Updated Fair Work Statements

Updated Fair Work Statements

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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

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New workshops – understanding psychosocial hazards

New workshops – understanding psychosocial hazards

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New workshops – understanding psychosocial hazards

example flexible working arrangement

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?

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

example flexible working arrangement

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

Closing loopholes – casual employment

Closing loopholes – casual employment

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Closing loopholes – casual employment

example flexible working arrangement

The Courts and Government have been jumping from one definition or interpretation of what casual employment is to another and then another over recent years and that is happening again under the Albanese Government’s Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Act 2023.  Is it just the pendulum swinging back as happens on a change of government or is it more than that?  

S15A(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 currently provides that an employee is a casual employee if the employer offers employment on the basis that “there is no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work for the person” and the person accepts the offer on that basis and becomes an employee as a result of that.

So the emphasis is on what is in the contract regardless of how the arrangement really works in practice.

Under the changes being introduced, the concept that a casual employee is one who has no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work remains but the emphasis shifts to the practical reality of the relationship rather than just what is written in the contract.

The question of whether there is a firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work will be determined by a number of questions:

  • whether the employer can choose to offer (or not offer) work to the employee and wether the employee can choose to accept or reject an offer of work
  • whether continuing work is reasonably likely to be available given the nature of the business
  • whether part-time or full-time employees are undertaking similar roles in the workplace
  • whether the employee has a regular pattern of work..We know that the vast majority of business owners try to do the right thing and want to be compliant with their obligations. 

Casual conversion

The ability for casual employees who serve a minimum period of engagement with a regular and systematic pattern of hours of work has been a feature of awards for decades and has been legislated for a few years now. So it isn’t a new concept.

Under the new rules, a casual employee of a small business employer (ie one with less than 15 employee) will be able to apply for conversion to full-time or part-time employment after 12 months service if they believe that they no longer fit the definition of a casual employee. For employees of larger employees, that opportunity comes after 6 months’ service.

The employer will have to respond to any such request within 21 days and, if the employer refuses the request, the employee can make application to the Fair Work Commission for mediation, conciliation or arbitration of the matter as a dispute.

The employer will have to comply with whatever agreement is reached or decision is made in those proceedings.

Employees are under no obligation to convert – they have the option of remaining a casual employee if that is their preference.

There are transitional arrangements whereby the current rules on casual conversion will continue after 26 August 2024 in respect of existing casual employees for a period of 6 months in the case of employers with 15 or more employees or 12 months for employers with less than 15 employees.

Casual Employment Information Statement

All casual employees must be provided with the revised Casual Employment Information Statement on or before commencement or as soon as possible thereafter.

Additionally, under the new rules, they will also have to be provided with it again:

  •  in the case of a small business, after 12 months of employment
  •  in the case of a large business, after 6 months, 12 months and annually thereafter

When is this all happening?

These changes take effect from 26 August 2024.

What do you need to do?

If you employ casual employees, review your current working arrangements eg how long they have been working with you, what their patterns of hours of work are and whether there is a commitment to ongoing employment on a regular basis (whether or not that commitment is in writing).

Secondly, review your employment contracts or letters of offer to ensure that they are consistent with the new definition and rules on casual employment.

Thirdly, ensure that you obtain the new Casual Employment Information Statement when it becomes available and read it to ensure that you understand it.

Fourthly, get prepared to have conversations with your casual employees about their status against the revised definition and rules and to deal with any likely request for conversion.

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

Annual shutdowns – more unintended consequences?

Annual shutdowns – more unintended consequences?

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Annual shutdowns – more unintended consequences?

example flexible working arrangement
One of the things that consistently pops up after a decision to change or qualify the rules on conditions of employment is that wonderful phrase “unintended consequences” all too frequently because the decision makers have been focused on a specific issue without considering the broader agenda eg does making this rule for some create problems for others or create inconsistencies between different categories of workers?   

Last year, a majority decision of the Fair Work Commission decided to change the rules on annual shutdowns for organisations covered by modern awards which had annual shutdown provisions in them.

As things stood to that point, the pre-exisiting award provisions had a requirement that employers give employees a minimum period of notice of a shutdown (up to 2 months depending on the Award). It was accepted practice that employees took annual leave during the shutdown and, if an employee did not have sufficient annual leave to cover the closedown period, they went onto leave without pay for the period not covered by their annual leave entitlement.

The decision changed all that requiring that:

  • Each employee has to be given specific and individual written direction to take annual leave
  • An employee who doesn’t have sufficient annual leave to cover the shutdown period cannot be assumed or forced to take leave without pay – the employer has to ask them and obtain their agreement to take leave without pay or annual leave in advance of their next year’s accruals
  • If agreement is not reached, the employer has the options of providing work or just paying the employee for the balance of the shutdown period without any deduction from annual leave.

That might seem unfair (and that is what the dissenting member of the FWC panel said) but that is what it is today.

So what complications does that cause otherwise?

To understand that, we have to go back to the Fair Work Act and what it says on the issue.

  • S93(3) of the Act says: “A modern award or enterprise agreement may include terms requiring an employee or allowing for an employee to be required to take annual leave in particular circumstances, but only if the requirement is reasonable”. It makes no mention of what is “reasonable”. This is what applies to award-covered employees.
  • S94(5) of the Act says: “An employer may require an award/agreement free employee to take a period of annual leave but only if the requirement is reasonable. Note: A requirement to take paid annual leave may be reasonable if, for example: (a) the employee has accrued an excessive amount of annual leave; or (b) the employer’s enterprise is being shut down for a period (for example, between Christmas and New Year).”

So there are quite different statutory provisions for award/agreement covered employees v award/agreement free employees.

For the former, there has to be a provision in the relevant award/agreement that allows for the shutdown and the related taking of annual leave. For award/agreement free employees, the direction just has to be reasonable.

How this affects award/agreement provisions?

If the relevant award/agreement does not have a shutdown provision, there is no authority to impose a shutdown under the Fair Work Act.

If the relevant award does have an annual shutdown provision , it is subject to the rules that were imposed last year.

If different awards apply to different categories of employees in a business, different rules can apply for example a construction worker has to be given two months notice, whereas a clerical worker in a construction business has to be given 28 days’ notice of a shutdown.

Conclusion

We now have three different scenarios that can apply depending on the job that someone performs and the industrial instrument (if any) that applies to their employment. Is this another one of those “unintended consequences”?

If you would like to learn more about ways that we can help you in understanding Fair Work and what your obligations asa an employer are, 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

How to classify employees under awards

How to classify employees under awards

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How to classify employees under awards

confused employer

The problem

Most employees in Australia are covered by a Modern Award. These set out the rates of pay applying to different occupations or work covered by that award as well as lots of other conditions of employment like allowances, penalty rates and overtime. Not complying with modern awards is a breach of the Fair Work Act and can attract very significant penalties as well as embarrassment with staff and in the broader community.  It is therefore very important that employers understand which Award covers the work their employees perform and what their entitlements are under those Awards.

A common frustration for employers is classifying employees. All Modern Awards have a classification structure that applies to employees based on the work they perform, a qualification they use for their work or a certain level of competency in the industry and via that classification structure the employees’ pay and entitlements are determined.

Generally, the way that you determine how employees are classified would be by doing the following:

Find the correct Modern Award

All Modern Awards have a coverage clause that dictates the type of work or industry that the terms of the Award apply to. While it may seem easy to identify the Award that covers employees based on the work of the employer there can often be stipulations or exemptions that mean certain employees or work are not covered by that Award. There can also be multiple awards applying to one employer.

For example, a civil construction business has a workforce that includes plant operators and labourers, forepersons, managers, engineers, surveyors, estimators, clerical staff, mechanics and truck drivers. That means that the following Awards would apply to various staff:

  • The Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020 
  • The Professional Employees Award 2020
  • The Surveying Award 2020
  • The Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020
  • The Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020
  • The Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020 and
  • The forepersons would be award-free.

So what you need to do is look for awards that might cover your particular industry and then awards which might cover particular occupations or capacities that you employ people in.

Classifications

After determining which Award applies to your business you then need to match your employees against the classification structure.

Each Award defines ways that employees are classified against a pay scale. There is no universal classification structure and different Awards do it in different ways.

Some of the different classification structures include:

  • Competency based – Employees are assessed against a competency system and once they prove competent at certain tasks or jobs they would move up the classification structure. i.e. an employee that can perform three tasks competently is more valuable that one who can only perform two.
  • Work based – This system matches employees against the highest value work or task that they perform in the classification structure. For instance, an operator of an excavator would have a higher classification depending on the amount in tonnes that it can hold in its scoop.
  • Qualification based – Employees in fields where a certain level of education is required will be classified based on the highest level of qualification that they are required to use during the course of their work. This is common in fields like IT, accounting, and medical professions among others.

After you have determined which level an employee fits into you can then work out what their pay and entitlements are under the Award.

While we lay it out as simply we can here this can be a daunting task especially when some employers have little knowledge of Awards and how they work.

Need help?

Give us a call on 1300 108 488 or email enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter

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