Would a conversation work better?

I often hear talk in businesses about how people are sending too many emails instead of just going and talking to the other party.

Organisations everywhere seem to be struggling with managing this and the impact that it can have on work and personal relationships.

I learned the value of conversations a long time ago under two very different managers – the first one managed HR by getting around the place and having conversations with people. The second sat in his office and issued policies and memos.

People loved the first one, trusted him, listened to him and worked proactively with him. Of course he confirmed things in writing when necessary but relationships came first. He was great to work for.

The second one was not a bad guy but, because he dealt through memo rather than conversations, people did not get to know him. He was all risk management process and really didn’t have good relationships with anyone. So they didn’t trust him and they resisted him. I looked for and found another job.

I saw this image on linkedin and thought it captured the message really well.

Acknowledgement: @SteeleThoughts

Perhaps before sending an email, we should think about whether a conversation would be better.

Not a bad exercise for a team to have a conversation about – when you should have a conversation and when an email is best.

Supporting World Mental Health Day

Lots of changes from 1 July 2019

It seems that the pace of change in workplace relations keeps accelerating just like it does in other aspects of business and life.

Part of our role is to keep you informed about changes in your responsibilities as an employer so here are the “heads ups” on what’s changed from 1 July 2019 and a few other things that you need to be aware of.

Increases in national minimum wage and award rates

The Fair Work Commission increased the National Minimum Wage (for award-free employees) and award rates by 3% effective from the commencement of the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019. More information available at the Fair Work Ombudsman who publish pay guides and have a pay calculator tool.

Increases in unfair dismissal and high income thresholds

The high-income threshold under the Fair Work Act 2009 has increased to $148,700 (employees who earn more than this and are not covered by an award or have signed a high income declaration are not eligible to make unfair dismissal claims).

Also the maximum payout for unfair dismissal claims (which is equivalent to 26 weeks’ pay)has increased to $74,350.00.

Superannuation contribution cap

The maximum superannuation contribution base will increase from $54,030 to $55,270 per quarter meaning that the maximum contribution per quarter under the Superannuation Guarantee (9.5% of ordinary time earnings) from 1 July 2019 is $5,250.65.  

Portable long service leave for some industries

The Victorian “Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018” comes into effect from 1 July 2019.

From that date, workers in the community services, contract cleaning and security industries will be entitled to portable long service leave for all service in the industry regardless of how many employers they might have or for how long they work for an individual employer in the industry. This is funded by an Employer Levy to apply to the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme as follows:

  • 1.65% for community services
  • 1.80% for contract cleaning
  • 1.80% for security

For more information, see our earlier article

Reductions in Sunday penalty rates in some awards

The final set of reductions in Sunday penalty rates which have occurred over the past few years in various hospitality and retail awards take effect from 1 July 2019. The awards are:

  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010

All of the details can be accessed here.

Fair Work Information Statement

Under National Employment Standards, all new employees must be provided with a Fair Work Information Statement which explains a range of workplace rights and where to go for assistance with those. This has been updated and the new version that must be provided to new employees from 1 July 2019 and instructions on how to issue it can be accessed below.

Fair Work Information Statement 2019

Other stuff

There have been other recent changes and more coming on a range of employment matters including:

The Bottom Line

With all of this change, you want to ensure that you have access to competent professional advice on workplace relations and compliant employment contracts, policies and procedures.

We are of course happy to help. If that is something that you want to explore, please contact us.

Hoping you have a great 2019/2020 year.

Labour hire licensing starting

The Victorian “Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018” partially came into operation on 29 April 2019.

The first step in this is that labour hire firms wanting to operate in Victoria have to get a licence within 6 months (ie by 29 October 2019).

When the Act comes into full operation, it will be an offence for a labour hire firm to operate without a licence and also for a business which hires an unlicensed labour hire operator.

If you currently use labour hire services, you should enquire as to whether they are intending to obtain a licence and validate their eligibility to legally operate before 29 October 2019.

If you provide people to work inside businesses in any way, you should also investigate the question of whether your business qualifies as a labour hire operator under the Act.

Further information can be obtained from the Labour Hire Authority.

Portable long service leave coming on 1 July 2019

The Victorian “Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018” comes into effect from 1 July 2019.

From that date, workers in the community services, contract cleaning and security industries will be entitled to portable long service leave for all service in the industry regardless of how many employers they might have or for how long they work for an individual employer in the industry. This is funded by an Employer Levy to apply to the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme as follows:

  • 1.65% for community services
  • 1.80% for contract cleaning
  • 1.80% for security

Employers in these industries are required to register with the Portable Long Service Benefits Authority within 3 months (ie by 30 September 2019).

Each quarter, January, April, July and October, registered businesses are required to lodge a quarterly return to the Portable Long Service Authority.

The quarterly return will include information about:

  • all workers who have worked for the business during that quarter
  • the ordinary hours they have worked
  • the pay they received during the quarter

The first quarterly return will require businesses to register all workers for the first time.

When a quarterly return is lodged, the levy must be paid at the same time.

The levy is calculated based on the worker’s ordinary pay.

Further information for employers on registration, returns and levy payments can be accessed here.

Existing employees who transition to the portable scheme will preserve their existing eligible service and entitlements. In these circumstances, an employer will be able to obtain a refund of levies paid in respect of that worker relative to that period of eligible service that comes after transition.

Information obtained in part from https://www.vic.gov.au .

FWC awards 3% wage increase

Today, the Fair Work Commission handed down the Annual Wage Review 2018-2019 decision.

That is to increase the national minimum wage and award wages by 3% effective from 1 July 2019.

The new National Minimum Wage will be $740.80 per week, or $19.49 per hour.

The increase is fully absorbable against overaward payments ie if you are paying employees base rates of more than 3% above award and you are also paying other entitlements under the relevant award and National Employment Standards, you can fully absorb the increase.

If you have an enterprise agreement or contract of employment that stipulates that wages will be adjusted in line with annual wage review or variations in award rates, you will need to pass these increases on.

If you are paying award-covered employees on an annualised salary basis or on an overaward payment that is intended to set off any monetary award provisions, you should review the arrangement to ensure that it remains above award once the new rates take effect.

Anyone requiring assistance in dealing with the issue is welcome to contact us for support.

Leverage relationships for results

If people are your greatest asset (as is so often said to be the case), why is it that so few organisations actually put people at the centre of their business strategy and activity?

Why? Because for the past thirty years, Australian businesses have generally been focused on risk management and process control and more recently metrics as the drivers for managing people.

The philosophy has been about efficient process,  delegation of responsibility, compliance and consequences for non-compliance.

But that is hardly engaging, is it? And, while you certainly need to have efficient processes and appropriate policies in any business, it won’t really deliver a high performance culture, will it?

So what can you do differently?

Use the relationships between people in your business as the driver for improvements.

You do this by understanding and getting buy in to the inter-dependencies between people and here are a few examples:

  • When you have someone new start, identify the key people that this new starter will interact with in their role and introduce them to what these relationships look like by getting them to ask three questions of each of these people: What is your role? What do you rely on me for? What do I rely on you for? That will help the new person to settle in so much faster and effectively because they understand where they fit in the relationship sense.
  • When you set up a project, map the inter-dependencies between project team members and other stakeholders by answering those same 3 questions. That is a great aid to project planning and execution.
  • When you are resolving conflict between people, explore the inter-dependencies (ie what do I rely on you for and what do you rely on me for).  Then determine what is working well and celebrate it and identify what can be improved and commit to a plan together to deliver those improvements. By focusing on the professional inter-dependencies and partnering in the improvement plan, you move beyond the blame game to effective shared solutions.    

These are just a few of the ways that we leverage the power of positive relationships in Helping PEOPLE in BUSINESS.