As an HR professional, are you up to date with compliant business policies and practices that support your employees?
No one can deny that it has been a busy few months for HR and Payroll professionals to navigate. The beginning of March saw new compliance requirements come into effect for annualised salaries covered by modern awards, which was quickly followed by the introduction of the JobKeeper package and a range of changes to employment law in response to the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
Casual employees have also come under intense scrutiny in recent years, even more so now during the looming economic downturn. Recent cases have put the spotlight on employers who mistakenly and/or incorrectly classify casuals, exposing the business to potential claims for unpaid entitlements in addition to casual loading payments already made.
HR professionals are integral to an organisation given the role they play in supporting employee welfare. Ensuring the wellbeing and engagement of employees is a primary focus for businesses who see this as a key driver for success.
A survey conducted by SuperFriend revealed that only 18.1 per cent of Australian employees were highly engaged with their work in 2018. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace research also found businesses with more engaged workforces have better business outcomes, including increased productivity and profitability.
It’s clear that increasing employee engagement can be good for business. However, promoting employee engagement also means ensuring that employees can trust their employers to abide by their employment law obligations.
It’s therefore crucial that HR professionals stay informed of any employment-related, legislative or regulatory changes that arise. Having up-to-date business policies and practices that reflect the legislative landscape not only ensures employees feel they are part of a workplace that treats them fairly, but also mitigates the risk (and consequences) of employers getting it wrong.
Datacom’s new eBook Employment Law changes for Australian HR professionalism covers the recent changes to employment with useful case studies to help HR professionals best assist their organisations.
Here’s a taste of some of the insights the Ebook provides:
The inclusion of new model clauses in certain modern awards providing for the payment of annualised salaries has introduced a range of strict new compliance requirements for businesses. HR leaders will need to know what these requirements are and how best to implement them into current processes and policies.
The availability of the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme presents a range of criteria and compliance requirements that HR needs visibility on.
Furthermore, temporary changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 to accommodate the scheme, such as unpaid pandemic leave and variations to certain awards, are significant updates that all organisations need to be across.
Recent decisions regarding the misclassification of casual employees – who are in fact entitled to permanent employee status – will lead to increased scrutiny on employers.
Determining whether casual employment is on a “regular and systematic” basis has also taken on more significance since its inclusion in assessing JobKeeper eligibility for casuals.
An indirect consequence of the JobKeeper scheme may be the increased use of casual conversion clauses. It’s therefore crucial to refresh your understanding of the circumstances in which casual employees can invoke these clauses and what employer obligations apply.
While many businesses are currently focusing on the safety and wellbeing of staff, and rightly so, HR professionals also need to be mindful of the legislative changes beyond COVID-19.
Keeping up with your employment obligations is crucial, particularly in these unsettling and unprecedented times. Your payroll provider will be helping you meet your obligations. They should be able to offer you solutions to help address the requirements for annualised salaries, manage JobKeeper payments and support you to be equipped to handle changes to employment terms as a result of casual conversion requests.
In the eBook, you can also read case studies that our Australian payroll compliance team have compiled about how the current legislation could impact your business.
We are here to assist you with the essential service you provide your employees.