The Fair Work Act 2009 has a number of requirements around terminating the services of an employee.
Each instance must be on its own merits and employers must afford the employee Natural Justice and Procedural Fairness. This involves inviting the employee to have a support person of their choice, the right to know what the issues are, the right to answer to the complaint (fair hearing), non-discriminatory, notice periods (if applicable) and a termination letter.
The Employer also has rights: the right to manage their business and make reasonable work instructions.
It is critical in all instances of termination of employment, that the employer take detailed notes of all conversations held.
If the employer steps outside the requirements of the Fair Work Act, they expose themselves to hefty fines and legal action.
If you are unsure of how to exit an employee or you have a difficult employee you need to exit from your business, please contact Solutions for Human Resources.
phone: 0429 410 991
Protect your business from future employee wages claims!
Salaried Employees – conditions need checking each year against the Award.
You may be aware that Award pay rates increased by 3.3% effective the first pay period on or after 1st July.
This is a timely reminder to review your Salaried or Annualised Wages.
Did you know that agreeing on an above award salary amount is not necessarily legal and you could be exposed to an expensive back-pay claim through the Fair Work Australia? Protect your business from employee wages claims and ensure compliance.
In most awards, you can only legally ‘buy out’ the following terms:
- When work is performed;
- Penalty rates;
- Overtime Rates;
- Allowances; and
- Leave loading.(check the conditions in your Award)
‘Buying out’ of these terms is only permitted if you can prove the employee is “Better Off Overall”. This means their salary is more than what the employee would have earnt if they were on ‘Wages’ and were paid all the applicable loadings, penalties, overtime etc.
A Salary is not a magic genie cure all that can exclude you from the applicable Award conditions.
It is also a myth that Managers and Supervisors are exempt from the Award.
A position or job title doesn’t make an employee Award exempt, it is being paid above the ‘high income threshold’ that allows an exemption.
Employees earning a ‘high income threshold’ salary which is now $142,000 per annum (@ 1st July 2017, this rate increases annually) are exempt from any associated Award and conditions. There are also conditions in the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards that apply.
What do you need to do to ensure your Salaried employees are compliant under the conditions of the Award and Fair Work Act?
- Prepare individual spreadsheets of award equivalent Wages calculations for the hours and times including penalties, loadings and overtime for each salaried employee.
- Each year, when award movements are announced (end of June) run the new minimum award rates in each person’s spreadsheet – check the award rate doesn’t exceed the salary rate.
- Check the working conditions of the employee are the same (ie. applicable penalties & loadings) and amend if work patterns have varied over time.
- If the award has caught-up to the salary rate, increase the salary to ensure you are compliant.
- Keep transparent records of these calculations in each employee’s Personnel File.
- Make a calendar reminder to do this review at the end of the financial year.
Do I need to increase the pay of my Salaried employees each year?
- If you have stated you will in the Letter of Offer/ employment agreement – then you need to keep this commitment (until you change your employment agreement);
- If you haven’t made a commitment, then you do not – that is, not until the Award rates meet or exceed the Salary.
- HOWEVER – you may choose to keep the employee’s salary up to date with the CPI movements – this can have a positive impact on employee morale.
If you would like assistance in understanding Salaries and Annualised Wages, and ensure your protection against employee wages claims, please contact Solutions for Human Resources (phone: 0429 410 991 or Hellen@Solutions4HR.com.au)
Managing Social Media and Staff
Some businesses successfully use Social Media as a marketing tool. Some organisations even employ a dedicated person who manages the organisation’s public presence on social media.
A large number of employees regularly use their private social media accounts to connect with co-workers, managers and clients. Some businesses also have a Facebook group for staff to ‘chat’ and exchange information.
Social media can be a fantastic tool to keep the team connected, but this can quickly go bad when an aggrieve employee has a ‘dig’ at a co-worker or complaint about the organisation or a management decision.
Employers now need to manage:
- Aggrieved employees undermining the business brand; and
- On-line workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination (inappropriate behaviour).
Managers need to address how employees make comments on public forums about the organisation and co-workers, even when comments made on their own time.
Particularly with inappropriate behaviour, if not managed correctly when a complaint is made, the employer can be implicated. Managing Social Media and Staff in a modern world is important for your HR strategy
Does this now mean we should friend all employees and monitor their social media?
No, definitely not. But, it does mean if a complaint is made, a proper investigation should be carried out and appropriate management action should be taken.
Clear expectations on social media should be included into Induction Training and Information Technology/ Social Media policies and procedures.
Avoid ‘knee-jerk’ responses to breaches of social media/ IT policies and procedures.
Before terminating employment due to activity on social media, ensure the behaviour or post:
- Relates to work;
- Shows actual intent to damage the business’s reputation;
- Damages your business reputation or the reputation of another organisation; and or
- Is in breach of a documented policy and procedure.
If you would like assistance in developing a comprehensive Social Media and IT use policy and procedure, please contact Solutions for Human Resources (phone: 0429 410 991 or Hellen@Solutions4HR.com.au)
Motivating staff to the desired standards can be as simple as spending time with employees in one-on-one Performance Appraisals.
Performance Appraisals can be an excellent Management Tool if they:
- Are a two-way, honest and open discussion about the employee’s performance;
- Consider the employee’s personal goals and aspirations as well as those of the organisation;
- Focus on both positive and negative behaviours and outcomes; and
- Deal with negative feedback in a way that provides the employee with clear achievable replacement behaviours and standards – done in a ‘coaching’ manner.
Why not start the New Year with one-on-one time with each employee to let them know how they are going in an encouraging conversation? – A Performance Appraisal. Motivating staff has many benefits for your business.
Take the opportunity to give positive and negative feedback in a supportive coaching conversation – employees really appreciate this. You will find employees will start asking for regular performance appraisals.
Make it clear to the team that having a Performance Appraisal is not a ‘bonus’ system. It is a process of giving honest open two-way feedback.
However, whenever individual bonuses are given, it is strongly recommended to conduct a Performance Appraisal with the employee to ensure they clearly link Performance and Rewards.
Why not use the Performance Appraisal discussion to ask the employee if they have experienced or witnessed any inappropriate behaviour like bulling, harassment and discrimination. Management have obligations under the Fair Work Act, Workplace Health and Safety Act and Anti-Discrimination Act to eliminate this behaviour in the workplace. Then of course, document any such discussions and manage issues appropriately.
For new Employees, Performance Appraisals are critical during the Probationary Period. The probationary period is management’s opportunity to review a new employee’s performance and if not up to standard, the employer has the ability to terminate employment much easier than once the probationary period has ended. Why not use probationary periods wisely and regularly assess performance.
If you would like to implement a ‘proven’ Performance Appraisal System of forms, procedures and training of your management team, please contact Solutions for Human Resources. Systems are be customised to each businesses and include strategies on how to ‘sell’ it to employees.
Contact: Hellen Ryan, Principal Consultant, Solutions for Human Resources email: Hellen@Solutions4HR.com.au or phone: 0429 410 991 or www.Solutions4HR.com.au
Are you aware that Employers can be vicariously liable for an employee’s behaviour whilst attending a business social function?
- the business social function is in the employee’s own time and voluntary to attend,
- the behaviour is directed to a manager or contractor, let alone a co-worker or subordinate
This is a timely reminder for Employers to re-familiarise their Employees with the code of conduct expected at a business social function.
An easy way to do this is hold a 5 minute discussion at the next team meeting or add a little reminder to the next staff Newsletter.
The aim of such reminder is to make sure everyone enjoys themselves, socialises with co-workers, but do not to forget about the requirements for Safety and Appropriate Behaviour.
Employees need to be reminded that un-safe behaviour, discrimination, harassment and bullying at a business organised social event will not be tolerated. And that any breach of these usual standards of the workplace, though in their own time, will jeopardise employment.
Also, employers are encouraged to give a timely reminder to have a designated driver, taxi or courtesy bus organised. Employees are discouraged from drinking and driving under any circumstances.
Employers are encouraged to review your policies and procedures to ensure:
- Your organisation has a clear policy and procedure covering standards of behaviour in relation to bullying, harassment, discrimination and consumption of drugs or alcohol.
- These policies and procedures have been communicated with ALL employees – and you have evidence of such.
- These policies and procedures have clear strategies in place to deal with breaches.
If you would like some assistance in reviewing or developing comprehensive policies and procedures on Preventing Inappropriate Behaviour (Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination) and Drugs and Alcohol Management, please contact Solutions4HR HERE or;
Hellen Ryan, Principal Consultant, Solutions for Human Resources email: Hellen@Solutions4HR.com.au or phone: 0429 410 991
Progressive organisations are becoming better at conflict management between their talent needs of today and the future, and not “saving” top talent for roles yet to become available.This might mean HR needs to take the step of removing employees who are blocking the career progress of others.
Talent management has come a long way from the nine-box model but organisations could be much more proactive in ensuring their best people are assigned to their most important jobs or clients and filling their most important roles now, as opposed to planning for it in the future.
Conflict Management through collaboration works by integrating ideas set out by multiple people. The object is to find a creative solution acceptable to everyone. Collaboration, though useful, calls for a significant time commitment not appropriate to all conflicts. For example, a business owner should work collaboratively with the manager to establish policies, but collaborative decision-making regarding office supplies wastes time better spent on other activities.
Conflict Management through the avoidance strategy seeks to put off conflict indefinitely. By delaying or ignoring the conflict, the avoider hopes the problem resolves itself without a confrontation. Those who actively avoid conflict frequently have low esteem or hold a position of low power. In some circumstances, avoiding can serve as a profitable conflict management strategy, such as after the dismissal of a popular but unproductive employee. The hiring of a more productive replacement for the position soothes much of the conflict.
Conflict Management through the compromising strategy typically calls for both sides of a conflict to give up elements of their position in order to establish an acceptable, if not agreeable, solution. This strategy prevails most often in conflicts where the parties hold approximately equivalent power. Business owners frequently employ compromise during contract negotiations with other businesses when each party stands to lose something valuable, such as a customer or necessary service
For more information call Hellen or CONTACT US