Dealing with the construction industry lockdown and vaccinations

Dealing with the construction industry lockdown and vaccinations

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Dealing with the construction industry lockdown and vaccinations

lockdown vaccination

Construction businesses are being called on by the Victorian Government to lift their game in assuring compliance with COVID safety requirements.

The Government has advised that nearly 50% of construction sites inspected were not compliant and that around 150 construction sites had become contact sites.

Initially, the directive was that all construction workers had to get a first jab of COVID vaccination if they were going to be permitted to work on a construction site.

Then, on last Monday following violent demonstrations, the Government decided to lock down the industry for 2 weeks.

What does this mean for construction employers?

If there is no other work available for construction employees, they would then be stood down without pay for the two week lockdown. People will be able to return to work on Tuesday 5 October 2021 provided they have provided their employer with proof that they either:

  • Have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination, or
  • Have medical exemption issued by an authorised medical practitioner.

Employers must verify what each employee’s situation is in relation to vaccination and must maintain records of vaccinations and exemptions.

If an employee does not provide the required evidence or just refuses to get vaccinated, the employer must not allow them to return to work and so that again means that the employee would be stood down without pay until such time as the employee produces the evidence required or the vaccination mandate directive is lifted (which is not likely to happen soon).

You should ensure that stand down directions with reasons are provided in writing to each employee that is being stood down.

We are assisting many construction employers in dealing with this issue by providing advice and drafting communications and notices for them.

If you need assistance, call us on 0438 533 311 or email 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

New casual rule deadline is here

New casual rule deadline is here

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New casual rule deadline is here

casual conversion running out of time

27 September 2021 is just about here and that is when the new rules on casual engagement and conversion come fully into effect.

The Federal Government made amendments to the Fair Work Act back in March. The purpose of the amendments was to provide greater surety about what casual employment is, what entitlements casual employees have and when a casual employee can be offered or apply for conversion to full-time or part-time employment. See our post on 12 May on the legislative changes: https://ridgelinehr.com.au/new-standards-on-casual-employment/

Since then, the Fair Work Commission has been reviewing award provisions relevant to casual employment and casual conversion to align them with the revised provisions of the Fair Work Act.

The changes to Award provisions that it has decided on will also take effect from 27 September 2021. In most cases, the FWC has simply decided to scrap the existing Award provisions for clauses that really just reflect or refer to the new Fair Work Act provisions.

There are some exceptions so you need to check the particular Awards that cover your operations and employees.

Key points in terms of your obligations and exposures as an employer are:

  • You must provide all current and future casual employees with a Casual Employment Information Statement which you can access at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/national-employment- standards/casual-employment-information-statement
  • If you have 15 or more employees and you have a casual employee who has been on with you for 12 months and on a consistent work pattern for the last 6 months, you are required to assess them for conversion to ongoing employment by 27 September 2021 or, in future, within 21 days of the employee’s 12 month anniversary of commencing employment.
  • Regardless of how many employees you have, eligible casual employees can request conversion to ongoing employment, you have to respond to that request in writing within 21 days and, if the employee is dissatisfied with your response (eg you refuse the request), the employee can take the matter to the Fair Work Commission for determination.
  • What is really critical is that there is no firm commitment to an ongoing pattern of work in your contract of employment and other terms of the contract are consistent with the requirements and definition of casual employment now prescribed in the Fair Work Act.

What should you be doing:

  1. Assess the status of your casual employees re potential for conversion.
  2. Get your employment contracts professionally reviewed plus things like any position descriptions or job ads you use to ensure that they don’t have compromising content.

If you need a hand with that, give us a call on 0421 592 541 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Pay just $600 plus GST in lieu of the regular price of $750 plus GST. Check it out.

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

ACCC successful with Employsure appeal

ACCC successful with Employsure appeal

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ACCC successful with Employsure appeal

In 2018, the ACCC commenced proceedings against Employsure alleging that it had engaged in deceptive conduct, misleading consumers through its google ads which seemed to suggest that it had affiliations with Government agencies – the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission.

On 1 October 2020, a Federal Court judge ruled against the ACCC but now, on appeal, the Full Federal Court has unanimously ruled in favour of the ACCC.

The Google Ads, published between August 2016 and August 2018, featured headlines such as ‘Fair Work Ombudsman Help – Free 24/7 Employer Advice’ and ‘Fair Work Commission Advice – Free Employer Advice’ and appeared in response to search terms such as ‘fair work ombudsman’.

The Full Court found that Employsure’s Google Ads were misleading in large part because of the use of the government agency names in the largest and most prominent typeface, and because the ads omitted any reference whatsoever to Employsure.

They are still running the Google ads but without the Government authority references.

Employsure has also been prosecuted in the NSW courts for unfair contracts and we have come across numerous businesses which have had difficulty getting out of those contracts.

There are many very good cloud-based compliance solutions out there – our preferred one is Employment Hero. Check it out here.

You can see the full ACCC statement on the Employsure case here.  

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Pay just $600 plus GST in lieu of the regular price of $750 plus GST. Check it out.

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

A message from our Practice Leader

A message from our Practice Leader

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A message from our Practice Leader

WorkSafe infringement

Our long-time and valued Associate, Chris White, has retired effective from 30 June 2021.

Chris has been assisting Ridgeline HR clients and Civil Contractors Federation members with enterprise agreement making and sundry other workplace relations matters since 2014.

Chris has been a great member of the team – we enjoyed a great relationship and shared values based on trust and mutual respect. I can’t recall us having a serious difference in the 7 years that he worked with Ridgeline HR nor in our prior dealings when he was CEO of the Civil Contractors Federation National Office and Ridgeline HR was his workplace relations advisor.

Chris’s extensive knowledge of the civil construction industry has been of enormous value to us over the years as has been his engaging manner, strong work ethic and excellent relationship management skills.

So thank you, Chris, for all that you have done for us and please take with you our best wishes for your happy and healthy retirement. I know the grandchildren, the boat and the golf clubs beckon along with a bit of travel when you are able to do that.

We will miss you.

To our clients, if you are one of those who used Chris’s services, please be assured that we can continue to provide you with everything that Chris looked after and more.

Happily, last year, my son Liam joined the business and is now taking on some of the work that Chris did as well as our Workplace Relations Compliance
Assessments.

We are looking forward to a very busy time ahead as we roll out more new services and continue to provide and build on our traditional workplace relations and generalist HR offerings.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Maguire
Practice Leader
Ridgeline HR

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

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

New WorkSafe infringement notices

New WorkSafe infringement notices

Latest News & Events

 

New WorkSafe infringement notices

WorkSafe infringement

As from 31 July 2021, WorkSafe inspectors can issue infringement notices with penalties ranging from $90.87 to $363.48 for an individual and $1817.40 for a corporation.

What is an infringement notice?

An infringement notice is a fine given by a WorkSafe inspector to a person who has committed an infringement offence (as prescribed under Schedule 20 of the OHS Regulations from 31 July 2021). The notice requires the person to pay a fixed penalty.

An infringement notice will include information about:

  • the alleged offence
  • how much is owed
  • options for resolving an infringement, including options to pay the infringement penalty, requesting a review of the infringement notice, or electing to have the infringement offence heard and determined in Court, and
  • the payment due date which will give you at least 21 days to pay from the date the notice is served

What are infringement offences?

An infringement notice can be issued for an infringement offence as an alternative to prosecution.

There are 54 offences under the OHS Act and Regulations that are prescribed as infringement offences.

In summary, the offences relate to:

  • undertaking work without a required licence, registration, qualification, experience or supervision
  • using plant that is not licensed or registered as required
  • failing to meet various duties relating to the removal and storage of asbestos
  • failure to keep various required records

Can I appeal an infringement notice?

You can elect for the infringement to be reviewed by the Internal Review Unit or elect to have the infringement offence heard and determined in court.

If you want WorkSafe to review your fine, you can apply for internal review at any time before the due date for payment listed on your infringement notice or your penalty reminder notice, or within 14 days of becoming aware of a notice if you were unaware of it.

After the due date on the penalty reminder notice, if your fine has not been paid WorkSafe will register the infringement offence with Fines Victoria and you will not be able to apply to WorkSafe for review.

The grounds you can request a review include if you believe:

  • there were exceptional circumstance which applied at the time
  • the decision was contrary to law
  • you are a person who has special circumstances
  • there has been a mistake of identity
  • you were unaware of the notice

The above information has been sourced from www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

If you require assistance with this or any workplace health and safety matter, we encourage you to contact our specialist associate, Bevan Smillie at Smilsafe – see www.smilsafe.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