While the first few weeks of the New Year are often spent contemplating your personal New Year’s resolutions, it can also be a useful time to think about your Company’s legal compliance, and its policies and procedures. Sound difficult and tedious? Here’s a quick checklist to assist:
1. Are our employment contracts/on boarding processes in order?
Your employment contracts and on-boarding processes should be regularly reviewed to ensure they remain compliant with any changes to the law. For example:
- Your employment contracts must expressly state the minimum notice period required to be given in the event of termination. This must be at least equal to the minimum amount specified in the National Employment Standards.
- If your business has employees that are paid a salary pursuant to an annualised salary clause under a modern award, their employment contract must specifically identify which provisions of the Award are modified by the annualised salary arrangement.
- All new employees are provided with the most recent Fair Work Information Statement, which was introduced on 1 July 2016.
2. Is our business compliant with the relevant Award?
A large proportion of Australian workers, including those in hospitality, retail, trades and clerical roles, are covered by modern awards. If your employees are award-covered:
- Are you meeting your minimum obligations under the applicable award? This includes with regard to the relevant overtime and penalty rates, allowances and meal break provisions.
- Have you identified the appropriate classification for each employee?
Are you aware of the recent changes to Annual Leave provisions in modern awards that could impact your business?
- It is important that your company’s Managers and HR staff remain familiar with the applicable awards to ensure ongoing compliance with any changes.
3. Do we need to look at our Enterprise Agreement or consider Individual Flexibility Agreements?
Does your organisation have an Enterprise Agreement that is due to expire soon and may require re-negotiating? Or would your business be better served by utilising Individual Flexibility Agreements which provide greater adaptability for your workforce, including flexibility surrounding setting conditions for allowances, payment of overtime and rostering?
4. Do we have an appropriate workplace policy manual?
Your obligations to your employees extend beyond the employment contract. A Policy and Procedures Manual, distributed to all staff, should cover critical areas, including discrimination/bullying/harassment, OHS, social media use, drug/alcohol use, performance management and termination.
However, both the policy manual and individual employment contracts must make it clear that policies may be subject to amendment from time to time and do not create contractual entitlements upon which employees can rely.
5. Does our business have appropriate training programs in place?
Conducting regular training can assist the Company in managing legal risks including reducing safety incidents and avoiding inappropriate workplace behaviour. Has it been a while since your workforce has undergone Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination training? Have your staff been reminded of and kept up to date with the relevant safety requirements?
HR Legal can assist you with checking off these items. Contact us for more information on how we can help you start 2017 on the right note.
This article was produced by HR Legal. It is intended to provide general information only in summary format on legal issues. It does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such.