How to manage the right to disconnect

How to manage the right to disconnect

Latest News & Events

How to manage the right to disconnect

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From 26 August 2024, employers with 15 or more employees have to respect employees’ right to disconnect from work outside their contracted working hours. Smaller employers will have those obligations 12 months later. What does it mean for your business and what do you need to do?  

What is the right to disconnect?

Here is how it is described in the Fact Sheet published by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations:

“The right to disconnect will inform how employers and employees interact outside  of working hours. The right does not prohibit employers from contacting their employees, nor does it prevent employees from contacting each other, including across time zones. Rather, the employee will be able to refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact, or attempted contact outside of working hours, when they are not expected to be working or paid to be working, so long as doing so is not unreasonable.” 

So it doesn’t prohibit making contact with employees outside their contracted working hours – it just provides that they don’t have to respond to such contact outside their contracted working hours other than in limited circumstances.

The real obligations on employers are to not unreasonably require someone to respond to contact after hours and not to penalise people for exercising their right to disconnect. 

Inclusion in modern awards

The Fair Work Commission has been tasked with inserting “right to disconnect” clauses in modern awards. 

The approach it is taking is to have a standard clause which is customised according to existing provisions in Awards which might have relevance to contact after hours such as standby or call back or roster change provisions. 

So you need to consider which awards cover your employees, what provisions they might have in regard to out of hours contact and how those provisions relate to your own operations.

It is also something that you will need to consider in enterprise agreements.

What do you need to do?

In our blog back in February on Managing disconnection from work, we noted that this really should not be that big an issue for most organisations so the first thing you should do is ignore all of the hype about it. 

Then you should undertake a constructive assessment of the effects for your organisation and your people by answering the following questions:

  • Are there any situations where employees in your organisations need to be responsive to contact outside their standard working hours for genuine operational reasons?
  • Are there provisions in a modern award or enterprise agreement which deal with the specific type or cause of contact eg someone being on standby or being called back or being contacted about a roster change or some other prescribed matter outside their standard working hours?
  • Are employees remunerated for making themselves available for contact outside working hours under the provisions of a modern award or enterprise agreement or otherwise under their contract of employment?
  • Do you have any employees who have flexibility in their hours and location of work and whose working hours might fall outside standard operating hours via a flexible working arrangement or agreement or by individual choice?
  • Do you have any protocols in place regarding out of hours contact for people who may be working outside standard working hours eg contact to other staff or external parties should only be via email with the scheduling function used to delay transmission until the start of the following working day?
  • Do you have any protocols in place with external parties in relation to their contact and their response expectations with your staff outside standard working hours?
  • Do any of your people have to operate across timezones which might cause communications to occur outside an employee’s standard working hours?
  • Do any of your managers unreasonably or unnecessarily send communications to their people outside their standard working hours, expecting them to respond outside those hours?
  • Do any external parties unreasonably and unnecessarily send communications to your people outside their standard working hours, expecting them to respond outside those hours?
  • Do you have people who you know will respond to out of hours contacts even if you don’t want them to?
  • Do you deal with out of hours contact requirements in your contracts of employment?
  • Do you verify adequacy of remuneration having regard to out of hours contact requirements where an employee is expected to respond to specified contacts?
  • Do you deal with out of hours contact happenings in your performance and development conversations?
  • Do you have a properly structured and communicated “Life balance policy” which includes details on the organisation’s expectations and processes for management of out of hours contact and the employee right to disconnect? 

Other tips

As with any matter around people and culture, we encourage you to look at these things on 3 levels – organisational, team and individual – and please do that by engaging with your people in determining what the realities for your business and people are and covering off all of the bases. 

Remember it is about your business and your people so don’t just borrow or buy a policy statement from someone else and remember our 4C compliance model because unless you do all 4Cs, you are not truly compliant:

  • Commitment – the fundamentals that deliver purpose and compliance
  • Capability – the tools and systems that enable good people practice
  • Competency – the skills and knowledge that deliver positive outcomes for businesses and people
  • Culture – the integration of all of that to deliver everyday employee engagement and high performance.

How we can help?

We can hep you to get the right answers to all of the questions that we have said you need to be asking in determining how your business is going to responsibly manage your employees’ right to disconnect.

We can advise you on remuneration in line wth award provisions and we can be-you with policies and employment contracts as well as advices to ay “problem individuals” who might need to modify their habits so as not to interfere with other employees’ right to disconnect.

If you would like to learn more about ways that we help with this or any other HR issue, please call us on 1300 108 488 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Updated Fair Work Statements

Updated Fair Work Statements

Latest News & Events

Updated Fair Work Statements

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There are a range of statements which employers must give to new employees before, on or as soon as possible after commencement and they are updated each year. Here is the new set as at 1 July 2024. 

The Fair Work Information Statement

This must be provided to all new employees regardless of how they are engaged ie whether full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal or other fixed term.

It provides employees with a variety of information on entitlements and protections at work as derived from legislation, awards, enterprise agreements  and employment contracts as well as where to go for help. Download it below.

Fair Work Information Statement 010724 

The Casual Employment Information Statement

This sets out the grounds on which employment might be deemed to be casual. It also provides informatIon on a casual employee’s rights in relation to casual conversion and avenues and processes for resolution of any disputes in relation to a declined request to convert to full-time or part-time employment. You can download it below.

Casual Employment Information Statement 010724

Please note that employers have more extensive obligations for providing casual employees with the Casual Employment Information Statement – both on commencement and:

  • In the case of a small business (less than 15 employees), after 12 months of employment
  • In the case of a larger business, after 6 months, 12 months and annually thereafter.

Fixed Term Contract Information Statements 

From December 2023, new rules governing fixed term contracts limited the duration of contracts to a maximum aggregate period of 2 years and the number of extensions of fixed term contracts to one only.

All fixed term employees must be provided with the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement which sets out these rules, some of the differences between continuing employment entitlements and those applying to fixed term employees (eg in relation to redundancy and notice) and where to go for assistance in the event of a dispute over fixed term employment. You can download it below.

Fixed Term Contract Information Statement June 010724

What do you need to do?

You need to ensure that you comply with the above requirements to issue these notices to employees in line with their employment status. Failure to do so is a breach of National Employment Standards and can result in substantial fines.

Have you checked on the status of your compliance with Fair Work, modern awards, regulations and other employment-related legislation in recent times? If not, you should check in on that.

If you would like to learn more about ways that we can help you with this, please call us on 1300 108 488 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

New workshops – understanding psychosocial hazards

New workshops – understanding psychosocial hazards

Latest News & Events

New workshops – understanding psychosocial hazards

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The introduction of the new positive duty to eliminate or control psychosocial hazards casts a whole new perspective on what organisations need to do to be compliant with their legal obligations and be seen to manage this duty  responsibly. It really does require a significant shift in mindset and an overhaul of how you manage policies, processes, practices and people.  

Background

At Ridgeline HR, we developed our 4C compliance model 20 years ago and it really does stand up when you look at what a positive duty requires. It is much more than just putting out a policy, telling people they have to comply with it and reacting to resolve any breaches or complaints.

That is because we have always believed that the key PEOPLE FACTORS that SMBs have to get right are the quality of relationships and the behaviour of their people. They are very much in focus under the positive duties. 

So we are well versed in all of this stuff.

Our Workshops

We are offering organisations the opportunity to leverage our experience and knowledge in this space via engaging and practical workshops for your leadership team or your consultative/safety committee or other representative body.

The workshops which run for 3 hours are highly interactive and designed to engage participants in the process of developing an appropriate and effective organisational response to the introduction of the positive duty.

 Learning outcomes

 Participants will gain:

  • Knowledge of what the psychosocial hazards are and why they are psychosocial hazards
  • A practical awareness of the questions that organisations need to be asking with respect to each of the psychosocial hazards and how risks associated with psychosocial hazards can manifest in workplaces through policies, processes, practices and people.
  • An understanding of how multiple psychosocial hazards can be in play and compound risks.
  • An appreciation of the value of recognising organisational strengths as well as areas for improvement and the difference that approaching this with a positive mindset can make.
  • An introduction to our purpose designed HEART framework for implementing an effective psychosocial hazard control plan with your people. 
  • A practical start on developing your own organisational Psychosocial Hazard Risk Control Plan.

Options

We can deliver this workshop in person or online.

We can also provide a number of ancillary services such as:

    • Our Better Workplace Projects where we take a deep dive into your organisation having conversations with a representative cross section of your people to identify strengths and opportunities for improvements
    • Conducting surveys of your people using the best practice PERMAH Workplace Wellbeing Survey and/or its companion psychosocial hazard survey and unpacking the results with you
    • Setting up, training and facilitating your own Better Workplace Team to really take hold of the well-being agenda in your workplace and collaboratively drive improvements
    • Helping to redesign and reposition your People and Culture policies and procedures to align with your new positive duty obligations 

 Contact us using the “Tell us what you need help with” form below to arrange your session.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Webinar #3 – What do these new positive duties mean?

Webinar #3 – What do these new positive duties mean?

Latest News & Events

Webinar #3 – What do these new positive duties mean?

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Complying with Australian employment laws has been a challenge for businesses of all sizes for many years but that challenge has gone up a notch with the introduction of positive duties. Plus, we are seeing individuals being prosecuted and personally fined or even face jail time in serious cases under workplace health and safety laws and the Fair Work Act. 

In this episode, we’ll show you what positive duties really mean in practical terms and what you need to do to assure compliance and we’ll run you through our own HEART model for positive duty compliance.

What you will learn in the webinar:

  • What does positive duty mean legally and in practice?
  • How is it different from the pre=existing compliance regime?
  • Why has it changed?
  • Some practical examples of applying the positive duty to real workplace situations
  • What you (as a business owner, employer, manager, HR or WHS practitioner) need to know ?
  • How to use our HEART model for positive duty compliance.

Bookings at https://www.trybooking.com/CQQIC.

If you would like to learn more about ways that we can do this, please call us on 1300 108 488 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Annual Wage Review decision is in

Annual Wage Review decision is in

Latest News & Events

Annual Wage Review decision is in

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The Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel has handed down this year’s Annual Wage Review decision which will see the federal minimum wage and award rates increase by 3.75% from 1 July 2024.  

The decision notes that impending tax cuts and the increase in the superannuation guarantee charge were moderating factors but also acknowledged that:  “Modern award minimum wages remain, in real terms, lower than they were five years ago, notwithstanding last year’s increase of 5.75 per cent, and employee households reliant on award wages are undergoing financial stress as a result.”

Balancing that, the decision also noted that: we consider that it is not appropriate at this time to increase award wages by any amount significantly above the inflation rate, principally because labour productivity is no higher than it was four years ago and productivity growth has only recently returned to positive territory”.

More to come?

For some industries – those which predominantly employ women – there will be more to come.

We have already had significant wage increases of up to 28% in aged care and there is currently a review being undertaken in relation to nurses and midwives.

In today’s decision, there is a commitment to doing more in this space as per the following statement:

“Modern awards and classifications applicable to early childhood education and care workers, disability home care workers and other social and community services workers, dental assistants, medical technicians, psychologists, other health professionals and pharmacists will be the subject of Commission-initiated proceedings to examine and address gender undervaluation. These proceedings will commence shortly after the issue of this decision and we intend that they will be completed by the time of next year’s Review, which will then move on to the consideration of other gender undervaluation issues.”

So, if you are an employer in any of those industries, you can expect that there will be further “work value” wage decisions in the year ahead.

What do you need to do?

You need to review all employees’ wages to verify that they remain above award when the minimum and award wage increases take effect on 1 July 2024.

If employees are paid sufficiently above award, the increases can be fully absorbed against over-award payments unless there is an enterprise agreement or employment contract that says otherwise.

If you are paying people on an annualised salary or a flat weekly wage, you need to review that to verify that, when you take into account all of the payments that would apply to an employee under the relevant award and based on the hours that they work, the employee is still better off overall on the salary of wage than they would be under award conditions.

Some awards have specific rules ion annualising wages or default provisions which [provide for a certain margin above award offsetting other award conditions. Check the relevant award for your workers to see if any of these apply. 

Don’t forget that the superannuation guarantee charge is increasing by another 0.5% from 1 July 2024 taking it to 11.5% of ordinary time earnings.

Finally, it always an opportune time to review your employment contracts when these annual wage reviews occur. That is even more true this year with all of the changes to the Fair Work Act and modern awards that have been occurring of late.

We can assist you in all of these areas.

If you would like to learn more about ways that we can do this, please call us on 1300 108 488 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Webinar #2 – Understanding the Fair Work system and the players

Webinar #2 – Understanding the Fair Work system and the players

Latest News & Events

Webinar #2 – Understanding the Fair Work system and the players

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Our Australian system for regulation of employment rights and obligations is very complex.

In this episode, we explain how it all works, who the various regulators are and where you should go for what.

What you will learn in the webinar:

  • What responsibilities do each of the regulators have?
  • What sorts of issues do they deal with?
  • What powers do they have?
  • Which are federal and which are State-based?
  • What do you as a business owner and employer need to do to protect your business and yourself?
  • How to navigate the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission websites?
  • Where can you find resources that can help you with managing these obligations as well as resources that can help you with managing people generally?

Bookings at https://www.trybooking.com/CQQHJ.

If you would like to learn more about ways that we can do this, please call us on 1300 108 488 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH