Managing Through COVID-19 Crisis: Handling Your HR In The Age Of COVID

Published November 04, 2020 Views: 7

30/10/20

In today’s session of Friday’s With Ed, topics covered included practical tips on handling your HR in the age of COVID, leadership tips and insights and managing a business through crisis.

Transcript

  • Managing Through COVID-19 Crisis: Handling Your HR In The Age Of COVID

    I’m getting through. I’m doing it solo again today. Stewie no longer…well, he is my wingman but he’s just not live with me today. But I am here answering any questions that you have during the course of the stream. But I’m gonna start with a couple of other things, a reminder of the why of this session, as we always do, just to really make sure that we follow the purpose of the session and understand what it’s for. And I’m here to give you some insights and updates on all things workplace relations as they might affect you, as small business owners and managers. And things that are going on in that particular world. It helps me as well. It helps me keep up to date with things. I’m gonna go through a bit of an interesting challenge we’ve got at the moment, actually in Melbourne, with our office there. It maybe something that you guys are encountering as well. It’ll be interested to hear your feedback.

    And in doing that, what it does is, I suppose, keeps me understanding and connected to you guys and understanding what’s happening in the world of small business as well and reminding me that I’m not alone through this crisis. We’re all going through it. But I will also at the end of today’s session, give you a bit of a sentence as to how I’m managing through the crisis in our business and some tips on HR leadership, I suppose, which might be useful to you.

    So on that note, I’m gonna turn to a few updates. Talking of Melbourne initially. So great news that as you guys have started to come out of lockdown, a number of you may have not been on the stream last week with your AFL Grand Final public holiday. I said at the time, I’ll say it again, I can’t quite believe that you get a public holiday for that, but never mind. And so you may well be finding yourself back at work this week, which I hope is the case. And I hope that you have now found a way to approach your current form of normal. What I would say is that there’s quite a bit of agitation in Melbourne and agitation tends to in my mind come from confusion, where there hasn’t been clear, consistent and concise communication, those three C’s again. You tend to get a bit of confusion which results in some agitation. So I’m certainly seeing quite a lot and I suspect you guys are in the media both formal and social media, about people saying that social distancing and the requirements on businesses post opening up in Melbourne are not being followed everywhere. Starting to see a bit of a worrying trend, for example, in restaurants where people are being called out for not following COVIDSafe Plans. That worries me in the sense I don’t wanna see any business owners unfairly picked on during the crisis.

    But I would say this, I’d say make sure that you’ve got your COVIDSafe Plans in place. We’ll put up the link on here to the resources on Employsure’s website with how to set up your COVIDSafe Plan and get that in place. It’s been a while since we’ve been operating in Melbourne. So people could be forgiven for being a bit dusty in terms of what their obligations are in terms of COVIDSafe Plans. So let’s make sure we get those in place, and we’re operating properly. We’ve seen in New South Wales that the state government goes in and makes examples of businesses to try and really ram home to others that they need to be operating in a COVID safe way. And I don’t wanna hear that any of you guys are getting whacked with any intervention or fines. The last thing we need at the moment while we’re all on our knees anyway is to get another kick in the proverbials. So be careful. Get your COVIDSafe Plan in place.

    The next thing I was going to update on is…almost, as the crisis sort of seems to settle a bit, the first thing that comes back into the media about business employers is wages. You may have seen today that there was an announcement that 7-Eleven owes some inordinate amount of money, I think 750 million in wages to their employees. There’s also been a class action struck up in Queensland against a supermarket company called Drakes, which you may or may not know. You know my view on this. I’m pretty protective of employers on this question. I hate the idea of wage theft being banded around. Theft requires intention. I don’t think that that’s what occurs in most businesses. I think that there’s confusion rather than intention. People have the right intent to actually pay the people the right amount, it’s just bloody hard to work it out. That’s why you see big businesses, not just 7-Eleven but businesses that you’d never think were big had the potential to underpay staff like the ABC, for example, that they were found to have underpaid staff significantly. These are big businesses getting it wrong. It’s not part of their business model to try and cut a corner. And when you then get into the small business land, it’s even more pronounced that people are just bloody confused.


    I’ve heard recently, there’s gonna be no such thing as a small business award. So we can’t expect any real simplification of the award system anytime soon. It would have been fanciful to expect that anyway. But we’ve got what we’ve got, and you therefore need to be very, very careful about the way wages that you pay. I saw probably the most grating comment I saw in the media about this, and I guess that…probably a bit like me getting asked on some media, sometimes you get [inaudible 00:05:58] on because you say reasonably controversial things that people…either annoy people or they like. I saw an economist on the ABC website today, a lady called Alice Pennington, who described what’s occurring amongst employers as systematic regime of wage theft, systematic regime of wage theft.
    And that the problem was that the penalties are harsh enough to deter businesses from having in their business model, a desire to under pay staff. I mean, frankly, a ludicrous comment by someone that wouldn’t have the first clue anyway, how an economist would understand what small businesses are doing day-to-day in terms of how they decide what to pay their staff and so forth is beyond me. But presumably, she’s only been invited along to say controversial things on the ABC. What I definitely don’t see is any systematic regime of wage theft, I see the most confusing wage system in the world and small businesses being the ones that are getting it in the neck for quite fairly and reasonably making errors in a bloody complex system.

    So that’s a bit from me on what’s going on in the world of workplace relations. Not that much. That’s the short answer. If you’re in Melbourne, you’ll be battling with trying to understand all the ins and outs of your obligations. I’ll see if I can answer any of those if you’ve got any questions about whether you’re allowed to be open and so on. The thing I was gonna mention in Melbourne for us is sort of somewhat amusing in a way that we are bringing our teams back into the office in Melbourne next week, and we had one other team pop in yesterday just to ensure that everything was ready to go and we were okay to get people back in. We believe that we’re entitled to get people back in under the rules. So the rule at the moment in Melbourne is that if you can work from home, you should work from home. Our position with these teams is that we don’t think they can work any longer at home. First and foremost, for mental health reasons. We don’t think it’s reasonable to continue to ask people to work in isolation at home when they’re not optimally set up to perform in that environment. They’re optimally set up by way of office space, by way of technology, and finally, they don’t have the team support that they would have to collaborate and communicate in an office environment.

    We can actively see the consequences of that environment not being right in the team performance. And my worry is, of course, that if team performance continues to go down in a particular state, and we need to look at recruiting extra headcount, I don’t wanna be making decisions like okay, we’ll do headcount in Sydney, but not in Melbourne because the Melbourne state government won’t let us go into the office. So I believe that we’re entitled to go to the office. And, funnily enough, the building manager in the building that we’re in on Bourke Street, doesn’t agree with us and tried to stop us from going into the office. So I thought there was something sort of amusing about all this that after it all…what we’re running the risk of I think is people starting to get a bit police like in their tendencies and thinking that they have some authority or power to start stopping things like that when, first of all, they were wrong. But second of all, I don’t see that it’s their right anyway. We’ve been paying rent in this building to sit empty for months now. And the landlord should frankly be pretty pleased that we’ve been paying rent to them at all. And now even when we’re allowed back in the manager is saying we’re not. So I’d be interested to see if anyone else has had any frustrating problems like that in any of their environments.

    So I’m gonna take bit of a swerve over the ditch to New Zealand here. A really quite interesting thing is happening in New Zealand today in that they have a cannabis referendum going on right now, in fact, in true form where people try and steal attention from this live stream. They were actually due to announce the results of the initial vote on their referendum at midday our time. I don’t have any news up in front of me that can tell me the answer to that. If anyone from my team or anyone else has any feedback on whether you are now allowed to smoke weed in New Zealand or will soon be, let me know. It’ll be interested to see whether that leads to an outflow of people from Australia to New Zealand. I know that the trend recently has been the other way. People are very worried about the economy in New Zealand and have been coming over here on mass for some years now. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a swerve the other way.

    Overall, in New Zealand, what I’m saying as a business really fascinatingly, I think, is that the numbers and metrics that we see is that their economy seems to have been hit harder than ours, notwithstanding their shorter, sharper lock downs, and the fact that COVID didn’t take a hold in New Zealand in a way, even relative to how it’s affected us let alone the rest of the world and what we’re seeing in Europe and so on. There has certainly been a lot of kudos given to the leadership over there for the approach they took to protect their country. But equally in a country that’s so impacted by tourism, they’re now really struggling economically, I think, even worse than the positions that we’re in over here in Australia. And the burden of that having just had their election is that they’re now being told, employers are being told that they’re gonna have to do a few things I’ve mentioned on here before.

    First of all, minimum wage is gonna go up. I’m saying these things. I know the audience here is predominantly Aussie, sometimes Kiwi as well, given that we do business in New Zealand as well. They want to increase the minimum wage there again so that over the course of I think just 18 months, it will be, the minimum wage in New Zealand will have gone up by 20% to $20. Just imagine that in Australia, if someone came and say…we obviously have our minimum wage increases each year. We debate whether it should be in single digit percentages typically how close to CPI it should be. Imagine if your wages had gone up by 20% by requirement of the government in the last 18 months and that part of that, the final 10% of it was gonna be now when you’re on your knees having just been shut down by that same government, some period. I suspect we might be a little bit frustrated, let’s say.

    The other thing they’re looking at doing over there I’ve talked about here is doubling sick leave. I’ve urged them not to do it over there. I don’t think that that’s a solution, nor is it a real employee benefit. What you see is trends in workplaces that people basically just take as much sick leave as they’re entitled to. You double sick leave, you’re gonna end up with less productivity, again, at a time when the economy is faltering significantly anyway. Removing or reducing productivity doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. And finally, they wanna add to their public holidays. I think they already have 12 public holidays in New Zealand so one a month, which is…it even takes on Melbourne for your…the public holiday down there. I know that they’re obviously gonna have a second odd public holiday this year in Melbourne, following AFL Grand Final day when the grand final wasn’t even in your state. And then now you’re gonna get the Melbourne Cup public holiday on Tuesday, which seems generous given that no one’s actually even allowed to go to Flemington.

    Anyway, in New Zealand they’re talking about having 12 public holidays. Again, these things for small businesses, they’re highly impactful. That’s another day that you might not be able to get revenue or you might have the additional cost of paying time and a half or whatever it might be in terms of your staff wages. So they’re big deals these things. It shows a bit about the intent of New Zealand. There doesn’t seem like there’s much desire for it to be driving a thriving economy. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I think probably the way New Zealand’s going is to become something that resembles the sort of Norway of the South Pacific. Let’s hope Australia doesn’t follow for all of our sakes.

    So let’s go on to the final bit before I start answering some questions. So the final bit was that just something I’ve been through this week in terms of trying to lead and manage our team here. So I’ve been conscious for a while that one of the hardest things you can do, and I use the metaphor of doing some exercise with this or running a race, let’s say, running a running race. One of the hardest things you can do in running a running race would be to do a race that you didn’t know how long it was. We’ve probably all been for a jog at some stage and not knowing where the finish line is, or not knowing how long you’ve been going for and how long you’ve got left is a really hard way in which to do things. Certainly, it’s very hard to perform optimally. You can end up trying to pace yourself to something that you don’t know when it will finish. So you end up going too fast or too slow.

    And one of the odd things about this crisis, continuing that metaphor is that it hasn’t had a finish line. And if we thought early on that it did have a finish line, and we were all running furiously to that line, it then shifted significantly, leaving us to try and regather our thoughts and try and create a new pace that we could actually maintain for a longer period. And I’ve been worried for some time in managing our team that without being able to present them with a finishing line, there was always just the risk that people would just fatigue and start drifting off and not being able to carry on getting up each day. They’d get quite despondent, particularly, say, you’re locked into a work from home environment, and you might have a propensity to be despondent anyway, you might suffer from mental health issues. And those that just don’t know when this is going to end, we’re more likely than others to suffer.

    So I’ve been conscious for a while. I’ve been wanting to create and help my team understand what we’re actually trying to get towards. So our mission at Emplysure through the crisis has been to achieve business success throughout the crisis and beyond. Now, when you don’t know when the crisis finishes, it becomes harder and harder to fulfill that mission and to keep racing to it. So I was looking at the position in the various locations in which we operate last week, and with Melbourne being the kind of, I suppose, the most restrictive place, the place that was still deepest in the crisis, with the light at the end of the tunnel there I thought this is the perfect time to start to communicate to my staff where the finish line is in this crisis and start running towards that.

    Now, I can’t and I need to be quite open with our staff that I can’t promise that that’s where the finish line is. We could end up with third waves, more circumstances of lockdown, all of those things are very real. But I can put a best foot forward and say, “Look, subject to change. This is the finish line I’m now asking you to race to.” I’ll get to why this is relevant in a moment, all this finish line and running stuff. I should add that I’m a terrible runner. So it’s not really a great metaphor for me. In my communication with staff and also both my senior exec level, but also to the business overall, I thought, “Okay, I’m gonna set this finish line.” So, I have been doing a daily communication to all of our teams. We have about 900, 950 people. I’ve been communicating to each of them every single day. And I’ve said to them that that’s now gone on for I think 160 business days. I’ve said, “Okay, I’m gonna communicate up until 200 days, and that 200 marker, unless the crisis changes direction in any significant way, is our finish line.” That is where I’m asking you to work towards in this crisis. And then after that, it’s the new normal. We’re not in crisis anymore. Let’s take the language of crisis out of our business. Because that’s highly energy sapping, fast paced. It’s not a normal level of momentum and speed in a business. I want people to get out of the crisis and get into a new level of normal thinking. So I said, “Look, 40 more business days, which roughly takes us to Christmas, and that’s where I’m asking you to run to.”

    And I then also…we have at 8:30 every morning a meeting with our local board, the exec team, to work through our crisis management. I’ve said on here before that as the crisis has gone on, we’ve become better and better organized. We’ve become more and more on top of the crisis. Those meetings have got shorter and shorter. We’ve said, “Okay, from next week, we’re not gonna hold that meeting anymore, but we’re going to just reconvene it if there’s any problems at any stage.” So again, trying to take the business to a new normal and give them the sense that things are coming to an end.


    Why is that important? So if you haven’t bought why I’ve said it’s important for people to understand what they’re pacing themselves to, you might be more convinced by this. It’s certainly not my thinking. I wouldn’t suggest that I’m that good at thinking about leadership. In fact, it’s just plagiarized or nabbed from one of the best business books I’ve read, and I’m sure a number of you guys have, which is Jim Collins’ “Good to Great.” And you might remember, if you have read it, he talks in there about this running concept and he uses this example of a high school, cross country running team that for forever in a day had been pretty mediocre. And then they started to get better and better. Eventually, they were winning state championships all the time and they were consistently better than their nearest rivals. And when they were asked why that was, what it is that they were doing better than anyone else…their pool of talent hadn’t changed. It was just the way in which that talent was performing.
    And the answer to that was quite simple that they had first of all created a very clear mission, a very clear why, which was that they wanted to be the best in the state. They had second to that created a very clear how, and this was the magic of it actually, is that their how was not just that, you know, how are you gonna become best in the state by winning races, they actually went into how they were gonna win the races. And specifically, they did something quite different. So most runners apparently are running to a consistent form of pacing, checking their time against certain checkpoints and things like that to try and understand how to run their race. This high school went for a very, very simple methodology, which was that they had their coach stand at the marker of the final mile. When you got to that marker, the coach will tell you how many people were ahead of you and your objective became to pass as many people as you could in that final mile.

    The important thing there is that the KPI that they were using, passing people, moving up the ranks was the right KPI. The wrong KPI would have been actually how quickly can you do the next mile. Because how quickly you can do the next mile wasn’t the determinant of success to their mission, being the best in the state. And by setting this challenge to each of the runners to say, “Okay, how many people can you pass in this last mile?” They were ruthlessly focused on this final mile. And they had this mantra which they said was, “We run fastest at the end.” And it’s a mantra that I’d nabbed and I’m using in the business now at Employsure. And they were very proud of the idea that they run the fastest at the end, so much so that they used to give out…I think they were like stickers or medals for every person that they passed in each race. So it became a collection item that the more of these stickers you had, the better you’d done.

    It really resonated with me, that idea of having a very clear why, a very clear how but also really focusing in on that how to being very specific to what it is that you need to achieve. And then also, beyond that, having it work in a way where the team clearly knew where the finish line was. They knew it was a mile from that marker where they saw the coach, and they would run hard from that mile running fastest at the end. The effect was there or the outcomes were there in terms of them becoming best in the state.

    So I’ve taken that concept and I’m trying to adopt it and adapt it for Employsure in saying right, “Okay, I’ve just announced that we’re in the final mile. Now we need to run fastest at the end. How many people are you gonna pass on your way?” Now the people that you pass in different roles could mean different things. You might have some internal competition against the person that sits next to you about how good the advice you’re giving is, or whatever it might be. It’s in our case, it’s not that we don’t look at external competitors in that way. We wouldn’t spend our time focusing on trying to get past them in terms of size, or whatever else it might be. That’s just not the culture that we have. But we’ll focus on healthy competition between ourselves to get to this finish line for our sales reps, for example, that might mean doing more business than their nearest rival in the team did or something like that.

    So that’s just a little bit about how we’re managing through the crisis, trying to run fastest at the end. I thought it might be useful because I get asked quite a bit that…around things like JobKeeper where people are finding that they’re getting HR issues come out of that where people seem to be sort of reluctant to come back into work, or enjoying being paid to sit at home, those sorts of things. How do you create an environment that is high performance and people are keen to work with the business to come out of the crisis successfully? The answer, like anything, starts with a clear, consistent, and concise communication plan. Then second to that making sure that you are very clear on what your mission is. I said for Employsure business success throughout the crisis and beyond, then you’re very clear on how you’re gonna achieve that mission, and we’ve just changed that how to setting this finish line and running fastest to the end.

    So guys, there’s a bit from me. You may or may not find that useful. If you didn’t, don’t worry about it. Just put it at the back of your mind. If you did, then great. So I’m just looking to see if we have any questions. Yeah, we do. And we’ve got a couple of things to update on. Interestingly, in New Zealand more people have said no to the cannabis than yes, 53%. They thought given that there was this big swing to the left in the election that that would have resulted in a much higher vote for people saying yes, but very interesting. It seems that New Zealand remains a little bit conservative, even through all this.

    And so some questions. Angela says, “Hey, Ed, I’m a Melbourne business owner finally allowed to open my doors. I’m trying to do my best around contact tracing. We’ve had some customers already refuse. Any advice on this, or from other business owners in the group?” Really interesting. So when you say contact tracing, what I believe you’re doing is asking for details. You’ll hear some people refuse on the basis of privacy. One of the big things, for example, with these apps that have proliferated as a result of this is that there’s a very big concern about how the data that’s being submitted to these apps where you’re scanning QR codes and things like that. So you will potentially get people refusing.

    Now, my understanding of your COVIDSafe Plan is that you’ve got to have a plan in place and you’ve got to use reasonable endeavours to put it in place and as long as you are trying, I don’t believe that you are then responsible for the fact that if someone says no. If you wanted to be an absolute stickler to it, you could have a plan which said, unless people agree to it, then I won’t allow them in. And that may be one way to go. But let’s be realistic in the context of businesses that are trying to get back up. That’s a quite a hostile business pitch at the start. So try and be persuasive in the way you do it. Just say, “Look, for you and fellow customers, I can assure you that this data is being used only for the purposes of contact tracing. It won’t be shared with any third parties,” and so on. If you’re very clear about that, you start to negate the need for people to say no. But you might get some sticklers and you’ve got to make a business decision whether your COVIDSafe Plan says in which case, I won’t serve them, or I will. And it’s up to them to decide whether they wanna share data or not.

    Elena says, “Hello, Ed,” Hello Elena. “I’ll be looking to do some hiring. I want to access the JobMaker scheme. Any thoughts on the risk of discrimination If I only look for candidates under 35? Can I specifically advertise a role for under 35s only?” There’s undoubtedly a risk of discrimination there, Elena. And it’s not just a sort of, you know, employment relations expert hypothetical one. I’m over 35. If I’m over 35, and I see a job ad that says only under 35s apply, and I’m in desperate need of work, I may well be a bit pissed off about that, and consequently, look to challenge it. So the way in which I’d recommend and we as a company are recommending our clients do is to not put things like that in an ad. That is prima facia discriminatory. But to recruit people based upon your interviews with them and who’s best for the job. If they happen to be JobMaker eligible, then you’ll get the benefit of the subsidy but tread very carefully in trying to go like an arrow to find people who are JobMaker eligible. Remember that to be on the JobMaker scheme, they’ve also got to have been getting government support in the period prior to coming and working for you. I’m gonna really really be fascinated to see is that a real situation that’s gonna really impact and help businesses. But you’re looking for quite a narrow group of people where, someone who needs a job, has been on government support, and happens to fit your needs and also is under 35. So it’ll be interesting to see whether JobMaker really actually does much.

    So Ian, hello Ian. He says, “We’re a cafe in Melbourne and grateful to be able to start trading again.” I’m chuffed for you as well Ian. “We had a long-term casual who has already been unavailable for three shifts we’ve offered. She’s on JobKeeper scheme, paid anyway but seems like she’s just avoiding work. Am I able to remove her from JobKeeper if this continues?” You are potentially but you should be going through a disciplinary process potentially. You’ve got to take one of two routes with this. You have said that she is a long-term regular systematic casual. She is, contrary to that and the characteristics that would make her a long- term regular systematic casual, she’s saying no to shifts. So you can do one or two things, you can either speak to her informally and say, “Look, we seem to be on different pages here. We applied for JobKeeper on the basis that your are regular and systematic, which means that by its very nature that when we offer shifts up, you do them. And if you’re saying no to it, it must be that you’re not regular and systematic. In which case we shouldn’t be, quite probably, shouldn’t be applying for JobKeeper for you.” And if that doesn’t shake a tree and get her back in, then yes, you could go to explain to the ATO that you shouldn’t be applying for that person that you misunderstood the employment relationship.

    The other way of doing it if this person is regular and systematic is pick up the phone to them and say, “Look, because you’re regular and systematic, we need to speak to you about refusing to come in and do these shifts without reasonable excuse. Please come in. We wanna consider some form of disciplinary.” So you can go down either one of those paths. But the primary aim, of course, is to shake the tree presumably to get the person back to work if you think they’re any good, and you want them to carry on working for you.

    So Susan says, “We have staff working from home. One recently sprained her ankle and is sending us the invoice for physio treatment. Are we obliged to pay any all of her costs? And who has the burden of proof that she actually sprained it while working?” So the answer to that is no, I wouldn’t be paying her physio treatment. If she’s saying that she sprained her ankle in the ordinary course of her duties, then she should be making a workers’ compensation claim. So I don’t think that’s a reasonable approach. You may well ask her in advance of making that point to her why it is that she thinks you’re responsible. What was she doing when she sprained her ankle and so forth? But you shouldn’t be paying a physio until it’s suggested that there’s a workers’ compensation claim.

    And in terms of burden of proof specifically, Susan, in essence what you’ll find is that it’s not that structured with the insurers. Technically, the burden would be on your employees, Susan, to prove it. But the insurer quite often will prima facia accept the claim until they decide that they can’t or something like that. So let’s see whether it actually goes towards a claim. But you might find that the insurer accepts it quite readily. Depending on your size, you shouldn’t worry too much about workers’ comp, because you may well not be what they call claims affected. You need to be above a certain size of business to be claims affected, which basically means if you have a claim your premium goes up next year. So typically, smaller businesses won’t be claims affected. So it shouldn’t be too worrisome for you if they do go make a claim.

    Greg says, “Hello, Ed. Can I re-employ former staff as freelancers or independent contractors. I need some help for a business pillar but don’t want to commit to long-term employment to people in such a volatile environment.” You can, Greg, as long as what you’re doing…I mean, you could also employ them as casuals, by the way. There’ll be a premium on the casual hourly rate compared to what you might have otherwise paid to them. And you should do the engagement as a casual if what you already need is an employee. So what I always say on this, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. So if you’ve got someone that you need to come in and do what they were previously doing for you, which they were an employee in doing, then they’re probably an employee still. So just calling them a freelancer or an independent contractor doesn’t change that. And you would have the associated risks of sham contracting if you started engaging people on the basis that they were not employees, but really they were just doing the same thing they were when they were employees.

    What’s the difference? Ultimately, it’s control. So if you were basically saying to these people, “I need this set of tasks done, you do it on your own time, at your own expense, in your own way. Just deliver me the results.” Then that’s someone that looks like an independent contractor. Not knowning specifically your business, Greg, it’s hard for me to make that assessment. But I would say your litmus test would be if they’re gonna do the same thing they were and they’re employees, then you’re better off trying to get them back in as casuals, rather than on an independent contractor basis to avoid sham contracting.

    So, Janine, “Do casuals have access to unfair dismissal? I’m pretty sure they don’t. But who knows anymore? I need to stop offering work to someone but don’t want to land myself in court.” Really good question, Janine. You are right, in principle, but the curveball that’s in there…I think we’re doing some stuff on one of the channel seven shows next week about this is is this concept of the regular and systematic casual, someone that you’ve employed for casual for so long and on such a regular terms that in essence, they turn around, and say, “I’m not really a casual. I know that’s what you call me and you pay a premium for it, but I’m not really a casual. And I get all of the rights that you would actually normally associate with a permanent employee, which includes unfair dismissal. And in that case, I’m gonna sue you if you just stop my shift.”

    So there is a risk depending on how long someone has worked for you for, what the level of consistency in their hours and so forth was. So tread carefully. If you’re worried at all, I suspect it’s because this person’s been with you for a while and worked pretty regularly and you might need some advice on it to avoid going to court. Because, remember, guys, when you’re getting into something like an unfair dismissal claim, it’s the exact thing that you do not want at the moment. So to defend an unfair dismissal claim, you can do it on your own. You don’t have to hire a lawyer, or Employsure or anyone else. But you do run the risk of losing it. And then if you go and hire a lawyer, typically, you’ll end up spending a fortune on it. And this is money that none of us have to spend at the moment. We want to make sure that we’re running tight ships. And the best way to do that is to avoid hitting the iceberg in the first place.

    So Karen is gonna wrap us up. She says, “Thanks to the weekly updates. Watching live, which I don’t often get to do. I think you said the other week that there are perhaps not as many watching live, but I’m sure there are many of us who love to catch up on your updates at a later time. So keep up the good work.” Still good numbers of people watching, I’m relieved to say. Just my self esteem as much as anything. But no, we still got a really good group of people watching and a few thousand are watching each week. I think the reality is we are now setting this new finish line and we’re running towards it. And crisis isn’t perhaps the right way to describe what we are now in and I would encourage everyone to move out of that mindset, because we at some stage have got to acknowledge that this is gonna be here for a while, this new state of affairs, and we need to run that race, rather than a crisis race which will lead to us all flagging too quickly.

    So from there, I’m going to say thank you and have a good weekend. Those in New Zealand are not going to have a cannabis fueled weekend by the looks of it. So anyway, we’ll see what happens over there. But thank you for your support, guys, and see you next week. Cheers.

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn’t been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call Now

1300 207 182

Live Chat

Click here