Tag Archives: regulation

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Are you compliant with employment standards?

Recent conversations with employers made me realise many are flying blind when it comes to current employment legislation.  Although there’s a lot of information available online, it’s not always easy to find.

Now there’s an easier way…

To make it easy for you to find the information you need to comply with employment law I’ve gathered the basics together in this blog post.  When you click on each item, you will find the relevant downloadable fact sheets.

You’ll have all the information at your fingertips if you bookmark this post for future reference.  

In Australia, the National Employment Standards are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 and comprise 10 minimum standards of employment. In summary, the NES cover the following minimum entitlements:

  1. Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
  2. Requests for flexible working arrangements – allows parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’s care.
  3. Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, and other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.
  4. Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
  5. Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required.
  6. Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.
  7. Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
  8. Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.
  9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.
  10. Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – employers must provide this statement to all new employees. It contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, right of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
If you need further assistance, we are happy to put you in touch with consultants who specialise in this area.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Five reasons interviews often miss their mark

Research shows that if you use an interview as your main decider, you have only a 14% chance that the person you choose will perform well in the role!  Today’s article by Dr Dan Harrison explores why.  

Given that we continue to use interviews, it’s in our interests to make them as effective as possible.  Our webinar TOMORROW will show you how!  Book your place today: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/917745616  

Why are interviews so poor at predicting job success?   

In the past, interviews have been used as the primary means assess attitude, motivation, and job behaviour. However, even if interviewers are extremely intuitive, there are many reasons why accurately assessing job behaviour with a normal interview process is nearly impossible.

1. The interviewee aims to tell the interviewer what he/she thinks will be viewed as the best response. The interviewer aims to determine how much of what the person is saying reflects genuine attitudes and behaviour and how much is related to just trying to get the job. This in itself is extremely difficult to resolve in the short period of the interview.

2. Interviewers are biased. Research clearly shows that interviewers routinely give favorable responses to people who are similar to themselves, and less favorable responses to people who are different from themselves. In the end, the result is very likely to come down to how well the interviewer likes the candidate rather than how well the candidate fits the behavioural requirements of the job.

3. Some people are skillful at being interviewed. However, being skillful at an interview usually does not relate to job success and therefore it often confuses the interviewer into thinking that such skillfulness will relate to job success.

4. Interviewers do not have access to a real behavioural success formula. There are dozens of behavioural factors that either promote success or inhibit success for any one job. Interviewers rarely have access to a job formula that identifies the behavioural success factors, weights the success factors against each other. And formulates how different levels of these success factors impact job performance

5. Even if the interviewer has access to such a formula, the interviewer would need to accurately assess specific levels of each applicant’s behaviour for each of the job success factors.

Many interviewers claim insights into the personality of applicants and certainly some interviewers are quite perceptive. However, predicting job success is an entirely different matter. It is not sufficient to perceive a particular quality of a person. Rather, the interviewer must be able to accurately assess the magnitude of each of dozens of qualities in relationship to a complex formula of behavioural requirements for a particular job. This is nearly an impossible task without the aid of significant research and tools.

Assessment research shows that interviewing has a moderate ability to predict job success. However, this doesn’t mean that interviewers can predict job behaviour. The moderate ability to predict job success comes as a result of exploring the candidate’s resume, previous experience, education, and job knowledge rather than the interviewer’s ability to predict job behaviour.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

The rules of employment have changed…

Use this checklist – provided by Steve Champion of ER Strategies – to update yourself on the Fair Work changes that came into effect on 1 January 2010.  Steve has included links to more information on each item.

Commencement of the operation of NES (National Employment Standards)

Modern Awards commence operation

State System Employers enter Federal System

Need to know more? Call ER Strategies on 1300 55 66 37.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Christmas Party Checklist

It’s that time of year again!  Here is our quick guide to your responsibilities as a manager organising a staff Christmas party.

Just because you’re not at work, it doesn’t mean you’re not at work!
Any function organised by you and attended by your employees is work related and the same rules that apply in the workplace apply to your party.  There are certain steps you can take to ensure risks are minimised and everyone has a good time.

Before the event
Make sure you have implemented policies covering occupational health and safety, harassment, bullying and discrimination.  Remind staff that these policies also apply to work social functions.  Let them know that unacceptable behaviour could result in disciplinary action.

You can be liable for sexual harassment, bullying and unsafe behaviour engaged in by employees or agents at the Christmas party unless you can show that you took all reasonable steps to prevent the unlawful behaviour.

Plan the event to take into account the age range of your staff and their access to transport.   For example, you may have employees who are under 18.  Serving them alcohol is against the law.

If you have staff with food allergies or preferences, these need to be considered in planning your catering.  Also, be aware of the food poisoning risks with buffet-style food service and take steps to avoid them.

Employees who are injured at the Christmas party or on their journey home may lodge workers compensation claims or common law claims for personal injury.

During the event
Provide the option of low alcohol and plenty of alcohol free drinks, accompanied by substantial food.  Don’t rely on venue staff for responsible service of alcohol. Managers also need to keep an eye on drinkers and take action if needed.  This may include sending an intoxicated employee home in a taxi.

As a manager, you can model appropriate behaviour.  A work Christmas party that you have organised is probably not the best situation for you to really let your hair down!

It sounds trivial, but avoid having mistletoe.  That ‘innocent’ kiss could bring problems later.

After the event
Ensure staff have appropriate travel arrangements in place to get home safely.  Consider arranging a mini-bus or cabcharge vouchers for your staff, particularly those who have been drinking.

In the event that a staff member has had too much to drink, or too late a night, and needs to drive or operate machinery the next day, give them time off or alternative work until they are fit to resume their normal tasks.

And a good time was had by all!
Follow these guidelines for a work Christmas party that’s memorable for the right reasons.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

How will recent federal government changes affect you?

There have been a number of recent changes at the federal government level in Australia that affect employers.  We recommend you take the time to find out more about them.parliament

1.  Fair Work Bill

Significant changes to industrial relations are on the way and they will affect your business.  The Fair Work Bill 2008 will come into operation on 1 July 2009, with full changes to be in place by 1 January 2010.  At the same time, an award modernisation process is underway.  You’ll find detailed fact sheets at workplace.gov.au

New unfair dismissal laws (from 1 July) are likely to have the most immediate impact on our readers.  More information on fair dismissal can be found in the fact sheet provided on our website for your convenience.

In preparation for the changes:

  • Check all your documentation (policies, procedures and contracts) is compliant with the National Employment Standards
  • Find out which new award(s) will apply to your employees, including award coverage where it may not have applied before
  • Review your recruitment process for non-award employees
  • Understand the new fair dismissal code and review your performance management and discipline policies for consistency with the code
  • Ensure you clearly communicate any policy changes to your staff

2.  Fresh Ideas for Work and Family Program

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, announced the launch of the Fresh Ideas for Work and Family program on 1 March 2009.

This national initiative provides grants of $5000 to $15000 to successful small businesses to implement practices that help employees balance their work and family obligations and improve employee retention and productivity.  Information on how to use the grant is available from experts in workplace flexibility, Flexibility at Work.

The program aims to assist small businesses across regional and metropolitan areas. It is designed to support projects that benefit both the employer and employees, demonstrate long-term sustainable outcomes for the business and have the potential for wider application to other businesses. Applications will be accepted from:

  • Small businesses in Australia with fewer than 15 employees.
  • Not-for-profit and non-government organisations.
  • Consortia of small businesses.
  • Sole traders and incorporated sole traders that employ between 1 and 14 employees.

Further information on family friendly work arrangements, work-life balance and the program is available at http://www.deewr.gov.au/WorkplaceRelations/FreshIdeas/Pages/default.aspx or call  the Workplace Infoline from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday on 1300 363 264 or email FIWF@deewr.gov.au.

3.  Federal Budget 2009

The Budget has a number of consequences for employers that you should discuss with your advisers:

  • Changes to employee superannuation contributions and salary sacrifice concessions
  • Employee share schemes
  • Paid parental leave
  • Increased deduction for capital expenditure (to 50%) before 30 June 2009

It’s important that you’re aware of these issues in case you need to take action.  We can then point you in the right direction to get assistance to make any necessary changes.

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
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