All levels of government impose a range of onerous and complex regulatory requirements on small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Ensuring that your business is legally compliant can be an expensive and time-consuming task. If you are currently overlooking regulatory compliance because it seems too hard and time consuming, you are doing so at your peril. Ultimately, keeping on top of such issues on an ongoing basis is vital, especially you want to avoid running into major people problems.
Over the past few months, we’ve been approached by a large number of prospective clients who are interested in what HR Assured can do for their business. Sadly, we’ve noticed some worrying trends.
Approximately 40% of employers we talked with did NOT use written employment contracts.
A written employment contract defines the terms and conditions of employment for your staff. If you have been operating your business successfully for a number of years without hitting a bump in the road regarding the terms on which you’ve employed someone, you’ve had a lucky run and it probably won’t last. You need to ensure all your staff have a written employment contract sooner rather than later.
A well-drafted employment contract will minimise the likelihood of a workplace dispute arising in the first place, especially if the terms and conditions are set out in full. If something goes wrong and you find yourself in a dispute with a member of your team, the employment contract will help you to resolve it. Finally, any employment contract should protect your confidential information and intellectual property, which is often the key to a business’s success.
More than three-quarters of those we talked with did NOT have adequate workplace policies in place.
Well-drafted workplace policies ensure that your employees are aware of the behavioural standards that apply in the workplace, as well as of your more general expectations of their behaviour when they are representing your business in public. In this way, appropriately drafted policies will enable you to manage your people more effectively and efficiently.
Effective workplace policies should include a code of conduct, which covers the following areas:
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures.
In addition, the complex and numerous regulatory requirements placed on SMEs make it even more important that you ensure workplace policies are tailored to the individual needs of your business.
Approximately 60% of prospective clients engaged independent contractors. Alarmingly, a significant proportion of those businesses did NOT have contractor agreements.
The engagement of independent contractors is a complex and often misunderstood area of the law. If mishandled, it can to lead to a dispute with the contractor and you could find yourself facing a claim in one or more of the following areas:
- Sham contracting
- Employment rights/entitlements
- Workers’ compensation.
Such claims can lead to formal prosecution and, if successful, a penalty may be imposed.
For these reasons, if you are contemplating engaging a contractor in your business, you should use a well-drafted contractor agreement.
How can HR Assured help?
We understand that you are busy, and that spending time on compliance issues distracts you from doing what you do best – running your business. However, the possible consequences of non-compliance are too serious to ignore.
At HR Assured, we offer a complete workplace solution so that you can be sure your people management practices comply with Australia’s complex, and constantly changing, employment laws.
We offer four key services, for a low-cost monthly fee, that will protect and empower your business by ensuring that you don’t run into people problems. They are:
- A detailed compliance review that will help identify risks and uncover threats resulting from incomplete, incorrect or missing processes that would expose you to penalties for failing to comply with the Fair Work Act.
- An online information and management system, HRA Cloud, that provides you with human resources and workplace relations support wherever and whenever you need it.
- Access to our dedicated team of workplace relations specialists, who are available around the clock to support you and your business with any workplace relations matter.
- In the event that an employment-related claim is brought against your business, HR Assured provides you with full coverage (with no excess) for legal costs and damages up to $2 million. You will also be represented by Australia’s leading workplace relations firm, FCB Workplace Law.
Would you like to talk to one of our advisors about how HR Assured’s complete workplace relations solution can help your business? Please call us on (02) 9083 0083. Alternatively, you can find out more about us here.