New Fair Work Information Statement

New Fair Work Information Statement

Latest News & Events

 

New Fair Work Information Statement

Fair work information statement

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently published a new version of the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS).

It has had a bit of an overhaul to better set out the different entitlements of full-time, part- time and casual employees and to add recent legislative amendments with respect to casual employees.

All employers are required to provide this to every new employee whether covered by an award or enterprise agreement or neither (ie award-free people including executive, professional and managerial staff) before or as soon as possible after commencement. You might want to include this in your offer of employment or onboarding processes.

To not do so is a breach of National Employment Standards and can result in a penalty.

You can download the new FWIS at here.

Also a reminder that there is now also a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) that must be given to all casual employees. This clearly sets out what casual employment is, what rights for casual conversion apply and what options casual employees have if they are aggrieved by a decision by their employer not to agree to their request for casual conversion.

You can download the CEIS here.

If you fail to provide either of these to an employee who is supposed to receive them, that is a breach of National Employment Standards and can result in a penalty.

You might want to include these statements in your offers of employment or onboarding processes just to make sure that it happens.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Superannuation Guarantee increases coming

Superannuation Guarantee increases coming

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Superannuation Guarantee increases coming

The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) is the minimum percentage of ordinary time earnings before tax that an employer has to pay an employee (or a contractor deemed to be an employee for superannuation purposes by the ATO). It is currently 9.5% and has been at that rate since 1 July 2014.

However, it is increasing to 10% from 1 July 2021 and further annual increases are scheduled as follows:

  • 10.5% from 1 July 2022
  • 11% from 1 July 2023
  • 11.5% from 1 July 2024
  • 12% from 1 July 2025

Currently, employees who earn less than $450 per month are excluded from eligibility for the SG but the Federal Government has recently announced its intention to remove that qualification with effect from 1 July 2022.

The Superannuation Guarantee is a statutory obligation – it is mandatory and failure to meet that obligation can result in prosecution for breach of the legislation and enforceable orders for back payment of unpaid superannuation contributions.

Need to update your employment contracts?

Need clarification on these changes?

Contact us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au if we can be of assistance.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Making policies real makes them work

Making policies real makes them work

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Making policies real makes them work

There has been a lot said in the media of late about the state of cultures in Parliament House, in the media and in the corporate world.

We know that issues of gender equality, equal opportunity and gender-based harassment and violence have been present and commonplace in society and workplaces for decades.

In organisations, we have our discrimination and harassment policies and our gender equity quotas and annual reporting requirements and our EAPs and more……..yet what has really changed?

When you look at how organisations and people talk and behave today, has much progress been made for women in real terms and in everyday behaviours that they experience?

Sadly not much…. as is evident from the wave of protests and outcries that we are seeing and hearing from women across Australia today.

Why is it so?

The answer is that all of those policies and quotas and reporting requirements have (in the main) just been dealt with as compliance requirements. That is to say that they have been seen to be about minimising risk of exposure for not having done the due diligence of getting a tick in that box because our lawyers or government or our customers said that we had to.

This is a common failing of policy settings and organisational mindset in all sorts of areas.

For example:

  • When we do SWOT analyses, what are the first things we focus on – weaknesses (where can we be hurt) and threats (how can we be hurt) ie we focus on risk not strengths.
  • In implementing quality assurance processes in business, the motivation most often is getting the tick for accreditation on your brand because you want to be able to qualify for that next tender or to satisfy a key customer requirement for certification.
  • With WHS policies and procedures, the focus first and foremost is to get documented systems in place, instruct people to use them and have evidence of that instruction so as to nominally be able to demonstrate satisfaction of the primary obligation to have safe systems of work. 

This means, in reality, they are only real to the extent that they generate a risk management strategy and process. Does that have real impact on organisational cultures and behaviours? Probably not.

Too often policies set out commitments or principles that are simply not supported by processes or leadership mindsets and actions. Or we decide that for operational reasons we will create an exception eg “we can’t afford to lose Harry even if he did that.” Or we don’t seem to be able to find the time to do what is required.

These scenarios just create contradictions with the end result being that people just don’t believe … how could they when “the rhetoric” and “the reality” are miles apart?

What should we do about it? 

The first thing we need to do is to acknowledge that the traditional risk management approach to implementing change doesn’t change behaviour all by itself.

The second is that the risk management process has to be real. That means that we need to genuinely explore and address the policies, processes and people who present risk in reality to women in our workplace ie in the policy settings, processes, attitudes and behaviours that define our culture.

When you introduce a new policy, do you do a real risk assessment on people ie do we identify who will be challenged to comply with this and what will we do about that?

It is also essential that leaders open their minds and hearts to the experiences and perspectives of women – not through a risk management lens that is about protecting management or fixing a problem but through an engagement lens which is about obtaining the best outcome by really giving women a voice, listening to it and acting positively on what they say. Ask the question: “How can I help?”

Be clear about what we are wanting to achieve (our purpose in this) eg: that might be “We want a workplace where equality and safety are real for everyone every day.”

Articulate some clear principles or strategies that underpin that purpose and provide the foundation for effective action, eg:

  1. Women genuinely have a voice that is heard and listened to and acted on.
  2. There is an organisation-wide process of risk assessment – a deep reflection on the people, the language, the policies and procedures and the behaviours within the organisation that present risks or disadvantages for women (directly or indirectly).
  3. There is an organisation-wide commitment to change and to not be bystanders who allow gender-based discrimination and harassment to happen.
  4. There is an ever evolving, effective and inclusive plan to deliver our “workplace where equality and safety are real for everyone every day”.
  5. Every person is held accountable for their language and behaviours and management of their relationships through regular conversations, education and coaching and, where they are not enough, discipline.
  6. Our leaders “walk the talk” in practise without exception and take proactive steps to support equality and safety for women throughout our organisation.

If you really want to change the dynamic of the conversation, the process and the outcomes, consider using Appreciative Inquiry as your change management framework. It uses a positive psychology approach centred on strengths that is much more engaging and positive to work through than traditional change processes.

It is a big challenge

This is a massive challenge for organisations and for society as a whole – for women and for men.

We have generations of institutionalised gender inequality that have defined people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and we have to challenge them if we are to make progress towards true gender equality.

And it isn’t going to happen overnight – it requires commitment, perseverance, resilience and passion to keep the momentum.

It also requires respect, understanding and patience to generate and sustain lasting change.

How can we help? 

We have recently launched a new suite of services centred in positive psychology which are essentially about “making better workplaces” where organisations and their people flourish – see www.poswork.com.au 

Equality, diversity and psychological safety are all key components of Better Workplaces.

If you are interested in exploring this further, call Peter Maguire on 0438 533 311 to arrange a free initial consultation.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Is that really what you mean?

Is that really what you mean?

Latest News & Events

 

Is that really what you meant?

 Every time you do an employee survey, what is the #1 area for improvement that arises?

 Communication, of course!

 And when we are confronted with a problem relationship in a workplace, what do you think is more often than not the problem?

 You got it – communication as in the messages that people give each other and how they are interpreted or, perhaps put more accurately, how they are misinterpreted.

 In our consulting work, we use a methodology called “Respectful Relationship Agreements” to explore work relationships, what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvements.

 Where there are problems in relationships between people, we discover more often than not that the problems lie in the way that messages are given and received rather than in the messages themselves.

 By asking “what did you mean by that?”, we get understanding of what the true intention was and often that is different to what the recipient of the message thought it was or what the deliverer was really wanting to say (or would have said if they had their time again).

 We might also discover that there were other factors that arose that influenced the way the dialogue occurred and that understanding can provide context that makes a difference to perception.

 Then there might also be the reality that a person did act inappropriately and that can present a couple of scenarios:

  • If they did not realise how their behaviour impacted on the other person and they learn from that, an apology and a commitment to act differently in future might be all that is needed or
  • If they did it deliberately and are not considerate of how their behaviour impacted on the other person, they are unfortunately self selecting disciplinary action for themselves (and the process that you have worked through supports that action). 

 So next time you are confronted with a relationship issue of this sort, take the time to ask the question: “Is that really what you meant when you said that?”

 If you need a hand with the conversation, give us a call – this is just another way that we are “Helping PEOPLE in BUSINESS” with PEOPLE BUSINESS.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Major changes to building and construction award

Major changes to building and construction award

Latest News & Events

 

Major changes to Building and Construction Award  

 

Over the past few months, there have been a number of decisions made by the Fair Work Commission which have resulted in significant changes to the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010. 

These are variously associated with the 2019-2020 Annual Wage Review, the modern award review process and temporary arrangements that have been introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Details of all of these changes are set out below. 

2019-2020 Annual Wage Review

The Fair Work Commission recently handed down the 2019-2020 Annual Wage Review decision which was to increase the national minimum wage and award minimum wages by 1.75%. 

Unusually this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on businesses, they decided to set different operative dates for different industries – in the case of the building and construction and trades awards, that date is 1 November 2020 (rather than the standard date of 1 July that normally applies). 

Employers should check that employees’ wages are at or above award wage level including allowance for any award conditions set off in remuneration. 

The current Fair Work Ombudsman Pay Guide for this Award can be accessed at Building and Construction General On-site Award [MA000020] Pay Guide  

This will be updated from 1 November 2020 when the new rates take effect.  

Modern award review 

The modern award review process which has been going on since 2013 has a resulted in a number of changes to calculation of minimum wages, the treatment and application of allowances, arrangement of ordinary hours of work and RDOs and various other matters – these generally take effect from 1 July 2020. 

Simplification of minimum award wage calculations 

The Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 has had an extremely complicated method of calculating the award rate for each classification level in the Award. 

This involved firstly identifying the base rate applicable to the relevant classification level and then adding a Special Allowance off $7.70 per week (something that was created years ago to give employees a pay rise when the rules didn’t allow for one) and then adding an industry allowance and, if the employee qualified,  a variety of other allowances could apply. 

The industry allowance was intended to compensate employees for the nature of the industry but additionally there were a number of allowances and special rates that applied on top of this.

From 1 July 2020, the method for calculating ordinary time rates for weekly employees (as per Clause 19.3 (b) of the Award) is by adding the minimum wage specified and the industry allowance for the industry sector and then any of the following that have application to the employee in question: 

  • Tools and protective or other clothing or equipment (Clause 20.1)
  • Underground allowance (Clause 22.2)
  • Air-conditioning and refrigeration industry allowances (Clause 22.7)
  • Electrician’s licence allowance (Clause 22.8)
  • In charge of plant allowance (Clause 22.9) 

Industry Allowance 

The industry allowance has been amended to reflect a single industry allowance that replaces and compensates for the Special Allowance and a number of complex industry, disability and expense related allowances have been removed in the Award.  The rate for the industry allowance is based on the relevant construction sector and has been defined as a percentage of the “weekly standard rate” (standard rate means either the weekly or hourly minimum wage as stated for a Level 3 (CW/ECW 3) employee in clause 19.1). There is one rate for the commercial building industry (6% of the weekly standard rate = $51.75 per week) and a second for the residential building industry (4.8% of the weekly standard rate = $41.40 per week). 

Tool Allowance 

The tool allowance has also been revised to make it clear that employees are entitled to the allowance to cover maintaining their existing tools, not just purchasing new tools. Employees are also now entitled to be reimbursed for steel capped boots they are required to wear. 

Fares and travel pattern allowance

A significant change relates to the fares and travel pattern allowance employees receive. This allowance is normally $17.43 per day. Employees will now only receive this allowance, where they: 

  • start and finish their work day on a construction site; or
  • are required to perform prefabricated work in an open yard and are then required to erect or fix the pre-fabricated materials on-site. 

So employees who start and finish at a depot and are transported in paid time to and from the construction site are generally not eligible for the allowance. 

Additionally, Employees will no longer receive the travel allowance if they are offered free transport to the site or provided with a vehicle. Employees will also no longer get the allowance on days they do not work, like on an RDO or leave day. 

Living away from home allowance 

The Award amendments clarify an employer’s obligations in relation to this allowance. There are now clear options as to how entitlements are to be provided and how meal expenses can be reimbursed as follows: 

(i) pay the employee the greater of $72.02 per day or an amount which fully reimburses the employee for all reasonable accommodation and meal expenses incurred; or 

(ii) provide the worker with accommodation and three adequate meals each day; or

(iii) provide the worker with accommodation and reimburse the employee for all reasonable meal expenses; or 

(iv) where employees are required to live in camp, provide all board and accommodation free of charge. 

Rostered Days Off (RDOs)

The Award now provides greater flexibility in relation to RDOs. This includes allowing for the banking of RDOs and allowing an agreement to be reached between the employee and employer as to how and when an RDO is taken. 

Capping of daily ordinary hours 

Ordinary hours of work for part-time and casual employees have been capped at 8 hours per day. This means that any hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day by a part-time or casual employee are overtime and payable at overtime rates. 

It should be noted that, for full-time employees, the award prescribes that, unless the employer and a majority of employees agree otherwise, an RDO arrangement applies whereby 19 days of 8 hours and 1 RDO make up each 20 days (4 weeks) worked. 

If the employer and employees agree on a variation to that arrangement, no more than 8 ordinary hours can be worked in one day. 

Under any hours of work arrangement, full-time employees may work no more than 38 ordinary hours can be worked in one week (or an average of 38 hours over 4 weeks). 

Time off in lieu of overtime 

The Award now allows an employer and employee to agree to take time off instead of being paid for overtime that has been worked. This ability is limited to weekly full-time and part-time employees and time off is calculated on the basis of the hours of overtime actually worked. Time off must be taken within 6 months. There are a number of other conditions attached to time off in lieu arrangements that must be complied with. 

Payment of annual leave loading 

The Award now simplifies how annual leave loading is to be calculated – on the employee’s ordinary rate of pay rather than the complicated arrangement that existed previously.

Employers should familiarise themselves with the proposed changes to ensure that from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020, their employees are being paid correctly and in line with any amendments to the Building Award. 

Please note that the modern award review process has not been completed for the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 but that should occur in the next few months – when it has, the “2010” will be replaced with “2020.   

Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic 

There is a new Schedule X  in the Award setting out temporary flexibilities with leave during the COVID-19 pandemic – these apply for the period from 11 August 2020 to 30 September 2020. 

These provide that: 

  • employees can take up to 2 weeks if the employee is required by government or medical authorities or on the advice of a medical practitioner to self-isolate and is consequently prevented from working, or is otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • instead of an employee taking paid annual leave on full pay, the employee and their employer may agree to the employee taking twice as much leave on half pay.
  • A number of conditions are attached to these arrangements. 

Given the current business and civil restrictions applying in Victoria, it could be expected that there will be an extension to the period of operation of these arrangements.

Need some help?

Just give us a call on 0438 533 311 or send us an enquiry through the contact form below and we will be happy to have a conversation about your needs and how we can help. 

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

High Court delivers sanity in ruling on personal/carer’s leave

High Court delivers sanity in ruling on personal/carer’s leave

Latest News & Events

 

High Court delivers sanity in ruling on personal/carer’s leave

In fantastic news for all businesses, the High Court of Australia has sensibly overturned a Federal Court decision which quite unfairly awarded part-time employees the same number of days of paid personal/carer’s leave as full-time employees, regardless of the number of hours that the part-timer actually worked.

For example, a part-time employee working 2 days per week would also have 10 days personal/carer’s leave per annum – effectively 5 weeks paid leave based on their ordinary hours of work.

That was clearly a ridiculous decision which clearly disregarded the obvious intention of the relevant provisions of the Fair Work Act and decades of custom and practice.

What is also great is that, in its decision, the High Court has set some clear and sensible principles as to how to determine how much personal/carer’s leave employees get:

  • The 10 day entitlement in the National Employment Standards means two standard five day working weeks
  • 1 day is a notional day that represents 1/10th of an employee’s ordinary hours in a fortnight or 1/26th of an employee’s ordinary hours per year

What do you need to do?

You just need to ensure that your administration of personal/carer’s leave and the entitlements that your people receive align with the principles set out above. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has updated their advice accordingly and this can be accessed here.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact 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

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH