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Employer obligations: are you aware of your responsibilities?

April 21, 2016

responsibility-resized

As an employer, you are heavily regulated by the complex employment relations framework in Australia. This framework imposes a number of employer obligations on you through the Fair Work Act, Modern Awards and other legislative instruments. Being aware of the rights and responsibilities of employers is essential in this highly regulated area of the law.

What employer obligations are you aware of?

Fair Work Act

The Fair Work Act imposes a number of employer obligations on you. Not only do the National Employment Standards dictate the minimum entitlements for employees, but the Act also dictates the ways in which you need to run your business. For instance, are you aware of your pay slip/record keeping obligations under the Fair Work Act? Did you know that under the Fair Work Act it is an employer’s responsibility to issue a compliant pay slip within one working day of paying an employee? Are you comfortable to explain to your employee their ten minimum workplace entitlements under the National Employment Standards? Have you issued each of your employees a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement when they commenced employment?

Take our HR Assured Health Check now  to see if your business is compliant with the Fair Work Regulations.

Modern Awards

Are your employees covered by a Modern Award? It is your obligation as an employer to be aware if your employees are covered by an Award. A Modern Award provides the minimum entitlements of your eligible employees. This includes their minimum wages, the minimum/maximum hours of work, rostering provisions that must be adhered to as well as information on when entitlements such as overtime etc. are payable.

Did you know that you are in breach of the Fair Work Act if you fail to comply with provisions of a Modern Award?

Employment Contracts

Have you issued your employees a compliant employment contract? It is an employer’s obligation to ensure that their employees have all been issued with an employment contract. Employers often have difficulties dealing with their employees when there are no employment contracts in place to guide the employment relationship.

Problems include:

  • uncertainty about the correct notice period on termination
  • disputes about what employees should be paid
  • being  unable to enforce confidentiality obligations on employees
  • disputes about job roles/inclusions
  • confusion around what entitlements a salary includes.

All employees should be given an employment contract, including casuals and temporary employees. While having contracts in place doesn’t eliminate all workplace relations issues, they definitely help in the long term, providing both employers and employees with consistency, certainty and predictability.

Workplace Policies/Employee Handbook

Companies often have ‘implied’ policies or ‘known rules’ around the workplace that are not in writing but are just things that ‘most employees know or should know.’ In order to be able to enforce these rules or policies, you must have that ‘rule’ clearly in writing specifying the consequences of breaching rule (policy) –-we can assist with that. At HR Assured we offer a ‘tailored’ Employee Handbook – this is not an ‘off the shelf model’ – it is drafted to meet the specific needs of your business.

For example, an employer believes their employee is under the influence of alcohol/drugs at work. They do not have an alcohol/drug policy in place, so would fall into difficulty when directing an employee to take a drug test/alcohol test.

How can we help your business?

  • We would implement a drug and alcohol policy which would grant an employer a right to direct a person to undergo a drug/alcohol test.
  • You might be faced with the situation when employees are posting information on their social media sites about the company/other employees. Without a social media policy, employers can’t control what employees do online.
  • We would implement an exhaustive social media policy, covering off on social media use at work, as well as social media work in personal time relating to work activities/employees.

For more information on employer obligations, clients should contact the HR Assured team. If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today for an informal chat.