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employer engaging new employees

Engaging New Employees

April 12, 2021 | Author: Employsure

When an employee joins your business, you want to give them best start possible. It may  impact their productivity,...

An employee looking forward to Long Service Leave.

What Do I Do When An Employee Asks For Long Service Leave?

April 12, 2021 | Author: Employsure

Your employee who has been with the business forever, suddenly announces they are planning a road trip. They are...

An Employer using the Annualised Salary Calculator to reconcile her Employee's Annual Salary with the Award.

Annualised Salary Reconciliation Reminder

April 8, 2021 | Author: Employsure

Although some awards already contained annualised salary provisions, for example the Hospitality Industry (General) Award and Restaurant Industry Award,...

Business owner considering options for her business now the pandemic provisions no longer apply.

Your Business – Post Pandemic Provisions

March 30, 2021 | Author: Employsure

The pandemic isn’t over, but the temporary amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 that were introduced to help...

queensland restrictions update is news to these employees

Queensland – COVID Restrictions Update

March 29, 2021 | Author: Employsure

What is the ‘Greater Brisbane Area’? Greater Brisbane refers to local government areas of: Brisbane City Council Ipswich City...

employer with casual after ir reform has passed

What the New IR Reform Bill Means for Small Businesses

March 26, 2021 | Author: Employsure

It didn’t meet what it set out to achieve, but the Federal Government finally delivered something for employers with...

casual employees subject to the ir reform changes

Adapt to the New Casuals Legislation with Help from BrightHR

March 23, 2021 | Author: Employsure

Businesses have received much-needed clarity with regards to casuals as a result of the recently passed amendment to the...

Employer putting on a smile but deepdown she's unhappy about JobKeeper ending

Be Prepared for the End of JobKeeper

March 23, 2021 | Author: Employsure

All good things must end. And after Sunday 28 March, the JobKeeper amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009...

An employer with a new employee during their probationary period.

How To Terminate An Employee During Probation

March 15, 2021 | Author: Employsure

Employers may opt to include an initial period at the start of a permanent employee’s employment during which time...

employer organises public holiday payments

Paying Employees During Easter

March 14, 2021 | Author: Employsure

Public holidays allow Australians a chance to put down tools and celebrate a religious or cultural event, or just...

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Israel-Folau-And-Rugby-Team-News

The Israel Folau saga has ended as the out-of-work footballer reached an out-of-court settlement with Rugby Australia.

After a marathon 14-hour negotiation, the two parties resolved their differences and issued a joint statement.

“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus,” the statement said according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.”

According to reports, the settlement figure is as high as $8 million. However, on Twitter Raelene Castle, CEO of Rugby Australia, dismissed such figures as “wildly inaccurate”; in his weekly column, the Sydney Morning Herald’s chief sports writer Andrew Webster wrote that the figure is “likely to be between $2.5 to $5 million”.

Meanwhile, RMIT’s professor of workplace law Andrew Forsyth said that given the $14 million Folau and his legal team were asking for, according to court documents, it was likely that the settlement he received was high.

“Given that he upped his claim to $14 million last week you’d have to expect that a significant amount of money has been paid,” Professor Forsyth said.

“It should also been borne in mind that although Rugby Australia apologised, they actually apologised to each other. That’s a mutually agreed conclusion, so nothing much should be drawn from that.”

Castle has also defended her and Rugby Australia’s decision to reach a settlement with Folau.

”No we didn’t get it wrong. At the end of the day we stood up for the values of Rugby Australia,” Castle said, according to the SMH.

“The person that chose to breach the code of conduct was found guilty and his contract was ultimately terminated because of that. That stands up and continues to say, ‘This is an inclusive sport.’

“Behaviour and commentary of this type is not acceptable in our sport and everybody in rugby needs to be included, regardless of what their background is.”

Folau on the other hand declared himself “extremely pleased” at reaching a settlement.

“With today’s acknowledgment and apology by Rugby Australia, we have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family,” Folau said.

Israel Folau was controversially dismissed by Rugby Australia earlier this year, after the footballer published a post on Instagram that condemned homosexuals, and others, to hell if they did not repent.

Claiming that his dismissal discriminated on his religious beliefs, Folau sought recourse through the dismissal tribunal process set up as a function of the Rugby Union Players’ Association’s workplace agreement with Rugby Australia.

Not finding success in the tribunal, Folau proceeded to commence an unlawful termination claim. The parties were directed to attend a mediation by the Court.

New Public Holiday

 The Queensland government have announced a part-day public holiday on Christmas Eve, 24 December (from 6pm-midnight). This public holiday will commence from 2019 onwards.

What’s Changed?

Businesses in Queensland must ensure that they apply the correct rates to any employees who are working after 6.00pm on 24 December.

If you have employees on salaries or loaded hourly rates, you should review the current arrangements to ensure that the salary is sufficient to incorporate any additional costs.

We’re Here To Help

 If you need help understanding or implementing these changes, please contact our Advice Line on 1300 651 415 or email [email protected]

Employment Modern Awards

The Modern Awards established by the Fair Work Act will be evaluated next year with a focus on a less complex structure of the new workplace relations reforms, but according to the Government, businesses should not be anticipating any drastic changes.

In an upcoming discussion paper on workplace reform, the Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter noted that industry awards would be considered, and that there would be a review how small businesses are affected by the complex system.

“The awards system is clearly something that a range of people think could have some improvements in,” Mr Porter said according to The Australian Financial Review.

“There are some awards – those particularly that govern workers in hospitality and retail and restaurants that are very complicated – that have multiple pay points, sometimes more than 50 pay points in a single award.

“We will have sort of a discussion paper around awards next year, but no one should be over-expectant or have rosy glasses on about the award system in terms of the capacity to simplify.”

The statements from Mr Porter came a day after Scott Morrison spoke about wanting to make the award system less complex and reduce the “clutter”.

Earlier this month, supermarket giant Woolworths, self-reported to have underpaid 5,700 staff up to $300 million over a nine-year period, which followed other underpayment by other big businesses such as Pizza Hut, 7/11, Subway and Westfarmers.

If paying employers correctly is something that big businesses can’t get right, retailers are arguing how small and medium size businesses are meant to.

Although Mr Porter mentioned there had already been a big overhaul in modernising and reducing hundreds of awards down to just 122, he agreed that the system still had its complications and further improvements could be made.

He added however, that big businesses should be sophisticated enough to navigate the existing award system, and rejected that the complexity was a result of underpayment of employees.

The Minister mentioned that making the landscape “easier to navigate for small businesses” would be his primary focus, and that looking at how the Fair Work Ombudsman handles navigating small businesses was one pathway.

Men are still out-earning women by an average of $25,679 a year, with the number of female CEOs and board members remaining static according to new data.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency scorecard released on Tuesday revealed the number of females in top positions counted for 17.1 per cent, and female representation on boards to be at 26.8 per cent – fluctuating only 2 per cent within the past six years.

The annual report also showed barely any movement in the health pay gap, which is Australia’s most heavily female dominated industry, which declined 0.2pp but remained steadily in favour of the other sex.

Although there was an increase in employer action when it comes to pay equity, which saw a rise by 3.1 per cent, almost 40 per cent of those employers took no nation when it came to closing the gap.

The best result of the six-year dataset came from access to parental leave, which saw almost 50 per cent of employers now offered to paid carer’s leave for the primary carer as well as an increase in paid carer’s leave for the secondary carer.

In her final year in the role as director of the Workplace Gender Equality agency, Libby Lyons expressed her disappointment with the overall scorecard, and said that organisations were losing interest in equality.

“To me, the data is telling me employers either don’t believe that addressing gender equality will help their business, or they’ve just got a bit of fatigue about it – and anecdotally I’m hearing that.

“Employers are saying ‘we’ve got our policy in place and we’re doing okay. We’ve put resources into it but now we’re going to focus on something else’,” Ms Lyons said according to the Australian Financial Review.

The director also said that increasing the pay and number of women in workplaces would improve the national economy as well as business profits and that it was “a smart thing to do”.

The figures from the annual report are based off data provided to the agency by employers from the non-public sector who have over 100 employees, and also takes into account bonuses, superannuation as well as other allowances.

Workplace fatalities are continuing to decline, with only 1.1 worker fatalities per 100,000 workers, according to the most recent report release by Safe Work Australia.

The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2018 Report also reveals that three industry groupings are responsible for more than two-thirds of worker fatalities, and that vehicle collisions alone count for 44 out of the 144 fatalities that occurred last year.

Key findings of worker fatalities in 2018 include:

  • Fatality rate of 1.1 per 100,000 workers
  • 144 workers were fatally injured at work
  • 94 per cent of workers killed were men
  • Workers aged 55 to 64 years had the highest number of fatalities
  • The proportion of young worker fatalities aged 25 years and younger has increased from 8 per cent in 2017, to 13 per cent in 2018

The report also showed that 69 per cent of fatalities were from three industries, with 38 per cent being from transport, postal and warehousing, 37 per cent from agriculture, forestry and fishing and 24 per cent from construction.

Fatalities relating to vehicles were also 89 percent of the fatalities recorded, and 77 per cent of bystander fatalities were due to a vehicle collision.

In terms of location, almost half of fatalities occurred in New South Wales, followed by 39 per cent in Queensland and 32 per cent in Victoria.

In total, the 144 worker fatalities in 2018 is the lowest recorded number since the series began in 2003. In 2007 when the highest number of fatalities were recorded, there was almost a third of the rate recorded.

“While the downward trend in work-related fatalities is encouraging, it is not a cause for celebration. Every work-related fatality is a tragedy, and there’s a lot more work to be done” Safe Work Australia CEO, Michelle Baxter said according to Safe Work Australia.

There are a number of steps an employer can take to ensure a safe workplace, which include proper training of all employees, identifying hazards, assessing and controlling risks as well as reviewing control measures.

It is important to note that workplace health and safety obligations for employers vary widely depending on the type of work conducted by the business.

Creating a safe and healthy workplace never stops, and there is always room to review and evaluate regularly to always try and improve.

The Fair Work Commission has underlined a car manufacturer’s “astounding” lack of HR specialists and has found the company to have unfairly dismissed a service advisor for not meeting customer survey score standards.

Fair Work Commissioner Jennifer Hunt heard that in May 2017, the employee began working at Audi Indooroopilly where his responsibilities included “greeting customers, providing quotes, liaising with technicians and taking payments,” according to Workplace Express.

The base salary for the service advisor was $47,000 plus super, and a commission of no more than one per cent a month if the employee met the targets that were linked to customer satisfaction ratings.

At the centre of the dismissal was an Audi Australia survey that provides customer feedback in regards to their experience at the dealerships, and measures the performance of its service providers.

A score above 4.5 out of five for the five-question survey, which ranked the customer service employee’s Customer Experience Marker, from one (worst) to five (best), entitled employees to a bonus of up to $600 for that month.

The service advisor’s scores ranged between 4.1 and 4.5 and in February this year, Audi Indooroopilly issued the employee with a first and final warning in regards to his results, notifying him that he was in the bottom half of service advisors in Audi Australia.

The employee protested that relying on the optional customer survey to measure someone’s performance was not something that Audi Indooroopilly should have relied on and noted it in his unfair dismissal claim.

The Commissioner agreed with the employee and acknowledged the “inherent unfairness” of the situation.

“Simply because an employee slips into the bottom half of all [Audi Australia] service advisors, it does not mean that they are not performing their role satisfactorily,” Commissioner Hunt said according to Workplace Express.

“If this was, as I understand it to be, a position supported by Audi Australia given the (service advisor’s) termination letter was prepared by the central HR support person, and the submissions supported by Audi Australia during the determinative conference, it could have the effect of the bottom half of service advisors within Audi Australia being considered to be performing unsatisfactorily.

“Instead of endeavouring to bring up the levels of service, it was determined that being in the bottom half of all service advisors was unacceptable, despite mathematically, half of the service advisors having to fall within the bottom half of all service advisors,” Commissioner Hunt said.

The Commissioner also found that the service advisor was not given the opportunity to respond to the reason for his termination and in finding the dismissal claim unfair, ordered Audi Indooroopilly to pay the service advisor $9134 plus super.

 

underpayment

Qantas may the next large brand to find itself subject to underpayment scrutiny, as the Australian Financial Review is reporting that the engineers’ union is taking the airline to court.

A statement of claim has been filed with the Federal Circuit Court, alleging that airline failed to progress 20 licenced aircraft maintenance engineers through the graded wage structure as outlined in their enterprise agreement.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association says that one engineer is owed more than $56,000 and that the final figure owed to workers may get into the millions.

“The total amount of wage underpayments may amount to over $10 million,” ALAEA federal secretary Steve Parvinas told the AFR.

Parvinas further added that there around a 1000 more ALAEA members who haven’t had their wages audited, and that figures cited in the filed claim don’t include unpaid shift or super payments.

Further, Parvinas also says he warned Qantas of potential underpayments, going back to 2013, in January last year.

“What kind of a society have we developed when a kid can get a criminal record for taking a candy bar from a store, while managers can knowingly keep millions in owed worker entitlements and walk free,” he said.

“The executives wouldn’t accept their wages late, yet these Qantas workers have to fight it out in a courtroom to get their owed entitlements.”

Qantas released a statement, saying that it is aware of potential errors in its HR system and that it has started addressing such errors.

“In this case, there is a complicated system that determines how our licensed engineers move between pay brackets. Errors in this system could result in a combination of under and overpayments to individuals,” Qantas said.

“In terms of the specific instances raised by the ALAEA in court documents, Qantas has already made adjustments to pay levels where required.

“What is at issue is the correct level of back pay, which Qantas has been working in good faith to determine but is now engaged in needless court proceedings over.”

Qantas names such as the Commonwealth Bank, Sunglass Hut, Bunnings, Wesfarmers’ Industrial Division, Super Retail Group (owner of Rebel Sport, BCF, Super Cheap Auto), Michael Hill Jewellers, and MJ Bale in coming under underpayment scrutiny this year.

The Senate is planning to stage a federal inquiry into wage theft, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The upper house voted on Wednesday this week to refer the ongoing ‘wage theft’ dispute to the ongoing Senate economics reference committee. That committee has three Labor and two Liberal members, with one other member coming from the Centre Alliance.

The inquiry will look at wage and superannuation underpayments and investigate the methods of recovering unpaid entitlements.

Labor senator Alex Gallacher, the chairman of the wage theft inquiry, says that the committee “won’t be shy” in demanding answers from business leaders.

“We will take the inquiry wherever it can go in the terms of reference,” Senator Gallacher told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

“We won’t be shy about calling any and all chief executives if they’ve got a problem.

“We’ll shine a light wherever we can.”

The Morrison Government opposes the inquiry, with Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam saying that, although the government has “zero tolerance” to worker exploitation, it wasn’t necessary to “[have] yet another talkfest”.

“Action is what’s needed and action is precisely what’s happening,” Senator Duniam said, as he told the Senate the Government was increasing funding to and boosting the powers of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The inquiry comes in the wake of Woolworths’ reported $300m underpayment to workers, as well as a host of well-known brands and businesses being under the underpayment lens.

Sunglass Hut, Bunnings, Wesfarmers’ Industrial Division, Super Retail Group (owner of Rebel Sport, BCF, Super Cheap Auto), Michael Hill Jewellers, and MJ Bale are just some of the names that have come under underpayment scrutiny so far this year.

Late last week, the Business Council of Australia announced its cautious support for criminal sanctions for deliberate wage theft, while also offering caution and calls for a ‘grace period’.

“There is a need to modernise the enforcement regime under the Fair Work Act 2009 so that sanctions for the most serious breaches of workplace laws are more closely aligned to those that apply under other laws regulating business conduct,” the Council said, in a submission to the Morrison Government’s public discussion paper on the matter.

“The Business Council supports the introduction of criminal sanctions for such breaches.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman carried out a surprise audit of 17 Top Juice stores yesterday, it has announced. The outlets were located in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.

The FWO was responding to anonymous reports from Top Juice employees. Inspectors at the stores reviewed employment records and spoke to both staff and management about employment entitlements and record keeping requirements and processes.

According to the FWO, allegations made by employees includes “the underpayment of staff, failing to provide work breaks, not providing proper payslips or incorrect information detailed on the pay slips, and not paying termination entitlements.”

The audit of the Top Juice outlets follows on from many previous surprise audits of the fast food, restaurant and café industry, such as July’s audit of Brisbane’s trendy West End area, and an August audit of a group of bars in Melbourne.

In June, the FWO also announced that it would be targeting this sector in the 2019/20 financial year. Sandra Parker, the Fair Work Ombudsman, sounded out a warning to employers about the FWO’s objectives this financial year.

“Our intelligence indicates that high numbers of migrant workers, international students and young people are employed at Top Juice outlets, who may be unaware of their workplace rights or unable to speak up due to concerns about their visa status,” Parker said.

“Our inspectors are on the ground to gather further information about Top Juice’s operations and determine if there are any breaches of workplace laws. Our priority is to ensure that all staff are receiving the wages and entitlements they are provided under the law.

“All workers in Australia have the same rights at work and we encourage workers with concerns about their pay to get in touch with the Fair Work Ombudsman.”

According to the FWO, the hospitality industry accounts for 17% of all disputes “the FWO assisted with” and 36% of all anonymous reports, while only employing 7% of the workforce.

News of the FWO audit also comes during a financial year where celebrity chef George Calombaris’ MAdE Establishment made headlines across the country for underpaying their workers $7.8 million.

The NSW Government has released an educational guide for small businesses to help them prepare their business for disasters. The release of this guide comes as bushfires pose a ‘catastrophic fire danger’ threat to many parts of the state.

At the time of writing, many bushfires are burning all around NSW, from Albury on the Victorian border, to the Mt Warning region just south of Queensland border. A number of fires have been classified as ‘Out of control’ or come with an ‘Emergency Warning’ from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

According to the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, over 575 schools and 20 TAFE campuses were closed today due to the threat posed by the bushfires.

Using the 2017 Lismore floods as a case study, the guide strongly suggests businesses should prepare for disaster as those that “were prepared in the face of the 2017 Lismore floods had significantly better business outcomes”.

The guide offers a five-step plan for disaster preparation. The plan is at follows:

  1. Know your risk
  2. Plan now for what you will do
  3. Get your business ready
  4. Be aware
  5. Look out for each other

The guide also suggests a few common-sense, actionable items from an employer perspective. These include inducting staff into your emergency action plan, developing a plan to keep them engaged in the case that business, severely damaged by a disaster, can not operate normally and therefore provide them with an income.

Yesterday Employsure also published a media release on employee entitlements during natural disasters, sharing advice for businesses caught in a disaster zone or affected by a disaster.

For example, Senior Employment Relations Adviser from Employsure, Michael Wilkinson, gave some advice around for employers in the case that employees cannot attend work due to a natural disaster or emergency.

“In some circumstances, an employee may have entitlements under their Award or Agreement that are relevant when an employee is unable to attend work due to an emergency or natural disaster. If no such entitlement exists, there are a range of options available to employers and employees depending on the circumstances.”

In the case that an employer has to temporarily shut down their business as a result of a natural disaster, Wilkinson says “It is important for employers to apply the correct employee entitlements during the closure.

“If the closure falls within the stand-down provisions, then the employer might not be required to pay the employee. If the business is closed and it otherwise could have operated, an employee could be entitled to payment.”

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