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Compliance - Start the New Year Right!

Coming into a brand new year is a great time to review your HR policies and procedures so as to ensure you are, and continue to be, compliant and meeting your legal employment obligations.

While it may sound like it is a difficult and time consuming task, taking the time now to ensure that you have the correct documentation and procedures in place will help save you time (and potentially money) down the track should potential issues arise.

To assist with this process, we have prepared the following checklist of key steps to take:

1. Review your employment agreements and onboarding documentation

The new year provides a perfect time to review your record keeping practices and to ensure your employment agreements are current and up to date.

Some questions to consider are:

  • Do all of your employees have a documented employment agreement in place?
  • Do your employment agreements expressly state the minimum notice period that needs to be given in the event of termination?(Note: this should be at least equal to the minimum amount specified in the National Employment Standards and/or the applicable modern award).
  • If you have any employees who are paid an annualised salary:
    • Does their employment agreement clearly identify which entitlements have been included within their annualised salary arrangement?
    • Have the annualised salary arrangements been reviewed to ensure that the Better Off Overall Test remains is satisfied. (Note: such salary arrangements should be reviewed at minimum annually).
  • Are new employees are being provided with the most recent version of the Fair Work Information Statement?

2. Modern Award or Agreement Compliance

A large proportion of employees in Australia are covered by a modern award or workplace agreement. As such, you need to ensure that:

  • You are meeting your minimum obligations under the applicable award or agreement. This includes:
  • Minimum rates of pay,
  • Relevant overtime and penalty rates,
  • Applicable allowances,
  • Application of meal break provisions.
  • The appropriate award and position classification level has been identified for each employee.
  • You remain familiar with the applicable awards and any communicated updates or changes to ensure ongoing compliance with any changes.
  • Annual award wage increases are applied.

3. Workplace Policies and Procedures

Workplace policies and procedures can provide a number of benefits for employers, including helping employees know what is expected of them, setting guidelines for employees and can help provide protection from breaches of employment legislation.

  • Ensure that you have policies in place that cover key employment areas, including:
    • Discrimination/bullying/harassment,
    • Workplace Health and Safety,
    • Drug/alcohol use
    • Social media usage,
    • Internet/Email usage
    • Motor Vehicle Usage
    • Performance management
  • Ensure that your policies and procedures have been communicated to all employees and that a copy of the documents are available for all employees to review.
  • Ensure that your policy manual and employment agreement documentation make it clear that:
    • The policies may be reviewed and amended by the employer from time to time, and that
    • The policies do not create contractual entitlements upon which employees can rely.

4. Educate and Train Your Employees

While having up to date policies in place is a must have, steps need to be taken to ensure that your employees know what to do with them and what is required to comply.

  • Regular compliance training should be conducted with your employees to assist with managing potential legal risks.
  • Consideration should be given to the frequency of when you last undertook:
    • Sexual Harassment training,
    • Bullying and Discrimination training
    • Training in Workplace Health and Safety requirements

To ensure that you are meeting your legal obligations and responsibilities, it is recommended that sexual harassment and bullying training be conducted at a minimum of every two years.

HR Advice Online can assist you with reviewing and addressing each of the above items, and we can facilitate training programs onsite in your workplace (in addition to your HR Advice Online Subscription) for both your employees and managers.

Please contact us on 1300 720 004 or via email at advice@hradviceonline.com.au for more information on how we can help you.

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