly. Avoid any risk of a messy closure.

After The Dismissal

A dismissed manager can form his own company and attract your major clients and key personnel if they feel the dismissal was unfair.

A poorly handled dismissal, witting or unwitting, can be a disaster for staff morale, PR and legal costs.

It will put you in very good light with the rest of your employees if you let the exiting employee use an office and secretarial or professional help for free to seek other employment.

There is no perfect way to handle it but there are better ways. Our Effective and Risk-Free Disciplinaries 2020 manual [insert hyperlink to product specific page] will give you very valuable guidance on how to handle this stressful and complicated process for a very fair price of $97.00.

Alternatively contact us for our hands-on involvement in setting up the processes for you, to execute a dismal process or to assist an exiting employee find other employment.

[References]: www.entrepreneur.com

FREE GIVEAWAY – Fact Sheet On Disciplinaries

Is Your Booming Business Running Wild Without Human Resource Policies?

Is Your Booming Business Running Wild Without Human Resource Policies?

Does the phrase ‘human resources policies and procedures’ make you groan because you realise your company lacks just that?  Has business been so good that you are chasing logistics, customer care, stock levels, and just don’t have time for these policies and procedures?

These are important as they underpin how human resource issues will be handled. They also tell your employees what your brand’s values are and how you expect them to behave and perform. They also set out the implications of transgressing the policy rules.

Workplace policies include a statement of purpose as well as some guidelines on how to achieve that purpose. They also explain standard operating procedures.

You do not need to have 100’s of policies. For some processes an S.O.P. is sufficient. Our manual on H.R. Procedures and Policies will guide you through the different requirements, simplifying the whole process for you. Download it here.

What Do You Gain From A Workplace Policy?

It will be easier to achieve standard values across the organisation; it will ensure compliance with myriad legislation and will show employees (or investors) that your business is efficient and professional.

Decision making will be more comfortable, and operational procedures will be easier for staff to learn or to step into when someone is off ill.

You will definitely gain legal strength for labour disputes, will avoid lengthy disagreements over miscommunications and give employees confidence in their chosen actions.

Workplace policies will also feed into business planning, performance assessments, accountability parameters and job descriptions.

How To Develop HR Procedures and Policies

Management needs to set sufficient time aside to develop and assess the policies required. Once a final draft is created, you need to involve your employees. This is a helpful step as it often shows up any unintentional policy conflicts or omissions. It also helps the staff gain a more in-depth insight into the company’s mission.

It is important that the wording is precise and doesn’t contain clumsy jargon.

It must simply say:

  • What is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, including measurables? E.g. blood alcohol levels.
  • What does a calendar month mean to the company?
  • What to do when applying for sick leave? E.g. a sick emoji is insufficient.
  • Who does XYZ policy apply to? E.g. full-time employees or part-time contractors.
  • What happens if transgressions occur?
  • What are the company values relating to emails, social media or behaviour at a company event?

The Next Steps

Now that the policies have been drafted and reviewed with staff input, they can be published internally. All employees must have access to them: casual, part-time or salaried employees. If anyone is on leave at the time of publication, they should receive them via the agreed holiday communication channel.

The original policy must be in English but consider translating the guidelines into the appropriate languages for employees whose first language is not English. The original policy must be stated as the lead document with the translated one being a guide.

How To Increase Compliance

You can use training or town hall events to increase staff knowledge of these policies and should have an annual reminder session with informal references to them in staff meetings regularly.

The Launch

The start date of the policies must be known by all employees, whether on leave or at work.

Breaches of policy should be addressed quickly, ethically and legally.  See our blog on disciplinary and termination processes.

After launch set a diarised date to review the policies to make sure they are still aligned to legislative requirements as well as the structure of your business. Big changes should follow the new policies process from scratch.

Which Policies Are Needed?

Here are some examples of workplace policies but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  1. code of conduct
  2. recruitment policy
  3. internet and email policy
  4. mobile phone and personal laptop policy
  5. non-smoking policy
  6. drug and alcohol policy
  7. health and safety policy
  8. anti-discrimination and harassment policy
  9. grievance handling policy
  10. discipline and termination policy
  11. social media including usage of photographs taken at work
  12. training policy

There is no perfect list, but this is a good start. Our H.R. Procedures and Policies manual  will save you lots of time whilst providing solid guidance on how to set these up.

Alternatively, contact Fresh HR Insights for our hands-on involvement in setting up the processes for you or to assist revising existing ones. Our services start from the info only to DIY to the ultimate bespoke packages – something for every business.

Social Media Switch Off

Social Media Switch Off

SOCIAL MEDIA SWITCH OFF

Could an addiction to social media be crippling your personal life?

My friend Alice is hooked on social media. At a recent dinner with some friends, her iPhone rested beside her plate for the entire evening, lighting up and vibrating periodically with a new notification and she would mid-conversation to flick through her feed. Despite being surrounded by conversation, wine and good food, all Alice was interested in that night was her online life, Instagramming photos of every meal as it arrived, checking us all in to the restaurant and liking every comment made on her statuses.

Apart from her terrible table manners, Alice was getting more agitated each time a new notification would pop up and she would then interrupt discussion around the table to explain why it was significant that somebody had commented on a photo she was tagged in, or not commented, or liked‚ something a mutual friend had posted.

Social media has taken over, and is crippling Alice’s personal life.

And it was only a few weeks that Charlotte Dawson was rushed to hospital after a very public online spat with a Twitter bully.

Both Alice and Charlotte would be perfect candidates for a social media switch-off.

This withdrawal from social media is gaining ground with users. Everybody knows somebody who has gone AWOL from an account for a while because they got too busy, too tired or too wired.

Social networking sites and apps have generated a fundamental shift in the way that people communicate, much like email did before that, and the telephone earlier still. And now, with the advent and continuing development of smartphones we are on‚ π and accessible like never before.

I love social media. It’s allowed me to find people I thought had been left behind in yearbooks, connect with a whole new range of people and opportunities and explore and share my likes and dislikes.

When somebody tells me that they’re not on Facebook, I look at them as though they’ve just told me they don’t have electricity switched on yet! How do they communicate with people that they haven’t seen in years and didn’t particularly like to begin with?

But while I’m an avid user of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, I’m not quite ready to hand over my personal life in exchange, I still want that balance.

For all the great aspects of social media, there are drawbacks:.

  • It takes up too much time

It used to be that we made New Year’s resolutions about reducing time in front of the television. Now with the average person spending seven hours, forty five minutes and 49 seconds on Facebook each month, there’s a new bad habit in town.

  • Is the communication meaningful?

Sure we all talk about social media’s unparalleled capacity to increase communication, but oftentimes the engagement isn’t as meaningful or genuine as it would be face-to-face. After all, how much can you really convey with a digital thumbs up?

  • Huge potential for misinterpretation

Although social media users have developed their own language to cope with this (everyone knows that ALL CAPITALS MEAN YOU ARE SHOUTING!!! And most people seem to have picked up that ending a mean remark in lol‚ π means you were just kidding although there are some that use it as a replacement for a full stop), the nature of the medium means that true communication can be difficult, with the ability for things to be misrepresented or taken out of context without the cues that can come with face-to-face communications.

  • Everybody’s life is perfect…on Facebook

Social media provides context for our daily interactions, it’s become a yardstick for how we’re doing in life and many users are in a rush to keep up with the Jones, which can lead to feelings of unfounded inferiority in their follower’s believe the hype.

Still, Psychologists are largely undecided about whether or not the use of social media has a detrimental effect with many claiming that there hasn’t been enough research into the phenomenon. However preliminary studies suggest that adolescents who are frequent users of social media are more at risk of mental and physical health problems.

Common sense suggests though that if like Alice, you can’t look away; or like Charlotte, it drives you to emotional extremes, social media could be taking over your personal life and you could do well to switch off for a while.

Is social media taking over your life? Have a quick look over the symptoms below to diagnose your addiction:

You’re worried you’ll miss something‚ if you switch off ‚ are you crippled by anxiety wondering what’s been going on while you’ve been away from your Twitter feed?

  • You can’t look away even when you’re in a social situation ‚ ¨ like Alice, even though you’re enjoying a nice catch-up with friends, you’re distracted by the activity on your Facebook wall. That said, if you’re watching a movie with friends and can’t remember what you last saw Liam Neeson in, putting out to a poll on Facebook or checking IMDB.com is perfectly reasonable.
  • You find yourself having lost several hours trawling through people’s feeds ‚ ¨
  • it seems like you only just finished dinner and now you look up and it’s almost time to make breakfast!
  • It’s all you can talk about ‚ ¨ if all you have to talk about in the real world are goings on in the digital one, you need to reclaim your life!!!!

By Bianca Stapleton

Lifestyle Balance – 54% of Australian workers are ‘buying themselves time’

Lifestyle Balance – 54% of Australian workers are ‘buying themselves time’

Lifestyle Balance – 54% of Australian workers are ‚ ‘buying themselves time

I first uploaded this article back in 2012 and revisited it this morning on my updating of my historic posts. At the time it was reported that Australian workers’ lifestyle balance is under such pressure that more than one-half (54%) are spending money on services to save time.

But only 3% spend the extra time gained on work. The AMP Lifestyle Monitor, a survey of more than1400 AMP customers back in 2012, found that for those choosing to buy back time, socializing, work, spending time with partners and family, and exercise are the most popular activities undertaken in the time they save.

In researching more on this topic I came across another post that set out the discussion with “Rich people buy time and poor people waste time.” But what did this mean? It wasn’t that the rich have more money-wise but about the mindset differences.  The simple fact as was pointed out and is true in its simplest form is.

The simple fact is that we all have the same 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week.  It’s how we utilize that time that dictates if we will accomplish all of the things we wish we could.

Competing interests

The AMP Lifestyle Monitor showed people have competing interests and are spending money on things like prepared food and household services to free up precious time.

Other key findings included:

  • 41% of people surveyed spend money on prepared foods and restaurant meals to save time, followed by 18% on airfares and taxis and 15% on household services such as cleaning, ironing, and laundry.
  • Only 4% said they spend on childcare.
  • 57% of respondents who spend money to save themselves time said they spent up to $200 per month on services. Only 24% spent more than $300.
  • Respondents spend the time they save on a variety of things ‚ 46% with their partner, 46% with children or family, 37% on work, 35% socialising, and 24% exercising.
  • If they had an extra hour to spend on themselves, 60% of respondents said they would spend it on a leisure activity or hobby, followed by 34% on exercise. Only 3% said they’d spend the extra hour on work.
  • It’s understandable in our busy lives that outsourcing some tasks is necessary to allow us to spend time with our family and friends, or things we enjoy.

Lifestyle leakage

However, it was pointed out that it was possible that respondents are underestimating their lifestyle leakage and the amount they spend on incidentals in the course of the day. This includes things like buying lunches and takeaway coffees, which can really add up.’

We can’t ignore that there are tighter money restrictions now and to keep things in perspective we need to do a budget. This also brings back to the saying about buying time. Watch the expenditure on the same things and reap the rewards with the bigger. 

Here are some tips given

  • Work retrospectively to figure out where you’re spending your money and identify wants versus needs
  • For instance, it’s best to prioritize only one or two things you dislike doing the most, like ironing or cooking, and only outsource these tasks.
  • Buy one fewer restaurant meals a week or make your daily lunch and coffee. It’s all about balance.’

How does this link to getting more time?????

Well!!!!

One of the biggest things you can do to “buy more time” is to hire others to do tasks that are a waste of your time. The easiest way to figure out which tasks are a “waste of your time” is to do some simple math.

Let’s say you earn $100,000/year at your job or business.  Based on a typical 38 -40 hour workweek, you’d be earning about $50/hour.

So, any task that you could pay someone under $50/hour to do would free up more time for you to work and earn money at a $50/hour rate.

Instead of cleaning for 3 hours, pay someone $15/hour to do it, instead.  If you work those same 3 hours and earn $150, then you will have made $105 more in comparison to the savings of having cleaned yourself.

And if you are making more than enough money, then maybe you can just enjoy those 3 extra hours engaging in some hobby that you’ve been meaning to do or spending more time with your family.  The choice is yours! so you have actually brought more time.

Let’s tap back into the mindset

It’s been documented that the average CEO reads over 50 books per year.  On the other hand, the average American reads 12 books per year, with the median number of books being just 4. Say a lot doesn’t it.

So what do you do?? – the average person spends 4-5+ hours each day watching TV – which is really a full-time job! when you look at it that way it’s kinda crazy and wasteful. 

The choice is yours.