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Your Business – Post Pandemic Provisions

Published March 30, 2021 Author: Employsure
Business owner considering options for her business now the pandemic provisions no longer apply.

The pandemic isn’t over, but the temporary amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 that were introduced to help businesses weather the storm, so to speak, are a thing of the past as of 29 March 2021. The provisions containing JobKeeper enabling directions gave eligible employers increased flexibility to help businesses survive by allowing employers to direct those employees whose wages were subsidised to work less hours or in some cases none at all, work elsewhere or at different times, and even do different work, if appropriate. If employees are changing their work location, you can easily update this with BrightHR and track them as they clock on and off with Blip.

If you relied on these JobKeeper enabling directions to keep the business afloat, then you may be wondering where to from here? Below are some options for your consideration.

Back To Usual Pay And Conditions?

From 29 March 2021 all employees need to be paid as per the terms and conditions of their employment before JobKeeper enabling directions were given. This means that employees should be paid for the hours they work in accordance with the National Employment Standards (NES), the applicable award or registered agreement, and their employment contract. Your previous records and contracts can be stored and remain easily accessible through BrightHR.

But what if employees would prefer to continue in some of the working arrangements directed under JobKeeper? Maybe they would prefer to remain working from home some or all of the time, or maybe less hours suits them. The employee may request a change in working conditions which you may not have to accommodate, depending on the circumstances. Alternatively, if the applicable award, registered agreement or employment contract allows it, you may be able to initiate changes to their working conditions.

Consultation To Vary Contract Conditions

All Modern Awards contain a provision to consult with employees regarding any changes to their working conditions. This includes changes to rosters or hours of work for employees other than casuals, as well as consultation with employees who are subject to a major workplace change, such as termination of their employment.

If you propose to make changes to the working conditions of an employee then you must consult with any employees affected by the proposed change and their representatives (if any, e.g. a union representative or lawyer). You must provide information in writing about the proposed changes and include how you think they will affect the employee, and any measures you are taking to minimise the impact.

Invite the employees (and their representatives) to a meeting to give them the opportunity to give their views about the impact of the proposed change on them (including any impact on their family or caring responsibilities). You must take these views into consideration before implementing the proposed changes. If an employee consents to the changes you should deliver the outcome in writing, following up with a variation to the employee’s employment contract specifying the changes to their employment terms and conditions.

If there is no consent to the proposed changes, and if the employee is not amenable to any other changes to their working conditions that might lessen the load for the business, you may have to look at the operational requirements of the business and cost cutting measures. These can include making certain positions redundant. Consider using the redundancy navigator tool available through BrightHR to help you manage these situations.

BrightHR

With BrightHR we can help you manage your employees and keep track of employee rosters, timesheets, leave accruals and other entitlements that may be relevant to any variation to the employee’s contract or a redundancy. You can store employee profiles, wage and time records and related documents securely in the cloud. You can find out more here, or call us on 1300 704 752.

BrightHR helping you manage your people and business

Contact us to find out how BrightHR people management software can help you manage and store your essential employee records and documents.

Redundancy

Redundancy occurs when a business no longer requires anyone to do the employee’s job and the employee can no longer be employed in that role or anywhere else within the business, so their employment is terminated.

It is important that the redundancy is genuine and that employers follow a fair procedure for redundancy, including consultation with the relevant employee as to why the role is being made redundant and exploring options to keep the employee in the business.

Be careful, as redundancy can pose a risk for employers if there is doubt the redundancy is genuine, besides, it may not be as cost effective as you think for larger businesses or those that operate in certain industries. It can be expensive to make an employee who has been with the business a long time redundant, as an employer may have to pay notice, redundancy pay (if the business has 15 or more employees at the time of the redundancy or the applicable award or enterprise agreement provides for it), any untaken annual leave and possibly long service leave, depending on the circumstances, all of which need to be paid when the employment ends.

Redundancy is a complicated process, the BrightHR Redundancy Navigator tool can help lead you safely through each step of the redundancy process with check lists, letter templates, webinars and storage options.

If you would like to explore options for your business call us for free initial advice on 1300 207 182.

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 25,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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