Good News For Employers Employing Casuals
Did you know?
The Federal Government has introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Casual Loading Offset) Regulations 2018 in response to the recent Workpac v Skene (2018) decision.
The Casual Loading Offset Regulation provides that an employer can make a claim to have the casual loading payments made to the employee taken into account when working out the entitlements owing to the employee for the relevant National Employment Standards (NES) entitlements.
This can occur where the following criteria are successfully met:
- The employee is employed on a casual basis;
- The employee is paid a casual loading which is 'clearly identifiable as an amount paid to compensate the person for not having one or more relevant NES entitlements' (for example, annual leave or personal leave);
- Despite being classified by the employer as a causal, the employee was in reality a full-time or part-time employee for some or all of their employment for the purposes of the NES;
- The person makes a claim to be paid for one or more of the relevant NES entitlements that they didn't receive for all or some of the time they were incorrectly classified as a casual.
This regulation came into effect on 18 December 2018. However, it applies to all employment periods including those that occurred wholly or partly before that date.
Should you be unsure of the circumstances regrading an employee's employement status, please email us on email@example.com to learn more about employing causals.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is calling on workers who suspect they were underpaid in previous jobs to check if they are entitled to a share in unclaimed wages.
The agency is currently holding over $2.5 million in trust for around 10,000 people who were underpaid in a former job but cannot be located.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said compliance and enforcement activities regularly find underpayments of both current and former employees.
“If an employee is owed money but has left the business and can’t be located, these entitlements are held in trust until we are able to find them,” Ms Parker says.
“We make extensive efforts to locate underpaid former employees, using internal investigation records, government public resources, social media and online tools.”
Since 2010, the Fair Work Ombudsman has reunited almost $2 million in unclaimed wages with over 1,800 workers.
In one matter, our efforts to track down a former security guard led to over $21,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements paid to the worker’s family, after it was discovered the former employee had sadly passed away.
Similarly, we located a former employee via the electoral roll to pass on over $200 in unpaid wages, while more than $6,000 was returned to a former trolley collector tracked down by the regulator.
“Many workers leave their jobs without even knowing that they were underpaid so all workers should check whether they are entitled to unclaimed wages,” Ms Parker says.
“With an average entitlement around $250, anyone who thinks they may have been short-changed in a former job should visit the FWO website to make a claim.”
Recently the FWC announced an increase of 3.5% to the minimum wages.
New Financial Year - Restart your HR and WHS Management
EOFY is a busy time for businesses. It’s time to close off the old year and start afresh in 2018-2019.
It’s not all accounting - your business needs a focus on HR and WHS at this time:
- Have you reviewed your wages and salaries to ensure you meet the new minimum rates effective from 1 July?
- Are your employment agreements up to date? Do you need new contracts?
- Is 2019 the year to get your management of sub-contractors up to scratch?
- How will you ensure WHS conformance this year? Are your audits up to date?
As a Director, Officer or Manager of a business you need to ensure that your management of these issues is diligent. That’s where we can assist. Use Business Savvy to check your HR and WHS or to review and build your procedures.
A Business Savvy Workplace Protector Subscription can give resources and direction to your HR and WHS activities. Our subscriptions are flexible and built to suit your specific needs.
Don’t want a full subscription? – Let us know what you need. Our services are also available on a fee for service basis.
At Business Savvy we will not lock you in to long term contracts that don’t serve your needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to discuss your HR and WHS needs and obtain a quote for services that suit your business.
Australian minimum wage increased by Fair Work Commission to $719.20 a week!
The Fair Work Commission has announced a 3.5% increase to minimum wages following its 2018 Annual Wage Review. The increase will apply to base rates of pay from the first full pay period starting 1 July 2018
The change only applies to employees that get their pay rates from national minimum wage, a modern award or in some cases a registered agreement.
What does it mean for Small Business Owners?
According to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO James Pearson, the increase would be a risk for employers. ‘This minimum wage increase will intensify pressure on people running small businesses, many of whom are already struggling,’ said Pearson. ‘There will be a point at which they will wonder why they bother if wages are raised by more than prices, and business overheads are too high.’
One of Australia’s Biggest Fall Prevention Standard has changed!
The new edition AS 1657:2018, Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, construction and installation provides technical specifications and criteria for fixed platforms, walkways, guardrails, stairways, ladders and permanently configured (but movable) platforms that are used in the workplace, to reduce the risks to the safety of users.
The updated Australian Standard clarifies a number of clauses that were previously confusing readers and it provides greater clarity around some of the figures used.
This fall prevention Standard is used extensively by safety professionals, designers, builders and the wider trade community to help establish and maintain safety in and around the workplace and public space. The Standard applies to all mezzanines and the stairway access to the mezzanine.
What Does the New Mandatory Data Breach Notification Law Mean for Small Business Operators?
Following the recent Facebook data breach scandal, BuzzFeed News dropped the bombshell that one of Australia’s biggest four banks – Commonwealth bank was keeping ministers in the dark about its massive privacy breach losing 12 million customers personal financial histories.
Commencing February 2018, entities subject to the Privacy Act have a mandatory obligation to report on what are called ‘eligible data breaches’ to both the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and any individuals who may potentially affected by a data breach.
What are some examples of data breach that could affect an entity?
Examples of a data breach include when:
- A device containing customers’ personal information is lost or stolen
- A database containing personal information is hacked
- A personal information is mistakenly provided to the wrong person
As business operators, what are the changes to prevent data breach?
- Getting to know what data you have and where it is kept.
- Looking at your existing data privacy and security policies and procedures to make sure that you are in a position to respond appropriately and quickly in the event of a data breach.
- Personnel are aware of the changes- undergo training such as identify when an eligible data breach may have occurred and how to follow an entity’s policy.
- Be aware of your relationship with the suppliers who process personal information on your behalf and amending and bulking up on your privacy clauses.
What should an entity do if it becomes aware of a data breach?
Prepare a statement that, at a minimum, contains:
- Your company’s contact details
- If relevant, the identity and contact details of any entity that jointly holds the same information in respect of which the eligible data breach has occured.
- A description of the data breach
- The kinds of information concerned
- Recommendation regards to minimising the harm to individuals who may potentially affected by a data breach
- Print a copy of this statement to the OAIC
- Notify individuals by either using a direct contact method or publish the statement on its websites
Please contact our advice line (0498 222 202) for more information.
Small Business Owner Operators with an annual turnover less than 3M excluded.
- You are a SBO that holds health information and provides a health service
- You are a SBO that trades in personal information and related to an APP entity
- You are a SBO that is a credit reporting bodies and an employee association registered under the Fair Work Act (Registered Organisation) 2009
- You are a SBO that has ‘opted in’ to Australian Privacy Principle coverage under s 6EA of the Privacy Act.
Click here to see more information
HEAT OF THE MOMENT RESIGNATION
DID YOU KNOW?
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 ('Act') a person has been dismissed if that person resigned and was forced to do so because of conduct of the Employer.
This means that an Employee who resigns in the heat of the moment may actually be deemed to have been dismissed and therefore is protected by the Unfair Dismissal provisions of the Act.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Although the Employee has 'indicated' that they are resigning from their employment, it does not mean that they intended to do so. The resignation may simply be an impulsive reaction and therefore the Employee has not had the opportunity to consider the implications of the resignation.
It is important that the Employer is certain with their interpretation of the circumstances surrounding the termination. The steps below are a guide as to how certainty can be achieved:
- Conduct a close review of the events leading up to the resignation including the conduct of managers and supervisors.
- Allow the Employee a reasonable time to consider the resignation.
- Have a follow-up discussion with the Employee to confirm their intention regarding resignation.
- Once termination is confirmed, set out terms in writing and provide a copy to the Employee.
- Finalise the employment, which includes payment of the termination entitlements in accordance with the Modern Award / Fair Work Act 2009.
- With any termination / dismissal, it is open to the Employee to lodge an application for an Unfair Dismissal Remedy with the Fair Work Commission.
In a dispute, a 'heat of the moment' resignation would likely be seen as a 'special circumstance' and therefore the termination is not a result of the Employees resignation but is in fact a dismissal.
Where the termination is a 'dismissal' considering the conduct of the Employer, likely outcomes will be compensation or reinstatement. Compensation in this jurisdiction may be up to 26 weeks pay.
In order to ensure that the termination is a resignation and not a dismissal the Employer should:
- Take all reasonable steps to clarify the intention of the Employee.
- Always confirm the clarification of the intention in writing, along with the terms of the termination.
Should you be unsure of the circumstances regarding an Employees resignation, please seek our advice.
ALCOHOL & HIGH RISK WORK
The person conducting a business or undertaking (employer or principal contractor) has a primary duty to ensure that risks in the workplace are eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable and if it is not reasonably practicable
to do so, the risks must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.
Health and safety risks exist in all work environments and work practices. However, high risk tasks by their nature, present significant risk to health and safety and therefore will often require more stringent controls in order to adequately minimise the risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
The most effective way to demonstrate that you take reasonably practicable action towards meeting your WHS / OHS obligations is to have clear, documented policies and procedures that outline the management of the risks associated with drugs and alcohol in your business.
To assist you with the management of Drugs and Alcohol we have uploaded a template policy that you can customise to reflect your business practices. We also provide an Advice Line where we can answer any questions you may have.
Click here to download the latest Fitness for Work Policy - Drug and Alcohol Management.
Click here to download the full Article.
If you need our assistance, please Contact Us.
FWA Compliance Check
Preparation is not only for the Company's who may be audited. It is important for all Company's to have peace of mind that all their employment practices are in accordance with the Fair Work Act.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Fair Work Inspectors will select businesses at random within the areas and investigate whether Employers are providing entitlements to their employees in accordance with the applicable Modern Award or legislative instrument. The Spot Check will include an investigation to assess compliance around:
- Minimum hourly rates;
- Overtime and penalty rates;
- Loadings; and
- Meal breaks.
The Spot Check will also include a review of your compliance to record-keeping and pay-slip obligations. This means that you must be able to produce records of this nature, if requested.
We feel it important to highlight that should your business be included in this Spot Check campaign, they will request certain records as evidence of your conformance.
You are required to provide these records as requested and may also be asked to provide a formal response should any non-conformance be identified.
This process can be time consuming and it is open to the Fair Work Ombudsman to use this information for further action against the Employer.
If your business gets Audited and you need our assistance, please Contact Us.
We recommend that you invest the time to develop a comprehensive induction program for all your workers, now!
One benefit of an organised and efficient induction program is that your new worker is likely to achieve the maximum level of productivity as early as possible. Secondly, the treatment the new worker receives on the first day often influences their perceptions of you as their employer and your business.
The Company has specific obligations under State health and safety legislation to provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to all workers. A good induction process not only demonstrates that you have taken reasonable steps to meet this obligation, but also provides workers with the information they need to operate within the work environment safely, which consequently reduces the overall risks associated with having new/untrained worker.
When done correctly, the information you present at the start of employment should also provide the worker with a clear understanding of the expectations and terms associated with their employment. This information can prove to be fundamental when having to approach the worker in future performance or behaviour related discussions.
To assist your Company in preparing and delivering an efficient induction program, Business Savvy have made the following documents:
1. Company Induction Policy
2. Company Training and Development Policy
3. Pre, During and Post Induction Checklist
4. First Day Induction Checklist
Need help? HR/OHS advice? Business Savvy Risk Management advisors are available to assist you with all your HR and OHS needs. Contact Business Savvy Risk Management on (02) 8076 6067 or email email@example.com