Positives and COVID – No not the test – the outcomes.
Yes, I know there are many negatives, the media is covering them very effectively so you don’t need that information from me.
On a personal note though I have noticed the following
Home Based Learning – I won’t call it Homeschooling as that is a whole different game, although some have taken it that far and I applaud those who have. Either way, what I have seen in many families is greater engagement between kids and parents and between siblings. Recognition of the need for the basics and that children when following an interest will learn faster and better. Add to that the relaunch of many educational programs on television, and some children who were acting up have settled more.
Gratitude – an increased appreciation for what we have, perhaps we were taking so much for granted, and now we can realise how truly blessed many of us are. Not just for the tangible, but also for the friendships and experiences in our lives, manifesting in overtly expressing our appreciation of friends and family.
The Environment – We have all read that carbon emissions are down globally. With pauses in manufacturing and air travel coming to a halt, the planet has had a chance to breathe and heal. With international tourism wound back we see wildlife returning to previously polluted areas and even reappearing in major cities.
From a business perspective there are dynamic changes occurring that will catapult us into a better future if we are paying attention and adopting new strategies. Home based work – some interesting findings have emerged, there is less absenteeism, people are getting their allotted tasks completed more efficiently and in a better state of mind. Employers who avoided this move previously have learned that their staff will actually do the work when at home. One government office I know of only wants to have staff on site 2 days a week when this is all over, production is up why mess with that? Digital Marketing – No longer able to accommodate clients in-store, businesses are facilitating online offerings and even immersive experiences online. Those who already had an online presence are leading the way and many others are following. Direct to Consumer Brands – Removing excess levels of trade by going straight to the consumer is exploding. This adaptation will serve both the Brand and the consumer, lowing costs and prices or offering the consumer added value at the same price. Relationship marketing at it’s finest. Values Marketing – There is less of “tell them what they want to hear” and more of “We need to actively show what our Brand Values are” the public are wanting proof that brand care, no more stunts, only those with true integrity will excel. Corporate Social Responsibility – A follow on from Values Marketing, this goes deeper, companies who look after their employees, the environment, and contribute to improve social welfare are being applauded and promoted by others. Existing Customer Care – Prior to the pandemic, 44% of businesses focused primarily on new customer acquisition, despite it being five times more expensive. Marketers are finally getting this and now turning to less traditional but more effective methods, such as reward and referral programs for their existing clients. Innovation – With lockdowns, many businesses have had to reinvent themselves. We have all seen the stories about café’s and restaurants converting to takeaway business, or delivery options, even gin distilleries changing their production over to hand sanitiser. There are textile manufacturers making fabric masks, and other businesses now manufacturing medical equipment. Preparation for the Future – This is personal and business, we are all having to reassess our lives and how we will proceed. It is critical for business success to adapt and review on a constant basis, we cannot wear blinkers like Blockbuster, who refused a buyout offer from Netflix and proceeded to go broke. When we emerge from this pandemic, effective long-term strategies will be critical to brand success.
There are many businesses who believe they can be ready to kick back into production with just a few week’s notice, however, being ready is only half the task. To ensure your clients are ready to return to you, your business must be working on your customer acquisition and retention strategies now.
Remember always to find the silver linings within every challenging event.
To read more from Dee Scown check out her blog by following this link HERE or click on the logo below
What you need to know when it comes to the employee’s
When selling a business, you will probably negotiate hard on things like the price, the plant and equipment being sold, and the settlement and handover period. What you may not have thought about is what will happen to the employees of the business, and what this might cost you down the track.
This can be a serious mistake, impacting not only your hip pocket but the effective transition of the business into new hands. If you are SELLING a business, it is important to consider what impact this transfer will have on current employees. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) determines the obligations and responsibilities the seller or buyer has for current employees.
#003 Paulette McCormack has more than a decade of international and national employment relations’ experience across a multitude of industries and company sizes she is well equipped for any situation.
She holds a Masters in Human Resource Management, a Masters in Employment Relations, a Diploma in Business, a Diploma in Management and is now also a student completing a Bachelor of Law (with honours) with the sole intention of specialising in employment law.
Whilst that all seems impressive we can not look past the fact that she is a well respected and highly sought after lecturer and tutor at Griffith University in the Business school, specifically in the HR/ER courses.
Questions I’m often asked are – As a leader what happens when I find the love of my life in my workplace, can I ask them out? Can I drink with my team or crew? I have an employee who has some serious issues going on personally, can I tell my crew if they ask?and many others, I wanted to know the answers from an expert in the field.
Paulette and I discuss all these questions and more, listen in and go from surviving to thriving!
This information is given as general guidelines please check with your organisation’s policies, procedures, Human Resource Department or your ‘one up’ regarding your specific circumstances.
Can offer annual leave or unpaid leave (or LSL if applicable) if employee has no accrued paid sick leave (personal/carers leave)
• Employee is positive to COVID-19
• Employee is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is sick
• Employee is sick with any illness or injury
• Employee has to care for or support a member of their immediate family or household who is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency including, but not limited to;
o any illness o COVID-19
o school closure due to COVID-19
o Government directed isolation of child/dependant due to COVID-19 (NB does not include general coverage for own Government directed isolation as this leave is offered for the unexpected care required for the child, not for the isolation itself– see below)
No paid leave obligation
Can offer annual leave (or LSL if applicable) if employee would like to
Employee is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is not sick (i.e. has returned from overseas and feels well) *
• Employee has come in to contact with a known case of COVID-19 and is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is not sick EMPLOYER GUIDELINES & FAQS (Updated 17 March 2020) 2
• Employee has come in to contact with a suspected case of COVID-19 and is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is not sick
• Employee is stuck overseas (on a cruise ship etc) due to COVID-19
• Casual employees are not entitled to paid sick (personal/carer’s) leave. A casual employee who has to self-isolate or has contracted the Coronavirus must not attend the workplace, without additional payments.
Employee is working from home (and employer has approved this)
• Employee is getting an assessment for fitness for work under the direction of the employer; o if the result of the assessment is that the employee is sick then they revert to sick leave o if the result is that they are told to isolate then no paid leave is required (unless they are supplied with a medical certificate stating not fit for work) o if the result is they are fit for work, they should come back to work o if the employer insists they don’t return for 14 days then they should be paid ordinary pay
• Employer requests an employee to not come to work/isolate which is not in line with Government direction
• Employer closes the business/office/location using discretion (not Government directed) as an added precaution but employee’s role does not allow for working from home (i.e. works in a café, cleaner, factory worker, manual labour, mechanic etc).
• Employer closes business temporarily due to a downturn in work/business (refer to redundancy if this is a prolonged situation)
This does not yet exist for employees – however there is some talk that the Government may need to offer special paid leave (over and above annual leave and/or sick leave) for this pandemic.
Stand down (no pay)
Government-issued directive for closure (not at the discretion of the business). Seek further advice before actioning
Significant downturn in work due to impact of COVID-19 – we’d advise you openly discuss ways to mitigate this with staff such as expressions of interest from employees agreeable to temporarily reduce hours, take annual leave etc
• If this is not possible then begin consultation for redundancies.
• Guidance on the process to follow when considering redundancies can be advised by contacting email@example.com
How to support employees
Offer working from home options wherever possible
• Pay employees when no paid leave type is available to them if practical
• Offer EAP to assist with anxiety
• Communicate regularly
*The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has issued guidance on its website which suggests a
permanent employee should be paid when an employer directs them to stay at home in line with
Government advice when the employee is not sick (ie self-isolation after returning from overseas).
This conflicts with many commentators’ views that an employee who is required to stay away
from work due to Government advice is not entitled to be paid. The FWO says:
“Where an employer directs a full-time or part-time employee to stay home in line with advice, for example in line with the Australian Government’s health and quarantine advice, and the employee is not sick with coronavirus, the employee should ordinarily be paid while the direction applies”
We will provide further advice when the FWO clarifies its position.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – The information contained has been produced in good faith based on the Fresh HR Insights Pty Ltd professional interpretation of the relevant legislation and guidance from government and health authorities as of 11 March 2020. As the situation and our understanding of COVID-19 develops, it likely that recommendations from government and health authorities will change. Accordingly, we can make no guarantee that the information within this document entirely corresponds with the position of authorities at the time you are using it. We encourage you to refer to the resources and authorities provided at the bottom of this post for the latest updates and recommendations.
This post should not be taken as a statement of the law and it is intended as a guide only, and we do not accept any liability for loss or damage sustained on the basis of this information.
BUSINESS CONDITIONS AND DOWNTURN
When can I stand employees down without pay?
Under Fair Work legislation, a permanent employee can only be stood down without pay in limited circumstances. In the case of Coronavirus (COVID-19), if the business is open to trade then you will not be able to stand employees down without pay. However, if the business is not open to trade for a reason that is beyond your control, this may amount to a stoppage of work and allow you to stand employees down without pay. If your business is covered by an industrial instrument such as a modern award or enterprise agreement, it may contain additional terms relating to stand-downs. Before doing so, you should first consider alternative work options, such as asking employees to perform work at another store or work from home if practicable.
If you are unsure of whether your situation permits you to stand down employees with pay, please don’t hesitate to contact Fresh HR Insights Pty Ltd on 0452471960
See also: Absence from Employment
ABSENCE FROM EMPLOYMENT
If I direct an employee to self-isolate, do I have to pay them?
Yes.If you have directed a full-time or part-time employee to self-isolate because they have exhibited symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), then you should ask them to self-isolate and they may take personal leave until they are no longer exhibiting symptoms. You could also request that the employee seek medical clearance that their symptoms are not as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and depending on the result of this, they may not need to self-isolate. If a full-time or part-time employee is absent from work at your direction, and not because they are required by the Australian Government to self-isolate, then you are required to pay them at least their base rate of pay for their contracted hours during this period.
If an employee is self-isolating at the direction of the Australian Government, do I have to pay them?
If the employee can perform their work remotely or from home, then you should pay them for the hours that they work. If they cannot work remotely, and they have been required to self-isolate by the Government, you do not have to pay them. However, employees may in some circumstances access personal leave, or you may agree to allow them to access annual leave, in order to maintain their income.
See also Can I direct employees to take personal leave? and Can I direct employees to take annual leave?
Can I direct employees to take personal leave?
There is no power under Fair Work legislation for an employer to direct an employee to take personal leave. An employee is not strictly entitled to take personal leave unless they are unfit for work because of an illness or injury – that is, unless they are actually displaying symptoms of illness. However, employees may agree to access their personal leave in order to maintain their income, even if they are in self-isolation as a precautionary measure only.
When are employees entitled to take personal leave?
Permanent employees are entitled to take paid personal/carers’ leave if:
they are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) illness; or
they are caring for a member of their household or immediate family.
Permanent and casual employees are entitled to two days’ unpaid carers’ leave per permissible occasion to take care of a member of their household or immediate family who is unwell. As these are minimum entitlements, employers can at their discretion elect to allow employees to access paid personal leave in excess of what has been accrued, or to access additional periods of unpaid leave. We have noticed that a number of employers are choosing to pay their casual and independent contractors during this time however that is a business by business and case by case situation and not an obligation.
Can I direct employees to take annual leave?
In general, annual leave is taken by agreement between you and the employee. Employees covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement may be directed to take annual leave, but only in the circumstances prescribed by the award or agreement. In most cases, these circumstances are limited to situations where the employee has accrued and excessive leave balance. If an employee is not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement, you may require the employee to take annual leave if the direction is reasonable. Whether the requirement is reasonable will depend on the circumstances of each particular case. If an employee does not have sufficient annual leave accrued, you may wish to consider granting annual leave in advance. However, modern awards and enterprise agreements may stipulate specific requirements for the provision of annual leave in advance.
Can employees access annual leave while in isolation?
Yes. If an employee is required to self-isolate for Coronavirus (COVID-19), and they wish to access paid annual leave, you can agree to this request.
If an employee refuses to self-isolate, can I direct them to not attend work if they aren’t presenting any symptoms (for example, if they have recently travelled)?
You can direct an employee to not attend work as long as the direction is reasonable. You should be guided by the principle that it will be reasonable to direct an employee to not attend work if:
they are returning from a country or region considered by the Australian Government posing a higher risk of transmission; or
have been in close contact with a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
You should consider whether the employee should be asked to work from home while in quarantine, otherwise if they refuse to access any paid leave entitlements they may nevertheless be entitled to be paid for the period that they are directed by you to not attend work.
What are my obligations if someone is directed by the Australian Government to self-isolate?
The Australian Government has certain powers under biosecurity legislation, including the power to direct individuals to remain at their place of residence or be isolated in a medical facility. In general, these powers are only to be used as a last resort to limit the spread of the virus. Currently, the Australian Government requires persons to isolate themselves for a period of 14 days if they:
have left, or travelled through, mainland China or Iran in the previous 14 days; or
have left, or transited through, the Republic of Korea on or after 5 March 2020.
The Australian Government also requires persons who have been in close contact with a proven case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of the last contact with the confirmed case. If an employee meets these circumstances, they are required to self-isolate even if they are not specifically directed to do so by the Australian Government. If an employee cannot attend work as a result of these requirements, they should be encouraged to access personal leave or annual leave.
Can I ask someone to work remotely whilst in quarantine?
If an employee is able to work remotely whilst in isolation, this option ought to be explored as it allows the employee to remain an active participant in the workforce and maintain their usual income without being required to access their paid leave entitlements. However, if an employee is in self-isolation and accessing annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, or unpaid leave, then you should not ask them to work.
How do I manage productivity if someone is working remotely?
In essence, when managing productivity for employees working from home, you should take similar steps to manage employee productivity as you would in the workplace. That being said, you will have to adapt your approach to account for your inability to visually supervise them and the potential for miscommunication.
A few easy steps employers can take to more effectively manage remote workers include:
Set clear expectations
Clearly outline what you want, when you want it done by, how you want it done, and ensure you encourage employees to clarify anything they are not clear on. Avoid assumptions and vague or ambiguous directions.
Maintain regular communication
Organise regular catch-ups, and try to maintain multiple lines of communication in addition to email, such as voice calls, and instant messaging.
Provide the appropriate technology
Where possible, provide employees working remotely with the technology required to do so. Productivity is likely to suffer where an employee has technical issues, and this is more likely where they rely on personal laptops or home internet.
What happens to casual employees if they are required to go into isolation?
Casual employees are not entitled to paid leave, as this is intended to be accommodated in their higher rate of pay. Employers may choose to make discretionary payments to casual employees during this period, however, any such payment would be purely discretionary and not required by law. It is recommended that independent legal advice be obtained before making any such payment, as these may constitute as evidence that the employee is not truly a casual employee, but a part-time or full-time employee, if not managed correctly. As at the date of post various options to assist casual employees are being considered by the Australian Government, however, no formal policy position has been announced.
Might the disruption caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) interfere with casual conversion rights?
It is possible that the disruption caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) could interfere with casual conversion rights under modern awards and enterprise agreements, where applicable. Specifically, the disruption caused may:
disrupt a casual employee’s pattern of work to such an extent that they no longer satisfy the eligibility requirements for casual conversion; or
result in reasonable grounds for refusing a request for casual conversion.
It should be noted that notwithstanding this, employers can still agree that employee convert from casual to permanent employment if this is appropriate for the needs of their business.
Can I dismiss an employee who refuses to self-isolate?
No. However, if an employee refuses to self-isolate, you may wish to issue them with a reasonable and lawful direction not to attend the workplace until the self-isolation period has passed for the employee. The employee should be paid for their contracted hours at their base rate of pay. If an employee does not follow this reasonable and lawful direction, then this will amount to misconduct, and may provide a valid reason for dismissal. However, employers should always ensure they follow a disciplinary process that affords the employee with natural justice and procedural fairness when considering disciplinary action against an employee that may result in termination of their employee.
Any termination or other disciplinary action because an employee is required to self-isolate, whether they have contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) or not, may be prohibited under anti-discrimination laws. Before taking any such action, it is recommended that you seek separate legal advice.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
What steps should I take to protect my employees?
Work health and safety laws in Australia require employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace. You must identify hazards at the workplace, and take steps to eliminate or reduce any risks.
To ensure employers are complying with their obligations under WHS laws, SafeWork Australia recommends employers:
Employees who contract the virus at work may be eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim if they contract the virus due to insufficient measures being taken by their employer to ensure their health and safety.
See also: Can a person claim workers’ compensation if they contract Coronavirus (COVID-19) while at work? and Should I quarantine goods coming from China before sale?
Do I have to provide my employees with personal protective equipment (PPE)? (i.e. face masks)
It will depend on your workplace, but depending on the risk present in your workplace you may need to. Employers have a duty to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. Accordingly, if the nature of the workplace poses a significant risk of an employee contracting the virus, then an employer may need to consider making PPE available to their employees.
If an employer decides that face masks or other forms of PPE are appropriate to minimize the risk of an employee contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19), then they will need to provide these masks to employees, and cannot expect employees to purchase their own.
Employers should also:
select PPE that is:
suitable with regard to the nature of the work, and how Coronavirus (COVID-19) is transmitted; and
For example, surgical masks may be adequate, but depending on our latest understanding of how the virus transmits, it may be more appropriate to provide P2/N95 masks.
a suitable size and fit for your employees to wear;
provide information and training on how to use, wear, store and/or maintain the PPE properly;
maintain, repair, and replace PPE to ensure employees are provided with clean, hygienic, and functioning PPE;
ensure that employees use or wear the PPE provided.
However, if employers believe that the risk to employees was such that the use of masks was appropriate then employers should also consider whether it is even safe for the shopfront to continue to operate. Particularly as PPE is the least effective form of risk prevention in the workplace, while the elimination of the risk is the most effective.
If an employer believes there is a lower risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in their workplace, they may just wish to make use of other risk reduction approaches, such as ensuring employees have access to hand-washing facilities and soap or alcohol-based hand rub to reduce the risk of infection.
Can a person claim workers’ compensation if they contract Coronavirus (COVID-19) while at work?
Yes. It is possible that an employee could claim workers’ compensation if they contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the course of their employment, and their employment was a significant contributing factor. However, as the spread of CCoronavirus (COVID-19) continues, it may be more difficult for the employee to prove that they contracted the virus in the course of employment, as opposed to them contracting it from the wider community outside of work.
As much as we hate to admit it, the flu season is one of the worst seasons that affect workplace productivity everywhere. Over the years, several companies have recorded severe cases of winter flu that forced many of their employees to call in for sick leave. Although calling in for leave is an efficient way to keep the spread of the infection in check, it affects the overall productivity of the company. How to have a healthy workplace the flu season.
Since the flu season does not discriminate, the best strategy for companies is to be proactive and come up with measures to limit the impact of winter flu on employee well being and corporate well being. Seeing that the flu season will start soon, it’s never too soon to consider taking steps to prepare against the effect.
Interestingly, some employees prefer to resume for work even when they are sick. This is often because such employee believes that they should not be too sick to show up for work. Although this is an encouraging sight: knowing that your employees are committed to the cause of the company so much that they are willing to work even when they have flu, you must, however, strive to maintain the health of other team members and help such employee manage their flu.
There are several steps and tips that a company can employ to sustain a healthy team and protect team members even when some members of the team are sick. The way to eliminate the risk of infection by healthy workers is to limit their exposure to contacting the flu. This might seem impossible since it is difficult to eliminate physical contacts like shaking of hands from regular office work, however, it is achievable.
Below are some ways to keep the workplace healthy during the winter flu season.
Start with a suggestion of working from home: although some employees still show up for work when they are not feeling well, you can advise them to take sick leave. Some would, however, refuse to take the leave because they don’t want to disappoint their team or let them down. As much as their intention is good, make them understand that they can still support their team members from home. If you are unable to convince them otherwise, do not stop them from coming in for work.
Vaccination: Vaccination is one of the numerous ways that you can employ to protect the healthy employees from contacting the winter flu. Such vaccines provide much-needed antibodies for protection against infections.
Maintain good hygiene: An improvement to the basic office hygiene is another step to prevent the spread of winter flu and maintain a healthy team. This includes sanitizing the surfaces, equipment, and other work tools several times before the end of the day to ensure that they are germ-free. companies should also provide for the supply of tissues, and sanitizers that infected employees can make use of during office hours.
Teach good office hygiene: Companies can also go the extra mile by teaching their employees about basic etiquettes like covering the mouth when they sneeze or cough, disposing of used tissues appropriately, washing the hands with soap and water, how to blow their nose, etc. This will go a long way in curbing infection in the workplace.
Onsite preventive medication: immediately winter flu starts to hit hard, companies should introduce emergency kit in the office to cater for infected employees. It costs little and goes a long way in ensuring the health of the workforce.
Develop a policy about workplace health and infections: design a clear structure that addresses sickness in the workplace and how it is to be addressed. The policy should cover who employees should report to when they feel sick, the sickness level that the company can take, and how sick leaves can be enforced if the need ever arises.
It is encouraging to discover employees that are willing to come to work even when they are not feeling too good. As much as this is good, it should not put other members of the team at risk. When employees decide not to stay at home, organizations should implement the suggestions above to keep the workplace healthy.
Paid sick & carer’s leave – An employee can take paid sick leave when they can’t work because of a personal illness or injury. This can include stress and pregnancy related illnesses. An employee can take paid carer’s leave to care for or support a member of their immediate family or household who is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency.
Who gets paid sick and carer’s leave? – All employees except casuals are entitled to paid sick and carer’s leave. Employees may have to give notice or evidence to get paid for sick and carer’s leave.
How much paid sick and carer’s leave does an employee get? – Sick and carer’s leave comes under the same leave entitlement. It’s also known as personal / carer’s leave.
10 days each year for full-time employees
pro rata of 10 days each year depending on their hours of work for part-time employees.
A registered agreement can set out different entitlements to paid sick and carer’s leave, but it can’t be less than the minimum above.
How does paid sick and carer’s leave accumulate? – Full-time and part-time employees accumulate sick and carer’s leave during a year of work. It starts to build up from an employee’s first day of work and is based on the number of hours they work. The balance at the end of each year carries over to the next year.
Sick and carer’s leave accumulates when an employee is on:
paid leave such as paid annual leave and paid sick and carer’s leave
community service leave including jury duty
long service leave.
Sick and carer’s leave does not accumulate when the employee is on:
unpaid annual leave
unpaid sick/carer’s leave
unpaid parental leave
unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
How much paid sick and carer’s leave can an employee take? – An employee can take as much paid sick or carer’s leave as they have accumulated. There is no minimum or maximum amount of paid sick or carer’s leave that can be taken at a time.
How do you know when you’re actually ready to start taking on an employee?
The main thing when you are thinking about bringing a new person on is are you financially ready to bring on a person on board. We suggest as small business owners think about how much you are going to pay them. Make sure it’s within the award as well, and make sure its the right award including all the allowances such a leave loading, broken shifts etc – that’s why it’s important. And you need to put that money aside for a period of three months. Put it into a high interest savings account and then just save it all up. And if you can afford to pay that every single week for three months, then it looks like you’ll be financially in a position to employ someone.
There’s nothing worse than bringing someone on board 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, cause you’ve had to think about it as well, then you’ve got a little investment pot as well. You will also need to think about what kind of employee – casual, part-time or full-time. If it’s occasional (casual), then you’ve got a bit of more flexibility. But if you’re a permanent part-time/permanent full-time, you’ve got a notice period to pay as well. You want to make sure that you can afford that, that you’ve actually got the funds there. You don’t want to back yourself into a corner, that’s for sure.
You also need to think about
Finding the right candidate
registering as an employer
carrying out employee ID and background checks
providing a contact and employment statement
payroll and correct payments to the awards
Sick pay, holiday entitlements and public holidays
The type of employees that you choose is a very important decision and you need to be aware of the legal ramifications relating to each and manage them accordingly and appropriately. Follow ‘best practice’ to reduce the costs, minimize legal exposure and develop an engaged workforce.
Types of employees
Non-employees such as independent contractor
Labour hire workers
Your business has its own set of unique operational requirements and what meets your needs won’t necessarily meet the needs of another. You can find more details in our fact sheet, Grab it by using the link below.
Energising your workplace into 2018 and beyond. Are you ready?
A New Year’s resolution to start anew with Fresh HR Insights.
When it comes to starting afresh there is nothing like the New Year! 2017 marks the end of a tumultuous year for a great many parts of the world, no less in its impact than the year before it. 2017 saw Trump’s official swearing in as President of the USA, the UK activating Article 50, a new young President of France emerging, rioting in Turkey, mass killing of Rohingya citizens in Myanmar, standoff between North Korea and the USA, continuing fighting in Syria, renewed attacks in Iraq, China’s increasing economic might and electoral issues in Germany. Don’t we all need a change?
Well, 2018 is the ideal opportunity to ring some positive changes for all of us. We at Fresh HR Insights suggest that you start somewhere local, where you can have real impact – and not try and change the whole world, which would, after all, only result in deep depression when you fail!
Your workplace is a great place to start by energising your staff, helping them regain motivation and momentum and generally adding a new lease of life to the team pulse of your company for the coming year. Since we spend a sizeable third of a significant chunk of our lives in one kind of work environment or another, it is sensible to take every opportunity possible to make that time as worthwhile as possible. It is a time to reconnect with people who are carrying the load, re-establish why they are here, show them how valuable they are and put a spicy new step into their stride when they come through the door each new day.
Fresh HR Insights suggests that all employers start 2018 by ensuring their staff, at all levels of employ, are aware of their rights under the law and that your workplace supports those rights.
The National Employment Standards (NES) sets out what an employee’s minimum entitlements are and all employers should at the least meet these. Registered agreements or employment contracts can provide additional entitlements but less than those outlines in the NES, or the award that applies. Make sure your workplace is clear on what status your employees hold. This means defining properly how your employees work for you, either full or part time, casual or probationary, shift work and so on. Make sure holiday leave and sickness terms and conditions are clear, as well as maternity and paternity entitlements. For employees these things matter a lot, and if there is any indication that employers are negligent or careless in these respects, you will have a discontented work force.
Pay need hardly be mentioned, but fair and correct rates, and equal remuneration for comparable jobs between men and women should be a foregone conclusion.
Being consistent in these regards, means your employees know that you have paid attention to these details on their behalf and you will reap the rewards for this care.
Fresh HR Insights will help your workplace stay abreast of employment law so that your staff team are confident and ready for the challenge of the year ahead. Make sure your staff are on your side!
Abandonment of employment usually refers to a situation where an employee fails to attend work for no reason know to the Employer, and it is reasonable to conclude that the Employee no longer wishes to work for the Company.
CAUTION – Abandonment of Employment, Have they or haven’t they?
Importance for Businesses to use Social Media Platforms
Social media is defined as a website or application that enables users to create, share content and participate in social networking. Studies undertaken in 2014 found that 71% of adults use Facebook, 23% of them also use Twitter, 26% use Instagram, 28% use Pintrest and 28% use LinkedIn.
Over the last few weeks i have been having several conversations with clients about the importance of having a Social Media policy so that the expectations are very clear. With the modern world driven by social media it is more important than ever to get this right. Who remembers the time when we left school at 3pm and that was it……….. we saw our mates the next day or made a telephone call. I remember the phone in the hall of our house and pulling the lead into my room so i could talk to friends. Now we never disconnect from school, friends, work and well everything really. we leave school and walk away texting, tweeting, face booking and even snap chatting. It never ends.
Outsourcing has evolved into a strategic option for businesses of all sizes. Often seen as a threat by employees and an opportunity by organisations, outsourcing is now standard practice in many organisations. Its focus has shifted from the simple shifting of a process to a locally-based third party organisation to the global activity of offshoring and the outsourcing of entire functional areas, such as human resources.
On the surface the benefits of outsourcing seem not only straightforward but also considerable. In addition to the driver of cost-savings, there are many other elements that lead to a consideration of outsourcing, in particular the need for flexibility as demand for products or services rises and falls, and ways of delivering them improve. Experience shows, however, that there are many pitfalls, dangers and costs.
The below checklist is for those who must address the decision of whether to outsource or not, and if so, what and how to outsource. Encompassed are the stages in the outsourcing process leading up to drawing up and testing a contract. The key areas to address are highlighted, but further legal advice should be sort for all contractual and employment law issues.
There has been a trend towards regarding diversity as diversity of thought rather than diversity of demographics, according to a presenter at a recent conference.
The paper was delivered at the 2012 Women in Management Conference conducted by Macquarie University in Sydney on 12 and 13 July 2012.
Juliet Bourke, human capital partner at Deloitte, said that ‚ ≤diversity’ means inclusion and recognising that everyone has a valid point of view that they should be allowed to contribute. The Noah’s Ark metaphor of every demographic group merely being represented at the workplace is inadequate; behaviour at the workplace must be genuinely inclusive.
Know your own stereotypes
Bourke used the metaphor of a ‚ diversity iceberg, in which certain attributes of people are clearly visible but many others ‚ such as talents, sexual orientation, carer’s responsibilities, education, values and thought processes ‚ are not obvious. Of the visible attributes, the most instantly identified one is race, followed by position in the organisation hierarchy, then gender.
Stereotyped reactions result from identification of personal attributes, leading to bias that is often unconscious. Behaviours of others also send cues that can reinforce stereotypes. A stereotype is a pattern of thinking, and can be either positive or negative. Past personal experiences also strongly influence what people think.
To encourage diversity, it is important for people to be able to identify their own stereotypes and then manage around them. Bourke described a commercially available tool, the Implicit Association Test supplied by Harvard University, US, that enables users to identify what they really think about other people.
Common types of unconscious bias
The most common unconscious behaviors that act as barriers to diversity are:
homophobic‚ being attracted to people similar to yourself because of a desire to connect with others, which can be awkward in situations such as recruitment interviews
confirmation bias ‚ looking for evidence to confirm a viewpoint you have already formed
attribution error ‚ categorizing of ‚ in groups and ‚ out groups
Bourke concluded by saying that diversity management requires a holistic organisation approach. People need to be able to understand their own behaviours that act as barriers (e.g. those in the list above). Above all, behaving inclusively is the goal.
Identifying the real reasons for bias
Elizabeth Raper, a barrister, emphasized the importance of digging deep to uncover the real reason for having biases and reacting in stereotyped ways. This can be difficult, and real reasons are often not discussed or even explored. Raper said that it requires thinking very critically about how decisions are made, and managing perceptions about bias. The latter will require some regular and very frank conversations.
She reflected on her courtroom experiences to add that women are often very harsh judges of other women, but are usually allowed to get away with it.
Further information For more information about this conference, visit the Macquarie University conference website.
With evidence that employee turnover is on the rise again, what do we really know about effective retention strategies? Not as much as we need to, but enough to realize that generic solutions are not the answer, according to presenters at a recent seminar.
The seminar discussed state-of-the-art research into retention strategies and also provided a case study of a large retail organisation.
Turnover: how big a problem?
Dr Louise Metcalf, from Macquarie University and Pax Leader Labs, quoted surveys by the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and Talent Drain that recorded labour turnover for all reasons (including redundancy and retirement) as increasing from 18% in 2008 to 25% in 2010. The rate varied widely between sectors in 2010 (eg 37% in Retail and 19% in Mining. Metcalf added that the overall cost of replacing and employee is increasing).
A general observation was that many employees have remained cautious about seeking other jobs because of recent memory of the global financial downturn of 2008‚ 2009, however, many of those employees have ‚ ’emotionally resigned’ from their jobs. Also, some employees who had wanted to retire have reluctantly decided to remain working for longer because the downturn reduced their superannuation entitlements and forced them to postpone their plans.
Theories of retention: not much help
Metcalf analysed various research studies into retention, but found the results to be inconclusive and not very helpful. She claimed this demonstrated that the issue of retention was much more complex than any generic solution is able to cope with.
Earlier analyses tended to be along the lines of‚ ‘it’s not us, it’s you’, with focus on issues such as job satisfaction, employee commitment and person versus organisation fit. Things have now moved the opposite way to‚ ‘it’s not you, it’s us’. This takes into account issues such as diversity, remuneration, group job satisfaction, organisation support, perceptions of procedural justice, alleviating work versus family conflict, career development, employment security, autonomy, union presence at the workplace and a learning (as distinct from training) focus. While it is true that successful attention to any of those factors can contribute positively towards retention, Metcalf said that this list is simply too big and too complex for a simple analysis. She claimed that so far there have not been enough studies of retention and most of those that have occurred have been too generalised to be of much value. Another problem is that researchers have tended to bundle groups of solutions together, again with inconclusive results.
So what might actually work?
Each organisation is unique and requires its own solution. The trouble with many commercially available tools such as surveys is that they do not take this into account and are too simplistic. For similar reasons, bench-marking is a flawed strategy.
Metcalf recommended the following approach instead:
Focus on the full employment lifespan of each employee ‚ from induction to retirement ‚ and adjust your strategy and employer branding to suit the employee’s changing circumstances.
To do so requires an intensive one-on-one approach to keep in touch with what is important to employees and why they choose to stay.
Focus on your top talent employees, instead of employees across the board. They are the ones that it is most important to retain.
Identify the factors in these key employees that both drive their performance and encourage them to stay.
Identify the psychological contract with each key employee and then use your employer branding to manage their expectations.
To summarise, focus on the unique aspects of your organisation and each individual employee.
Caryn Katsikogianis, general manager HR ‚ Supermarkets, Woolworths, outlined the retention strategies of her employer, an organisation with 190,000 employees spread over 3000 work sites and with 2700 store managers.
Katsikogianis made the point that any retention policies and programs are only as effective as the managers who have to implement them; therefore, Woolworths makes it clear that talent development and retention are a management responsibility and not an HR one. Therefore, the focus is on building the capability of those managers.
Woolworths has adopted the following strategy:
It identified the core leadership qualities as being humble, principled, responsible, purposeful, composed and open. Strategic qualities flowing from these are the need to be visionary, empowering, customer-centric, disciplined and collaborative.
Managers need to understand the importance and contribution of high employee engagement, and the factors that affect it.
A 360-degree feedback tool focuses on the leadership qualities and identifies what managers need to do about them.
Forums and networks are arranged for new employees to meet each other. They are also supported by buddies and transitional coaches for their first 90 days.
An online engagement survey of all employees is conducted, replacing previous regional ones. The first one (just completed) attracted a 40‚ ¨50% response rate.
The point that managers must take responsibility for talent development and retention, not HR, is repeatedly reinforced.
Executives have quarterly meetings with the CEO at which they are required to discuss their talent management initiatives, including what they have been doing and who (if anyone) they have lost.
To make work more meaningful, Woolworths shows each employee how his/her job is linked to the organisation strategy, and what that strategy means for the individual.
Opportunities for project work and relief work in higher positions (such as fill-ins for annual leave) are regularly provided.
There is an emphasis on cross-divisional career paths, both to improve the career depth of employees and to emphasise that multiple career opportunities are available to them.
Further information: Article sourced from Workplace Info (02/08/2012) www.workplaceInfo.com.au – The seminar was conducted by the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) in Sydney on 27 July 2012. More information is available from AHRI.