Avoid Failure in Disciplinary Procedures While Managing Employees

Avoid Failure in Disciplinary Procedures While Managing Employees

What makes companies succeed the most, what factors actually matter the most for startup success? If you take a group of people with the right equity incentives and organize them in a startup, you can unlock human potential in a way never before possible.

Bill Gross – Founder and CEO, Idealab


When it comes to human resources, it doesn’t matter what size you are. You have the same issues; you need to recruit the talents and manage them; you need to figure out how to engage and pay them, and how to terminate the relationship when you have to.

When we talk about human resources, we’re talking about that function in an organization that handles the people’s stuff right. We are feeling beings; we want to feel appreciated, to belong, and to believe we’re making a meaningful contribution. To grow confidence in a start-up Business, we must address the very human needs. When it comes to meeting human needs, it has a bottom-line business impact. The more the employees are satisfied, the higher the profitability.

Richard Branson isn’t just a shrewd businessman, he’s a humble man to boot – the strongest message he has is you’ve got to be “nice to people. Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, most businesses are there to make more money and when they are so focused on how to go about doing that, they don’t necessarily treat their employees as though they are people but rather like cogs in a machine. Ironically it is when you treat your employees best that they produce the best work – because, guess what, they feel valued!

When things don’t go right there are processes business owners need to manage. It is no longer as simple as “Fire Him/Her” – Employees are getting smarter with their rights and you need to make sure you keep ahead of them.


Here are some examples that will make you go “JUST WOW” –

An employee who was responsible for the death of 50 chickens after drinking alcohol before work on Melbourne Cup Day, has won an unfair dismissal case due to a lack of procedural fairness, and uncertainty and inadequacy of the employer’s workplace policy. Cannon v Poultry Harvesting Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 3126

If terminating an employee’s employment in reliance upon CCTV footage, ensure that the employee is given an opportunity to examine and respond to the footage before the dismissal. In Walker v Salvation Army (NSW) Property Trust t/as The Salvation Army – Salvos Stores [2017] FWC 32, the employer dismissed a store manager for serious misconduct amid allegations of theft. The employer relied on CCTV footage that purported to show the store manager holding four $50 notes. The store manager was not given an opportunity to properly view the CCTV footage nor respond to it during the investigation or prior to her dismissal. The unfair dismissal claim succeeded.

Even dismissing an employee who you believe Clearly has crossed a line may not be as simple as you think. Gill v Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd [2016] FWC 1472  

Disciplinary procedures and correcting poor performance

We’re going to be giving you an overview of how to conduct a disciplinary process. A fair procedure is VITAL. Otherwise, any resulting dismissal is likely to be Harsh, Unjust and Unreasonable.    

The employer must have a fair reason for dismissal. Misconduct is a potentially a fair reason for freeing the employer concerning Start-up Business BUT you need to make sure you investigate, have your facts, have followed a procedure and given the person the opportunity to not only respond but have a support person.

So, let’s look at the procedure what procedure should an employer follow. Let’s say something has happened.

  • Firstly, consider whether any formal action is necessary. Would a quiet word be enough? If you decide to take informal action, it probably should be verbal only, and not put on a disciplinary record although a manager should keep a note of it.
  • Secondly, consider whether an investigation is needed. What’s required will vary greatly depending on the circumstances. You need to be able to put the substance of the allegations to the employee so that the employee can give a meaningful response.
  • Thirdly, the suspension is only appropriate if there is a potential threat to the business or other employees or if it is not possible to investigate accurately. A knee-jerk reaction to suspend could lead to a claim for breach of trust and confidence in HR, and this could be an expensive claim. Suspension should be on full pay, and it’s safer if the employment contract provides for the right of suspension. Keep the suspension under review and for a shorter time as possible.
  • Fourthly, obtain all the evidence, conduct the investigation as quickly as possible, and speak to the witnesses. When interviewing the witnesses, they should be advised to keep the matter confidential. Consider if you need any physical evidence for example emails, CCTV and phone records.

Then and Only then can you determine on the balance of probabilities that the employee has engaged in behavior not desirable to the business. This is when you will start the disciplinary process – the invitation, allowing a support person, the right to respond to the allegation and then either re-investigate new info you have or decide on the outcome. Such outcomes may include no action being taken, a written apology, counselling, a warning, demotion, or dismissal, depending on the seriousness of the findings.

What to do before dismissing an under performing employee

If unfair dismissal laws apply to the under performing employee, you should do these things before making a final decision to dismiss them:

  • Inform the employee that their work performance is unsatisfactory.
  • Ensure that the employee is aware that their ongoing employment will be in jeopardy if the performance issue is not resolved. Confirm this in writing.
  • Keep records of any warnings that have been issued to the employee.
  • Allow the employee to respond to what you have outlined in performance discussions.
  • Give the employee a reasonable amount of time to improve their behaviour and work performance.

As an HR Support in Gold Coast and Brisbane, Fresh HR Insights give SME Business support and figure out the natural differences that happen within an organization. We are there when you need us – No lock in contracts – we focus on getting it right and exceeding expectations. Check out our testimonials or give us a call and find out for yourself.

If you want to go it alone then we have the solution for you – our fully comprehensive eBook on the disciplinary process – it includes everything you need including documents and templates for the letters you will need along the way.

NOT SURE then how about our 30-min support via our advice line BOOK HERE

Example areas for advice include: 

  • Managing employee issues such as lateness for work, absent without leave, under performance and poor conduct;
  • Dealing with complaints of Bullying and workplace investigations;
  • Termination of employment, what you can and cannot do and what is the correct procedure to follow;
  • Conflict Management and Communication strategies;
  • Advice on meeting legislative requirements;
  • General advice on the Unfair dismissal or other Fair Work Commission processes;
  • How to respond to and deal with workplace complaint​; and
  • Employee entitlements including the correct awards and pay rates;
  • Pragmatic advice on Human Resources issues
  • Guidance on disciplinary actions for example, informal and formal warnings
  • Guidance on Redundancies and terminations





Disclaimer: The above information should not be used as a replacement for expert advice and is written as an overview of the Disciplinary process. Please contact our team at Fresh HR Insights for support Mbl: 0452 471 960


Casual to permanent: Fair Work amends standard award clause

Casual to permanent: Fair Work amends standard award clause

“Regular” casual employees covered by an award have a right to request that their employment be converted to permanent employment, following decisions by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) last year. A Full Bench of the FWC has now made some changes and clarified a few matters in another decision released earlier this month.

Who is a regular casual?

A regular casual is an employee who has over a calendar period of at least 12 months worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis and could perform the same work as a permanent employee without significant adjustment being required.

Such an employee can request a conversion to permanent employment, but must do so in writing. The employer can agree to or refuse the request, but can only refuse on “reasonable grounds” and after consultation with the employee.

What has been changed?

The FWC considered submissions from a wide range of parties, and its decision will make the following changes

  • The 12-month eligibility period will become a rolling period, not a one-off, so the employee’s right to request conversion will remain continually exercisable.
  • Casual employees who have worked an average 38 hours per week over the 12 months and are seeking conversion to full-time employment will now be required to have worked “equivalent full-time hours” over 12 months. This change is to allow for the fact that the employee may have taken periods of leave that could have reduced his/her average.
  • An employer’s grounds for refusing a request must be “based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable” (eg that the job will not exist in 12 months’ time), not speculative or based on a general lack of certainty about future needs.
  • The requirement that the employer and part-time employee agree in writing on the terms of employment (days, hours, start/finish times, breaks, overtime and notifying variations) have been clarified by standardising the provisions – in some awards, the employer was previously only required to “inform” the employee. 

Three awards that previously did not have casual employment conversion clauses will now have a clause inserted.

Minimum engagement for casual and part-time employees

This decision also clarified the minimum engagement period for employees to mean that that they must be engaged and paid for at least two consecutive hours on each occasion that they are required to attend work. This means that an employee must be paid for at least two hours every time he/she is called in, which in turn that an employee called in twice on the same day must be paid for at least two hours each time. Previously an employee could be called in twice or more but only paid for two hours.

The FWC also made some other changes to minimum engagement period provisions in some specific awards.

4-yearly review of modern awards – part-time employment and casual employment [2018] FWCFB 4695, 10 August 2018

More news on casuals

In another recent decision by a Full Bench of the Federal Court, a large number of employees currently described by employers as ‘casuals’ could in fact be permanent, thus removing any need to request permanent employment  Read more here.


By Mike Toten on 21st Aug 2018

How to create respect in your workplace with a Code of Conduct

How to create respect in your workplace with a Code of Conduct

If you own, run or manage a business, the conduct of your employees should matter. And yes, while you need to ensure everyone working in your office, warehouse, factory or other workplace behaves in line with legislation and rules, it’s also important to create a work environment where everyone feels respected.

One of the simplest ways to make sure your staff all understand what you expect from them in terms of their conduct is to create a policy that clearly outlines your expectations without ambiguity. 

One way to do this is with a Code of Conduct. Asking your employees to read and sign your Code each year will ensure you are all singing from the same hymn sheet. This helps to remind them of what’s acceptable – and what isn’t. It also means that if things change, new legislation is introduced or something relevant needs to be added, you can do so in timely fashion. Remember, however, a leader leads by example so you also need to follow the Code of Conduct.

There is no place for “do what I say, not do what I do” in a workplace. 

What should be in your Code of Conduct? 

Some details can be specific to your business and industry. However, when it comes to treating colleagues with respect, there are a few core areas you need to cover off. 

Unacceptable behaviour

Your Code of Conduct must be clear on what actions will not be tolerated. Go into detail, it is not enough to say “harassment and bullying will not be tolerated”. This will also be covered off in more detail in your must-have Harassment and Bullying policy.

For example, provide a list of what constitutes harassment and bullying. This might include (but is not limited to): 

  • causing offence
  • abusive behaviour
  • belittling others
  • threatening behaviour
  • physical assault
  • interfering with a colleague’s personal effects
  • any kind of sexual harassment, including verbal and physical. 

Your Code might also include expectations relating to:

  • dress standards
  • other employment
  • talking to the media
  • confidentiality.

Put these details quite high up in your Code of Conduct or Workplace Behaviour Policy. That way everyone it will be front of mind when your employee signs it to confirm he or she read and understood it and will abide by the rules.

Respect in the workplace

While similar to the above, it’s not the same and should not be treated as such. You don’t need to make this a big part of your Code. Simply reinforce the rule that each employee deserves respect and no-one should experience any victimisation what-so-ever.

Also, make it clear that rule is for all levels of staff. No-one in management has the right to act disrespectfully towards a colleague or employee, or vice versa.

In short, make it clear you expect all employees to uphold a professional attitude at all times, regardless of whom they’re working with, or for, or where in the workplace they’re working.

Chain of command

While this is something that’s usually associated with the military, keeping a chain of command works well in an office working environment too. If your workplace has assistants, supervisors, and managers – however, they’re titled –  make it clear that employees must raise any issues with their direct line manager. Alternatively, if it’s a sensitive issue, they can go directly to the HR department, if you have one.

What isn’t acceptable is employees sharing gossip, telling tales and not going through the right channels with a complaint or problem.

Create a respectful working environment

By sharing a Code of Conduct with your employees, there can be no excuses for disrespectful behaviour. It will not only help your HR department but it will also help everyone working for you feel confident you take their well-being seriously.

Note: In the absence of a Code of Conduct policy, dismissing an employee because of ‘unacceptable behaviour’ leaves you open to a successful claim for unfair dismissal because the employee could argue he or she was unaware such behaviour was inappropriate in your workplace.

Employees need to know that their employers understand the need for mutual respect between all staff. If you can show your commitment to running a business where all your team understands what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t, then you’re sure to be on the right track to attracting the brightest sparks in your industry!

How to create respect in your workplace with a Code of Conduct By Paulette McCormack on 14th Aug 2018

Domestic and Family Leave Policy

Domestic and Family Leave Policy

This Policy outlines the leave and support entitlements offered to employees who are subject to domestic or family violence.

This policy has been prepared in response to the recent legislative change, effective from 1 August 2018, which requires all modern awards to include a clause that entitles all employees (including casuals) to five (5) days of unpaid domestic and family violence leave.

Award free employees are not yet entitled to unpaid domestic and family violence leave, but some businesses may find it administratively easier to implement this policy for all staff.

What is family or domestic violence leave?

Unpaid family or domestic violence leave will be available in the event that the employee needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for them to do it outside their ordinary hours of work.

For example, making arrangements for their safety or the safety of a family member (including relocation), attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police services.

How to calculate and accrue the leave

Five days of unpaid leave will be available at the commencement of each 12 month period rather than accruing progressively during a year of service. The leave will not accumulate from year to year.

This entitlement is unique in that, the full 5 days of unpaid leave will be available to part-time and casual employees. This is different to some other forms of leave (eg annual leave) which are not provided at all to casual employees.

Options for employers

The policy also provides employers with an option to provide their employees with additional entitlements (above and beyond what is legislatively required). For example, employers may wish to provide paid domestic and family violence leave or allow their employees to access paid personal/carer’s leave entitlements for reasons related to domestic and family violence.

Before using or implementing the leave policy, please ensure that it is consistent with any enterprise agreement, contract, or award which applies to the employees in your workplace.

The vulnerable workers Act is now law. Are you ready?

The vulnerable workers Act is now law. Are you ready?

  • Are you a franchisor?
  • Or a franchisee?
  • Does your company have subsidiaries?

If you answered “yes” you are in the sights of new laws which commenced on Friday 15 September. Even if you answered “no”, you should keep reading, as the higher penalties relating to payslip and record keeping offences can still apply to you.

Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017

Franchisors and holding companies are now responsible if their franchisees or subsidiaries underpay their staff if they knew or ought to have reasonably known that this was happening and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. These “head office” provisions will take effect from 27 October, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James. It’s not just franchisors and franchisees – all employers must pay their workers correctly and must keep records of all the payments they make. Big fines are now in play if you fail to do so: up to $126,000 for individuals and up to $630,000 for corporations. So check you comply with the pay and employee entitlements under your Award, or enterprise agreement if you have one.

If you are unable to provide pay slips or employment records, you will automatically be guilty of breaching the record keeping requirements unless you have a “reasonable excuse”.

Accountants, HR consultants, or anyone who is a third-party to a serious contravention of the Fair Work Act are also in the frame. Serious contraventions will usually involve regular and systematic underpayments where it is difficult to argue that it was inadvertent.

It’s not enough to say you didn’t know

For franchisors and parent/holding companies, the new laws expressly make you liable for underpayments if you ought to have reasonably known your subsidiary or franchisee was not paying correctly. While this responsibility is supposed to only apply if you have a “significant degree of influence or control” over your business network, it’s clear the Fair Work Ombudsman will be arguing that franchisors have this influence and control by the very nature of their business model.

What else do you have to be wary of?

You are expressly prohibited under the new legislation from unreasonably requiring your employees to make payments to you (for example by demanding employees pay back some of their wages in cash, so that wages appear to be correct “on the books”). The Ombudsman will also be able to make you produce documents and answer questions about suspected underpayments and exploitation of vulnerable workers, although it will have to get the permission of a tribunal before it does so.

You must not obstruct a Fair Work inspector who is investigating you, nor must you give them false or misleading information or documents.

Written By Alison Williams on 18th Sept 2017
Serial complainers – Why do they do it?

Serial complainers – Why do they do it?

Got a serial complainer? Here’s how to cope


A serial complainer can make your workplace pretty uncomfortable but don’t dismiss them out of hand – there may be underlying issues you need to be aware of.

Employees should be encouraged to speak up before problems become serious or endemic – this seems obvious, as we discussed in a recent article by HR Advance. But what can you do about the opposite situation – with employees who habitually complain about issues, many of which are trivial or non-existent?

Why do they do it?

Serial complainers usually are quickly identified as such by both their co-workers and by managers. It is important to identify why they often complain. Common reasons are:

  • to gain attention
  • sabotage
  • to settle scores with co-workers or managers
  • because they perceive that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”
  • because they have genuine concerns about problems in the business, or the conduct of their managers or co-workers.

A big problem is that some of the complaints will have substance and some will not. So the challenge is to encourage them to make the complaints which have substance and to discourage the rest.

What problems do these people cause?

The most obvious problems caused by serial complainers are disruption to productivity and employee morale. They may also sow the seeds for complaints by others of bullying or harassment. 

Less obvious is that other employees will observe how you and other managers deal with them. If they perceive that serial complaining is proving to be a successful strategy for the employees who do it, they may be tempted to behave in similar fashion. If that happens, the situation may go out of control and you may end up fighting a “bushfire”.

The answer, however, is not to actively discourage serial complainers from speaking up. In much the same way that even your least accomplished employee may have an occasional great idea, a serial complainer will sometimes alert you to a genuine problem requiring action. But if they are discouraged in a negative way, either they will feel ignored and decide not to report a real issue, or the issue is ignored because you don’t take the employee seriously.

Solution: transparency and consistency

What you need is a process that ensures that all complaints and concerns raised by employees are handled in a transparent and consistent manner. It must be evident to all employees that this is the case, which may take some time to achieve if serial complainers have been indulged in the past.

The goal must be that employees who have genuine concerns should be able to communicate them in a non-threatening environment and with confidence that you will take them seriously and pursue a constructive solution. Therefore, you need to make “nuisance” employees aware of what they need to do, which is the same as everyone else – that is follow the correct procedure and provide solid evidence to demonstrate that their concerns are genuine.

If your business has a Personal Grievance Policy, we recommend that it includes some guidelines on how to raise concerns and make complaints. You should also set out how managers will handle them.

The guidelines for “building trust and seeking constructive feedback” set out in this article – Discouraging employees from speaking up is just not cricket – are also recommended.

What if the complainer persists?

If a serial complainer persists with his/her behaviour, it is worth trying to establish why he/she makes so many complaints. For example, the underlying reason may be one of those listed under “Why do they do it” above, and the root cause may be very different from the subject matter of the complaints. In such cases, at least one “one-on-one” conversation with the employee is recommended, to try to identify and address the real reasons. At the same time, remind the employee of the correct procedure and requirements for making complaints.

How Fresh HR Insights can help

Fresh HR Insights Personal Grievance Policy provides a framework for dealing with individual personal grievances in the workplace. Our Complaint and Grievance Form can be used by employees to put their complaint or grievance in writing.

Businesses should also consider having a Whistle-Blower Policy. This is mandatory in some instances, for example, businesses covered by relevant provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 and the relevant fraud, anti-competition and accounting whistleblower scheme overseen by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. 

A whistleblower is anyone who raises issues of wrongdoing to a manager or equivalent. Wrongdoing includes conduct that is dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt.

Written By Mike Toten on 17th Apr 2018


HR essentials, what employers need to know.

It’s Kath here from Compass Business Support. Today I’m joined by Paulette McCormack from Fresh HR Insights. This is the very first of a series of videos that we’re going to be doing for you all about HR essentials, what employers need to know.

Anyone who’s employing a team or thinking about employing a team in the future, this series is necessarily for you to know.

It is a great the way we’ve structured it, too. So, we’re going from when you’re bringing people on board, or thinking about it, right through to the separation process and everything in between. So you mustn’t miss any of these 10 step processes. These are all booked in as per the below so make sure you add to your diary. We will be setting up events to so you can get ready to see the video’s go up and watch out for the lives. 

  • Policies and Procedures – Do I need them and if so which ones (24th April)
  • Recruitment and Selection – The raw deal when finding your star (22nd May)
  • Probation Periods – Letting go can be easier than holding on (26th June)
  • Induction – Setting New Employees up for long term success (24th July)
  • Absence Management – When employees are missing in action (28th August)
  • Disciplinary Process – When things dont go right (25th September)
  • Effective Communication – Talk to me I am listening (23rd October)
  • Ending Employment – Its time to say goodbye the right way (20th November)
  • Small Business HR Rescue – Summing it al up for success (10th December)

Todays topic , this is all about before you take on an employee. We’ve got some questions to ask today, Now, the first thing, this is all about before you take an employee onboard.

Question ONE: How do you know when you’re ready to start taking on an employee? When you’re ready to take on a new team member?

Answer: The main thing is you’ve got to make sure you’re financially ready to bring on a person onboard. So what I do suggest to the small business owners is to actually think about how much they’re going to pay them. Obviously make sure it’s within the award as well, that’s always important. Then to put that money aside for a period of three months.

If you put it into a high interest savings account and save it all up. If you can afford to pay that every single week for three months then I’ll say you’ll be financially able to employ someone. There’s nothing worse than bringing someone onboard and finding out that you cannot pay them.

You don’t want to do that. You know, if you get to the three months and find that maybe it’s not the right thing, because you’ve had to think about it as well, then you’ve got a little to lose

Because once you bring someone onboard, and it’s what we’ll go into as well through the series and it’s certainly one of the freebies that you’ll be getting today. Shhh. It’s a freebie. It’s in there as well, depending what kind of employee you’re going to bring onboard. If it’s occasional then you’ve got a bit of more flexibility. But if you’re a permanent patch on a permanent full time, you’ve got a notice period to pay as well.

So you want to make sure that you can afford that. That you’ve actually got the funds saved up. You don’t want to back yourself into a corner, that’s for sure.

Question TWO:  Second question is where do you start?

When you’re looking at what kind of person to bring in where do you start.  Start looking at what you’re doing as a job, and start mapping it out. Then start mapping out someone else do? When you bring a person onboard as a small business owner it’s tempting to carry on wanting to manage the whole process and not letting go. So, it’s starting to map out the letting go process because there’s no point bringing an employee onboard and becoming that helicopter.

Nobody likes a micromanager. And I think most small business owners can be … They’re fairly guilty of that. Wanting to control everything that goes on in the business.

So this is a really great point that making sure that you’ve got a whole list of things that you either don’t want to do, or you don’t like doing, that you can actually delegate to a new employee.

Because you want to be working on your business and no longer in your business. That’s why you’re going to bring on an employee. So, you need to make sure you have the work for them to do. Because you’re soon going to get pretty annoyed if you’re paying a wage and they’re sitting there doing nothing. You’d be lying if you said, “No, I won’t.”

Question THREE: So the third question I’ve got for you today, which type of employee would suit me best?

This comes down to what business you’re running and what your needs are. So, in the three-month period mentioned above you’d be working that out. The role and everything. Now, if your business is fluctuating where some weeks it’s busy and some weeks it’s quiet I would recommend you look at getting a casual. The casual employee doesn’t have set hours. But each day is end to day contract. Then they start again the next time you have them in.

So, one week you might need them three days, the next week you might need them four days. Next week you might only need them one. So you’ve got that flexibility.

Where for the permanent part-time person or a permanent full-time they have consistent hours. You’d have to pay them even if there’s no work. So that’s why a casual is so much better.

Now, there is a causal conversion in the pipeline coming across all the awards and some already have this, so you need to be mindful of that. But that doesn’t actually apply to an irregular casual. So someone whose hours are all over the place. So you don’t need to worry about it too much if you’ve got an irregular casual. Only if you’ve got a systematic, or regular casual where the hours are pretty predictable. And it’s something I can help you with anyway.

Absolutely. And does that vary across different awards as well, that casual ruling?

It does. Yes. Some of the awards already have it in. So, there’ll be in construction industry, that tends to have them in it. So be mindful of that. But when you’re looking at the retail, or the clerical award then it’s certainly not in there at the moment. But it’s something I can help people with.

That’s the great thing about this video series, too. Is that you’ve always got that expert here to help you. So, Paulette’s always on hand to be able to answer questions. An adviser in the right direction.

So, I think that’s all the questions we’ve got for our very first video. I hope this has been really helpful to you guys. And that you are going get great value from this. Not only today but also the rest of the series that we’ve got.

Did you want to talk a little bit about your giveaways today?


FRESH HR INSIGHTS We have got an amazing giveaway. What I’ve actually done is I’ve done a fact sheet for you. It’s actually turned into be a fact booklet. I’m also a University teacher so I tend to play in the academic space a lot as well. And I can’t help myself but to give a lot of information. Just can’t stop.

So, I’ve actually put a lot in there as well. There’s also a free checklist for you to go in and have a look at what employer-employee relationship is. And what different categories of employees that you can have as well. So, if you’ll follow the link we’re going to put at the bottom here there all downloadable. They’re all free. They’re all available to you no strings attached.

Excellent. That sounds like it’s got lots of great information in there. That’s wonderful.

Fabulous. I’ve actually got a one page business plan in there for you as well, which is free and also comes with an instructional video. And is also a systems health check. So just a general review of all the business systems that you’ve got in your business currently. And what you might need to implement.

ANOTHER SUPER DEAL We have a new start up process, which includes your contract of employments as well. Which are really important to have those in place. But also making sure you capture the key information you need and actually start the employer-employee relationship on the right foot. So, a 25% discount of our package. All you need to do is to send us an email today and put in the code, KBPM2018


 And we look forward to seeing you on the next video. Take care.

You Can Watch our Other Great Videos HERE

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Positive Team Relationships

Positive Team Relationships

The Importance of workplace culture and positive team relationships


Andrew Carnegie – industrialist said “Take away my buildings and my machinery and leave me my people and I will rebuild.

Great attitude and when we think about it at its most raw then it is very true.

After all you could have the best building on the block, the most technology advanced machinery and systems but without the people to run these for you, you have nothing. Some may argue that robots can do the work but robots are made by and run by who??

I have heard it argued before that creating positive workplace culture is expensive and time consuming and a drain on the company – but it really isn’t and actually it can be totally the opposite.

Another myth is that cultures change slowly – the truth really is that it will change slowly when initiatives are ineffective, introduced slowly, or when staff lose trust and confidence in their leadership. The speed of any change is directly related to the speed that the company leaders get on board and demonstrate and support the change by their own daily behaviors.

One of the most effective ways of creating positive workplace culture is through fulfilling human needs.

Like any relationship when our needs are met by those around us we feel comfortable, confident, and motivated to stay in the relationship.

The Hierarchy of Needs theory was coined by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.

Who has heard of this one before?

The crux of the theory is that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs.

The hierarchy is made up of 5 levels:

  • Physiological– these needs must be met in order for a person to survive, such as food, water and shelter.
  • Safety– including personal and financial security and health and wellbeing.
  • Love/belonging– the need for friendships, relationships and family.
  • Esteem– the need to feel confident and be respected by others.
  • Self-actualisation– the desire to achieve everything you possibly can and become the most that you can be.

According to the hierarchy of needs, you must be in good health, safe and secure with meaningful relationships and confidence before you are able to be the most that you can be.

Let’s look also at the Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

The Two-Factor Theory of motivation (otherwise known as dual-factor theory or motivation-hygiene theory) was developed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg in the 1950s.

Analyzing the responses of 200 accountants and engineers who were asked about their positive and negative feelings about their work, Herzberg found 2 factors that influence employee motivation and satisfaction…

  1. Motivator factors– Simply put, these are factors that lead to satisfaction and motivate employees to work harder. Examples might include enjoying your work, feeling recognized and career progression.
  2. Hygiene factors– These factors can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation if they are absent. Examples include salary, company policies, benefits, relationships with managers and co-workers.

According to Herzberg’s findings, while motivator and hygiene factors both influenced motivation, they appeared to work completely independently of each other…

While motivator factors increased employee satisfaction and motivation, the absence of these factors didn’t necessarily cause dissatisfaction.

Likewise, the presence of hygiene factors didn’t appear to increase satisfaction and motivation but their absence caused an increase in dissatisfaction

This theory implies that for the happiest and most productive workforce, you need to work on improving both motivator and hygiene factors.

To help motivate your employees, make sure they feel appreciated and supported. Give plenty of feedback and make sure your employees understand how they can grow and progress through the company.

To prevent job dissatisfaction, make sure that your employees feel that they are treated right by offering them the best possible working conditions and fair pay. Make sure you pay attention to your team and form supportive relationships with them.

Here’s another one – The Expectancy Theory – This proposes that people will choose how to behave depending on the outcomes they expect as a result of their behaviour. In other words, we decide what to do based on what we expect the outcome to be. At work, it might be that we work longer hours because we expect a pay rise.

However, Expectancy Theory also suggests that the process by which we decide our behaviors is also influenced by how likely we perceive those rewards to be. In this instance, workers may be more likely to work harder if they had been promised a pay rise (and thus perceived that outcome as very likely) than if they had only assumed they might get one (and perceived the outcome as possible but not likely)

Expectancy Theory is based on three elements

  1. Expectancy– the belief that your effort will result in your desired goal. This is based on your past experience, your self-confidence and how difficult you think the goal is to achieve.
  2. Instrumentality – the belief that you will receive a reward if you meet performance expectations.
  3. Valence – the value you place on the reward.

 You will see where I am going with this and how it relates to the importance of workplace culture and positive team relationships.

 But first a some of me.

Before I made the move to Australia and the stunning Gold Coast I was living in the UK and worked for a Company Called Avenair Telecom. Avenair Telecom was a French owned telecommunications company. I lead up the HR function for the UK Branch sitting on the senior Management team directly reporting to the Managing Director.

In 2008, as we all know the world took a turn and we found ourselves in a Global Financial Crisis.

The global financial crisis (GFC) or global economic crisis is commonly believed to have begun in July 2007 with the credit crunch, when a loss of confidence by US investors in the value of sub-prime mortgages caused a liquidity crisis. This, in turn, resulted in the US Federal Bank injecting a large amount of capital into financial markets.

By September 2008, the crisis had worsened as stock markets around the globe crashed and became highly volatile. Consumer confidence hit rock bottom as everyone tightened their belts in fear of what could lie ahead.

The events of 2007/8 have shaped both the current UK commercial and business scene and are now having a massive effect on the public sector.

So here we were – a company that supplied Mobile phone accessories and data plans staring down the eye of tightening belts and uncertainty about being able to continue trading.

So how do you keep your teams motivated to keep performing, keep going and keep turning up each day with a positive and forward thinking outlook?

It’s easy to understand why many people panic when thrust into difficult situations – mortgages to pay, food to out on the table, rent, loans, family etc. – the list goes on. As a business owner and as a leader

There’s no doubt that when times get tough, the demands placed on every team member increase significantly. Given that pressure is already likely to be quite high without outside demands, the additional effort and focus required to navigate through difficulties at work and the increased level of uncertainly can be tough for many people; however, the critical nature of getting through tough times means you can’t be too lax, or you won’t make it through.

This is why it’s crucial to strike the right balance between firmness, fairness and having a sense of fun.

Show your teams a side of you that understands the difficult position you are in, but let them know that you believe in them, believe in the business and that as a company we are all strong and dedicated enough to get through it if they work together.

Linking this back to the theories –

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Chip Conley, founder of the Joie de Vivre hotel chain and Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, used the Hierarchy of Needs pyramid to transform his business. According to Chip, many managers struggle with the abstract concept of self-actualization and so focus on lower levels of the pyramid instead.

Conley found one way of helping with higher levels was to help his employees understand the meaning of their roles during a staff retreat…

“In one exercise, they got groups of eight housekeepers at a table and asked an abstract question: if someone from Mars came down and saw what you were doing as a housekeeper in a hotel, what name would they call you?

They came up with “The Serenity Sisters,” “The Clutter Busters,” and “The Peace of Mind Police.”

There was a sense that people were doing more than just cleaning a room. They were creating a space for a traveler who was far away from home to feel safe and protected.”

Conley’s team were able to realize the importance of their job to the company and to the people they were helping. By showing them the value of their roles, the team were able to feel respected and motivated to work harder.

The Expectancy Theory – The key here is to set achievable goals for your employees and provide rewards that they actually want.

 Rewards don’t have to come in the form of pay rises, bonuses or all-expenses paid nights out (although I find these are usually welcomed!) Praise, opportunities for progression and “employee of the month” style rewards can all go a long way in motivating your employees.

Another study not mentioned already is the Hawthorn Effect – this study suggests that employee’s work harder if they know they are being observed. I am NOT recommending that you hoover over your employee’s all day (Micro-management is not cool) but I am suggesting that you can try giving regular feedback, let you team know that you know what they are up to and how they are doing. 

Showing your employees that you care about them and how their working conditions may also motive them to work harder. Encourage your team to give you feedback and suggestions about their workspace and development.

How did I combine these at Avenir to pull us through these tough times and keep the team motivated and positive for the future?

We had fun while we worked HARD and every one of the senior management team kept their door open, came out onto the office floor, kept communicating, listening and encouraging their team.

If someone did leave they were not replaced but instead we re-grouped and cross trained other’s through mentorships and coaching. We carried on learning and preparing for the brighter times we believed were coming. We remained strong, positive and agile.

We were open about the budget constraints so asked for suggestions and actioned what we could. We had a suggestion box in the staff room. Idea’s implemented were given a voucher to say thanks. One was to change the way we used paper – recycling printed paper to use the other side – another was to change the lightening to turn off no essential lights and use more natural lights as well as investing in longer lasting more cost effective tubes. All this save money for the company and made a difference – everyone made a difference together.

We had an org chart that was a big wheel with all the different cogs to signify each team – it was clear then that each team knew they were important to keep the wheel going.

Our access cards – when I first started they were white cards – no identity. First thing I did was get a photo printing card machine and gave everyone a sense of belonging – a person and not just a payroll number. They belonged and they were important.

And as for FUN – Here’s some low cost highly engaging example’s

World’s Biggest Coffee MorningMacmillan Cancer Support. The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. We ask people all over the UK to host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to Macmillan.

 We created an Avenir Telecom MacMillian Coffee Morning Recipe Book. Everyone was encouraged to give in their favorite recipe and the marketing team created a recipe book.

On the Coffee Morning Day (Sept in the UK) they made and brought in that recipe all made so we could taste test.

Everyone brought a piece of the entry for 1 GBP and then voted for the favorite and they could also purchase the cook book. We to raised funds internally for MacMillian Cancer and also invited our suppliers and customers to purchase the cook book for 5GBP. The buzz in the office was electric. I still have my cook book and still use some of the recipes.

On top of that each month different departments would have a charity of choice and we would do additional fundraising for that.

We had “The Big Pink” – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I lost mother to Breast Cancer in 2006 so this one was close to my heart. We all dressed in pink for the day. Donated a few GBP and we judged the best dressed. We also had a bake and sale.

BBC Children in Need – Team Pudsey – we dressed in spots and again judged in the best outfit.

What do all these activates do? They build a positive environment and bring everyone together.

Alongside this we encouraged manager and supervisors to celebrate small wins – team high fives, post it notes on computers saying, “awesome job” – acknowledging team members as they came in each day and as they left each night.

Birthdays – Managers and Supervisors were given 20GBP to buy a present for their team member. No Vouchers was the rule – this meant that the manager and supervisor needed to get to know their teams which encouraged communication. It also showed the employee their manager listened when it was a gift that was just for them. Being acknowledged HUGE.

Think back to the theories – what were we doing – we gave Praise, opportunities for progression, showing teams we care about the charities they support, showing how important they were to the business, linking them back in every way and every day to the business.

None of this costed a lot and none of it took a massive amount of time but what it gave was priceless. The benefit to the business was nothing you can put on a balance sheet, cannot be recorded in the profit and loss but can be shown by the fact that many of the team members all still work together and although the company has changed many moved with the company, with the mangers and with the same team values.

You can do just that too – it’s not hard and it’s not impossible.

 The Benefits of Creating a Positive Culture in Your Workplace

  1. Employees can get on with their jobs, improving productivity, rather than focus on what is going wrong with the company, and the leadership team
  2. Employees are proud to work for positive Company and share their experience with their social networks, enhancing the company brandKnowledge and experience is shared between employees which improves efficiency, productivity and performance
  3. People enjoy coming to work and are more committed to the company, reducing the huge costs of turnover
  4. Employees go home happier and more satisfied, and this impacts their families and friends.

Building a positive workplace culture is highly beneficial for companies. When companies employ initiatives that focus on people and meeting essential human needs, they build positive workplace cultures that thrive in challenging times as I have demonstrated with the Global Financial Crisis.

I have created an eBook – 50 ways to energize a workplace – Which you can download for FREE


Grab your FREE copy HERE


To finish as I stared with a quote from Andrew Carnegie,

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”

Thank you.

What the Full recording of “The Importance of workplace culture and positive team relationships” Below


Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress – Hans Selye once said It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. I couldn’t agree with this more. After all stress affects us all, many of us on a daily basis. Stress is not about to leave our lives anytime soon so the best idea to live with stress, is to learn how to handle it.

Stress in the workplace may be derived from many avenues such as feeling under appreciated or undervalued by your employer or employees, working too many hours, not taking designated breaks or avoiding taking time off. All of these are examples of how the workplace can lead to stress. Then there is stress that comes from an employee’s personal life such as relationship breakdown, financial hardship or social rejection. You probably guessed that stress in someone’s personal life will almost always resonate in their professional life in some way, no matter how hard they try to hide it. Eventually, any stress that is not dealt with accordingly will boil up inside to the point that you may not notice the stress anymore and in fact, it may seem normal to wake up and go to bed feeling stress. Whilst getting rid of whatever it is that is causing you stress isn’t always an option, there are ways in which you can manage it in the short and in the long term to enable you to continue working at your best.

Some tips for fast acting stress relief:

  • Count to 10 and slow your breathing. If counting to 10 isn’t enough, count to 30.

It might sound silly, but just as someone with an anger problem stops for 30 seconds to give their brain time to react sensibly, the same is known to happen with stress. Sometimes all the brain needs to react appropriately is time. If you find yourself at work completing a task or near someone that has put you into a stressful state, close your mouth and take a slow deep breath for 10 seconds. If your stress has reached a critical level, try and excuse yourself to the nearest bathroom to close your eyes for a short time and focus on nothing but your incredibly deep and slow breathing. Each inward breath should be 5-10 seconds long, the same speed for each outward breath. This 2 minutes in the bathroom could be the difference between you saying something or doing something that you may immensely regret so if you feel your blood boiling, take a quick break to cool down.

  • Get yourself a coffee or drink of water.

Whether you’re in a busy office or on a warehouse floor it can be easy to get caught up with being busy. Just remember that whilst not every employee is entitled to overly regular coffee breaks, every employee IS entitled to drink water and have bathroom breaks. If your water bottle is empty but your flat out, look for the next available gap and go to fill your drink bottle up then. Water is what will provide oxygen to your body and without it, all those busy tasks you need to get done are going to get done a lot slower and possibly with mistakes if you don’t allow yourself to drink water throughout the day. Fact: when we are thirsty, our body’s are already in dehydration mode.

Tips for longer lasting stress relief

  • Take your designated breaks

Just like forgetting to drink water it can be easy to forget about taking your tea or lunch breaks or simply think your ‚ ≤too busy’ to take them. If your one of those people who eats lunch at their desk or works through an eight hour day (not allowed) without a break thinking what harm can it do, then you may be in for a shock. Not allowing yourself to take a break will almost always lead to tiredness, forgetfulness and lapses of concentration. Not surprisingly, this is when most workplace accidents occur and probably when most minor and major mistakes are made. We have all skipped a lunch break or a tea break at some point but don’t make it a habit. We all need to rest, relax and regroup and taking just a thirty minute lunch break can be enough time for you to grab a coffee, eat your lunch, make a phone call, go to the bathroom and be back at work fresh as a daisy. Trying to clock an additional thirty minutes of work in exchange for making yourself tired and not noticing how close your hand is getting to the machinery your using is simply not worth it. So go on have a break, and why not have a Kit Kat.

  • Holidays

This word used to excite people. Now it probably just causes anxiety and further stress to mention it to some bosses in fears they will say NO and make you feel like you will lose your job if you ever take a holiday. You work hard, you deserve to take your holidays. Got a strict boss who hates people having time off? Try and plan your holidays around your busiest times and give as much notice as possible. If your planning on taking more than a week off for a scheduled holiday, then consider that two months is not an unreasonable amount of notice in which to ask your boss for the time off. Asking to take a week off next week and you may very well be pushing your luck.

So to recap

  • Allow time to breathe
  • Drink lots (of water)
  • Take your designated breaks
  • Try and take a holiday or at least some time off each year


A tip for successful managing

A tip for successful managing

Whatever the weather: A tip for successful managing

Climate scientists are preparing for even greater changing weather patterns and we have already seen many more frequent extreme weather events: cyclones, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, and flooding all over the world.  Here, in Australia, we have seen some unexpected weather events of our own – not least the storm of orange dust which eclipsed parts of the outback of Queensland in the last few days, due to recent exceptionally dry weather. Reports from the area suggest the event hit people by surprise and that is was scary – more like something you would see in films rather than actually happening.  Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those affected by such a distressing event and we hope that they have the help they need at such a time.

Thankfully, frightening weather is something we can prepare for if given sufficient warning so we at Fresh HR Insights want to look at another type of inclemency that can arise – unexpected or extreme events in the workplace!

We often get called for support when a business or company is in the middle of a crisis. We like our clients to think of us in an emergency but we always advise that it is better to be prepared for such eventualities as: unexpected sickness, or death, of employees; an accident that may affect a whole department; a media story that impacts public confidence in your company, its goods or services; the loss of much needed stock on its way to your company rendering your business unable to fulfil its obligations to customers. 

There are so many urgent and unplanned occurrences that can literally turn your month upside down and send you spinning off your strategy and budget targets.

Firstly, we at Fresh HR Insights will always advise that your staff team represents the strongest ally and the most solid support possible when a curveball is dealt to your company. To count on them and for them to rally in your darkest hour means there must be a relationship of trust between staff at all levels and especially between senior and junior levels.

Secondly, we will also advise that this trust cannot be achieved if you are not compliant with the law.  Australia’s Fair Work Act is not just a document, it is a meaningful set of principles and provisions that directly affect the lives of everyone – and most employees in Australia are provided for by the Act.   

If you are not providing fair pay for the job, proper holiday time, sick and compassionate leave, parental leave and long service leave, for instance, then you may have a resentful workforce who in their turn do not care for the company they work for.   Individuals who do not benefit from these provisions in your workplace will not have any particular respect for you and what is worse, will suffer badly if these provisions are withheld from them.  They certainly will not respect you when calamity hits.

Fresh HR Insights can help you make sure you have the policies and practices that place your company on a good footing with the law and with your staff. 


We have developed a series of HIGHLY information eBooks that give you COMPREHENSIVE information and the associated templates. We are adding to these every month so there is something for everyone. Check them out with the below links.

The Scoop on Probationary Periods – A time to engage your new Employee for future success

The Scoop on Probationary Periods – A time to engage your new Employee for future success

The Scoop on Probationary Periods – A time to engage your new Employee for future success

Fresh HR Insights can help make probationary periods work for the employee and employer

Probationary periods at the start of new employment have been common practice in Australia for a long time. However, they can be instigated and served in an unsatisfactory manner which can defeat their purpose.  They are a means by which an employer can see demonstrated the suitability and fitness of new employees to the job.  It is a period of time (i.e. 3 months), when an employee is first employed, and allows either the employer or the employee to terminate the employment for any reason.  The purpose of a probationary period is for both parties to decide whether the employee is suited to the position and/or employer’s business. ‘Trying out the Employment’

 A probation period also entitle’s an employer to dismiss an employee without the risk of an unfair dismissal claim if he/she is found to be unsuitable. The Fair Work Act (Act) has replaced the reference to “probation”: with the need for an employee to serve a “minimum employment period” before the employee can lodge an unfair dismissal claim.

Many of us, in the employer role, have interviewed fantastic candidates for the jobs we are advertising, who have sailed through into first place on a mix of charm and know-how, only to find that much of the personality was thin and that real knowledge on the job is scant and above all, with a daily demonstration of a “lazy and late every day” attitude, that the motivation shown in interview simply wasn’t true!

On the other hand – employees can be put off leaving one place of work to go into another knowing there is no secure contract of employment until weeks, maybe months down the line. And however excellent a new employee, being scrutinised can be stressful.

Almost 1 in 5 new employees fails to get past their probation period according to new research. Some of the main reasons why new starters fail in their probation periods are;

  • Poor performance is the most common reason for failing to pass probation
  • Lateness was a close second’
  • Gross misconduct was next
  • Sickness came in in fourth place

The research also revealed that 60pc of companies have a probationary period failure rate of 10pc, and that almost 80pc of companies are willing to give staff another chance by extending probation periods.

Turning the negative to positive

Fresh HR Insights believes that probationary periods can work for everybody as long as expectations on both sides are managed professionally.

Know what it is  A probationary employment period is a short “starter” contract which is precursor to an intended longer term or permanent employment contract, for an employer to consider whether a new member of staff can reach and maintain the standards required for the job.   It can also be a time for the newly recruited individual to consider whether the workplace is where they want to stay. 

Manage well and motivate your new employee for the future. As an employer, you should ensure the newly recruited staff member takes part in an induction, meets all staff, is aware of company policies and procedures, understands the culture of the company and, crucially, is fully aware of all the requirements of the new role.    In the event that training was offered during the interview process, this must be honoured as quickly as possible so that the new member of staff is equipped for the role in question. It is essential that your new employee is given the best possible start in your company and the optimal conditions for exercising the role intended for him or her.

Always make your intentions clear and be honest

Fresh HR Insights stresses the importance of openness.

Arrange regular meetings with the new employee so that problems can be resolved in a timely way and ensure that a review takes place half way through the probationary term so both sides can air what they like and don’t like.  Remember to write down all decisions keep the employee fully informed at all times. 

If you encourage your employee to be frank and honest, also, about any difficulties, and to put them in writing to you, their confidence will grow in you and in the company and additionally, there will be no surprises by the end of the period.  If all goes to plan, after 6 months, you should be formalising a full-time contract with your employee and welcoming them officially to the team. We recommend the use of “Successful Completion of Probation” letter’s

If you want more information you can contact Fresh HR Insights on admin@freshhrinsights.com.au OR you can download “The Scoop on Probationary Periods” – this includes all you need to know PLUS your Probation letters and New Employee induction checklist.

The Scoop on Probationary Periods

Non-employees such as Independent Contractors – What you need to know

Non-employees such as Independent Contractors – What you need to know

Non-employees such as Independent Contractor

An independent contract is one whom contracts their labour to a business and would typically use their own equipment for a specified purpose, but they remain separate to the principal and are not strictly part of the business. This type of contract is a not a contract for service but a contract for the provision of a service.

As an independent contractor the individual has no recourse to legal remedies surrounding termination of employment. They do have some rights to ‘general protections” provisions in the FW Act.

It is critical therefore that the lines between an employee and a contractor are very distinct. It is generally given that the relationship between a contractor and a principal is intended to come to an end at the completion of a task. The contract would not have any provisions for annual leave, personal leave or compassionate leave or other statutory entitlements that an employer/employee relationship would include.

Considerations of whether the contractor is in fact an employee or not would include:
  • Whether the principal has the right to exercise or control the manner in which the work is performed, place of work or hours of work
  • Whether the worker performs work for others, or has a genuine and practical entitlement to do so
  • Whether the worker has a separate place of work &/or advertises their services to the world at large
  • Whether the worker provides and maintains their own tools and equipment
  • Whether the work can be delegated or subcontracted
  • Whether the principal has the right to dismiss or suspend the person engaged
  • Whether the principal presents the worker to the world at large as an employee of the business
  • Whether income tax is deducted from the remuneration paid to the worker
  • Whether the worker is remunerated by periodic wage or salary or by reference to the completion of tasks
  • Whether the worker was paid for personal leave or annual leave
  • Whether the work involves a profession, trade or distinct calling on the part of the person engaged
  • Whether the worker creates goodwill or saleable assets in the course of their work
  • Whether the worker spends a significant portion of his remuneration on business expenses

Contact us for Independent Contractor Agreements

Tips for managing Independent Contractors
  • Set up a written contract that clearly states that the worker is engaged as an independent contractor
  • It is preferable that the relationship is between the principal and a separate company rather than with the contractor directly. If you set it up this way you should state that the company should supply the services of that particular worker
  • Ensure that the contractor provides their own tools and equipment
  • Allow the contractor to subcontract and set their own hours
  • Wherever possible pay by result rather than by an hourly rate or salary
  • Pay contractors only on receipt of invoice and never withhold PAYG taxation from a contractor’s pay
  • Never provide any form of paid leave
  • Do not ask the worker to wear a company uniform
A contract with an Independent Contractor can end in a number of ways:
  • because each party has fulfilled the obligations as per the contract
  • by agreement of both parties
  • by the operation of certain laws
  • by breach of the contract by one party, which then alters the other party’s obligations as per the contract
  • by “frustration” of the contract due to unforeseen circumstances. This occurs when through no fault of either party the contract becomes incapable of being performed satisfactorily

If there is a breach of contract, the affected party can choose either to treat the contract as still existing and hold the other party to their commitments as per the contract or treat the contract as being terminated. The affected party can then seek the following remedies from a court.

  1. Damages – this is likely to be the expected losses that the affected party would incur. The party affected must seek to minimise these costs by finding an alternative contractor or the contractor trying to secure another contract as quickly as possible
  2. Injunction – stops a party from committing an act or carrying out a particular course of conduct
  3. Specific performance – obtaining an order requiring a contractual party to perform its obligations as per the contract
  4. Declaration – is a proclamation from a court for the purposes of resolving a conflict. This option is discretionary

Contact us for Independent Contractor Agreements

Workplace Rights Protections for Independent Contractors

These provisions as determined under FW Act prohibit a principal from taking ‘adverse action’ against an independent contractor on the basis of such rights.  In addition the principal must not take adverse action:

  • because the contractor has a workplace right
  • because the contractor has or has not exercised a workplace right
  • because the contractor has or has not proposed to exercise a workplace right
  • to stop the contractor from exercising a workplace right

A ‘workplace right’ is defined in S 342 as:

  • having an entitlement, role or responsibility under a workplace law, a workplace instrument or an order made by an industrial body
  • being able to initiate or participate in a process or proceedings under a workplace law or instrument, or
  • being able to make a complaint or inquiry to a person/body with capacity to seek compliance with a workplace law or instrument

With regards to ‘adverse action’ and the action taken by a principal against an independent contractor:

  • terminating the contract
  • injuring the independent contractor in relation to the contract’s terms and conditions
  • altering the contractor’s position to his or her prejudice
  • refusing to make use of the contractor’s services, or
  • refusing to supply good or services to the contractor, and

With regard to ‘adverse action’ and the action taken by a principal against a prospective independent contractor:

  • refusing to engage the prospective contractor
  • discriminating against the prospective contractor
  • refusing to make use of the prospective contractor’s services, or
  • refusing to supply good or services to the prospective contractor

‘Adverse action’ also includes threatening to take any of the above actions or organising such an action.

Labour Hire Workers

This category of workers covers those that are supplied through a labour hire agency to work for a client company, generally for short periods of time. The labour hire company may hire these workers either as casuals or as independent contractors operating under a contract. The benefit for a business in this situation is that they are not the employer of the work and therefore are not obligated for the usual range of employee benefits.

When terminating a labour hire worker it is important to understand the legal relationship, for if the worker is hired as an independent contractor, the contract can be terminated either at the fixed term date or at the completion of the project or task. If the worker is a casual who works for the labour hire firm they are the party to terminate the arrangement or dismiss the labour hire employee.


Typically volunteers are not employees.  The reason for this is that in order for there to be an employer / employee relationship some form of ‘consideration’ is required such as wages or a salary before an employment contract will be taken to have been formed.

As volunteers are not deemed to be employees they do not have the usual statutory rights that employees being terminated do, however, they do have a the right to a safe place of work as H&S legislation covers all people in the workplace and this includes volunteers. 

Each employment relationship carries different obligations and different rights for the employee. It is critical that you know and understand these differences and hire the correct type of worker for your needs.

Contact us for More Details

Say what you mean and mean what you say!

Say what you mean and mean what you say!

Say what you mean and mean what you say!

“Fairness is not an attitude, it is a professional skill” – Brit Hume, American television journalist and political commentator.

Thus, spoke a frustrated journalist, and he should know.  Hume was a prominent in the USA and during his career in the press and broadcasting media he regularly covered issues, which one might consider had elements of unfairness which had hit the world headlines. The Lewinsky affair for one, and the Gulf war for another. No matter what you thought of those events, laughable and crass or the most serious of matters, we would all agree that the task for a journalist is to maintain a level of impartiality, and to present the truth no matter what. Furthermore, Hume’s point is correct – to attain fairness is something you achieve through effort and intervention, not just by thinking about it! Sadly, it is “unfair” that reaches the headlines and not “fair”.

Fresh HR Insights has a wealth of experience in fair and unfair matters in the workplace, and it is here that professional skill and behaviour is of paramount importance. Employees who have clarity from their employers in terms of channels for disciplinary and grievance matters feel respected and treated with courtesy even whilst going through the stress and messiness of a disciplinary invoked against them. This is even more so if those disciplinary proceedings have written provision giving space and time for their voice, their version of events and the right of defence and as in all policies, it is crucial that employers say what they mean and mean what they say.

Australian law does not specify what employers have to include in their disciplinary processes and the Fair Work Act of 2009 leaves it up to workplaces to develop and implement their own policies and practices. It is FreshHRInsight’s view that employers should ensure that a policy be written and circulated to all staff in any workplace and that it contain the right of an employee to have their say, at least, at the outset of the process if not at every stage.

Employers should stick to their own written policies however cheeky, disrespectful, or plain incompetent an employee has been.  Employers should not be tempted to jump the gun and race through the procedure at double quick speed, and they should not prejudge any situation before hearing all sides of the story, especially if the policy says you should not. Not following your own policy not only serves to invite appeals against any decision, it can invite potential lawsuits and tribunals and any tribunal will study your policy to ensure it has been adhered to by both employer and employee.

Fresh HR Insights has the knowledge and skill to help employers develop fair processes for both employer and employee which will serve both in the interests of workplace justice. It is important that employers say what they mean and mean what they say, and if they say to employee their voice will be heard, then that should be so.

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Christmas is coming, let’s have a party!

Christmas is coming, let’s have a party!

Christmas is coming, let’s have a party! 

Christmas Party Past

Maybe you can remember a particularly good staff Christmas Party of yesteryear.   If you believe all the stories people tell you, they could be anything from deadly dull to completely wild and abandoned!   In our experience, we have heard more memories of the fun and frivolous type.

The fancy dress party was always popular. Years ago, it was common to see red Santa figures replete with bushy white beard, green elven folk with tights and jingling hats, and Christmas fairies, with sparkling wands, all converging on the streets at night trying to flag a cab to get home – to the great amusement of passers-by.    Later, these parties became more sophisticated but no less creative.  Long cigarette holders, strings of beads, painted nails, and flapper dresses, for the 20s style costume party was a favourite fancy-dress theme as was the American gangster look of the prohibition era. Even later, with social media and virtual reality upon us, celebrity costumes took centre stage, and remain popular now.

Sadly, many Christmas parties also had a few down sides: of drunkenness – causing driving accidents and tragedy; of debauchery – ending in sexual harassment and molestation; of lairiness – leading to aggression and physical assaults on others.

Fresh HR Insights takes the view that such behaviour spoils parties, and causes great harm.  Any business, large or small, must reinforce their own policies and practices as a matter of responsibility for the protection and safety of the work force.

Christmas Party Present

Currently staff parties at Christmas time are to extend well earned celebrations to hard working staff and to cultivate good relationships between employees. They are also a thank you to all those who contribute to the company’s output and to a positive work environment.

There is fun a-plenty.  Large stylish functions are just as good as more intimate dinners in local restaurants. Dancing and singing along with a DJ is just as enjoyable as a live band.   An evening soirée with cocktails does the job just as well as a beer and burgers get together on the terrace.  Good conversation, interesting storytelling, superb wine and fabulous entertainment are the elements of a good staff party at Christmas time, and many staff thoroughly appreciate and enjoy them.

Fresh HR Insights gently reminds all its clients and any potential future clients that a great party is when all people at the party enjoy themselves.  Great fun can be had without drunkenness, debauchery or lairiness.  Staff Christmas parties are for those who wish for conviviality, good work relationships, fun, frivolity, good food and wine, and most especially good cheer.

Christmas Party Future

This one is really simple.  Please make sure there will be a Christmas Party Future. Fresh HR Insights wants all of its clients, staff, friends and family to be safe and secure this Christmas and every Christmas.  At your party, please be aware of the law and ensure your staff are aware of it, ensure there is no bullying, promote respect for each other and ask staff to look out for each other’s safety.  Above all, make sure they have fun and enjoy the parties that are yet to come.

Our FREE Christmas Gift to you –  Christmas Party Letter to Employees

What Type of Employees do you need – Permanent Full-time and Part-Time explained

What Type of Employees do you need – Permanent Full-time and Part-Time explained

What type of employees do you need?

Employees Permanent Full-time Permanent Part-Time explained. The type of employees that you choose to meet your business requirements is a very important decision. Business owners need to be aware of the legal ramifications relating to each employee type and manage them accordingly and appropriately. Businesses should follow ‘best practice’ to reduce the costs, minimise legal exposure and develop an engaged workforce. A well-designed Recruitment Process and New Starter documents also goes a long way to ensure your processes and procedures are effective. This also help integrate new employees for the long haul and not just a passer bye.

Once any employee has been hired, they must be given the Fair Work Information sheet thereby ensuring the employer meets their obligations under the FWA.

Types of Employee’s

Permanent full-time

This is the most common employee relationship. These individuals are employed on an ongoing and full-time basis. There isn’t a formal definition of permanent full-time however, it is generally taken that they work a 38-hour week or longer.  Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA), if an employee is employed on a full-time basis but there has been no agreement of their ‘ordinary hours of work’, these can be considered to be 38 hours per week. When it comes to dismissal these workers generally have access to the complete range of legal remedies unless it is explicitly stated otherwise in their award. Damages awarded to a permanent employee would typically be higher than those awarded to a casual or fixed-term employee.

Permanent part-time

There is also no formal qualification of part-time hours, however, it is understood that they generally work less than 38 hours per week. They are different to casual employees in that they typically work the same hours each week. As defined by modern awards, they work ‘reasonably predictable’ or ‘constant’ weekly hours. When it comes to dismissal these workers generally have access to the complete range of legal remedies unless it explicitly states otherwise in their award. Damages awarded to a permanent employee would typically be higher than those awarded to a casual or fixed-term employee.