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Weekly Key HR News January 9 2017

When your employees travel you need to do this

Making sure that employees have clear information and guidance when they are away from home and the main office is essential. This goes beyond a motor vehicle policy and includes your Travel and Expense Reimbursement approach.
This recent article from HC Online
includes key considerations when employees are traveling overseas.
Were you aware that your Duty of Care to provide a safe workplace in many countries exists regardless of whether then employee is in the home country or not?
OHS, workers compensation and accident insurance are other areas where your liability as an employer often remains clear. In fact for some countries, the act of sending an employee to a destination known or reasonably suspected to contain risks to health and safety
What you need to consider includes:
– the absolute necessity for employees to travel (even if flying interstate) given the quality of video and phone conferencing
– what steps you have taken to identify potential risks and ensure that the employee has an appropriate induction to the new/temporary work site
– how you will respond if your employee becomes ill or is injured while away
– what resources you have put in place to monitor risks, travel and employee wellbeing

Managers Must Always Keep Their Emotions In Check

A casual employee has had a “successful” outcome at Fair Work being awarded just over $11000 in compensation for an unfair dismissal because clear facts and comments could not be established.
At the heart of the case reported by VECCI here is that the Commissioner needed to make a judgement about which version of events was more likely to be true between that given by the employee and that of the supervisor.
The point is that a casual employee (this one had been employed for over 5 years) can be eligible to claim unfair dismissal.

You also need to be aware that:
– emotionally charged conversations involving a manager or supervisor carry much more significance than any other
Managers, team leaders and supervisors are always a representative of the business
– to be eligible to lodge an unfair dismissal claim an employee needs to have been employed for more than 12 months (the qualifying period)
– any employee, regardless of type (ie full time, part time or casual) has the conditions of their employment governed by the National Employment Standards

Now Is The Time To Review Your Policies

Every business needs to review policy documents on a regular and periodic basis to ensure that they remain relevant, compliant and up to date.
This can be a task that is done at the beginning of each year or at a “quiet” time of year for the business.
Some businesses engage an external consultant to review their policy documents on an annual basis as a way to manage risk.
Given this blog began with comments on travel, and my own recent conversations with clients about travel policy this week an article listing six tips for travel policy is most relevant to share.
This article from Aberdeen Essentials is quite generic, however the points made are relevant regardless of what country or state you are in.
As you read you will notice that the points relate to most of your policy documets
– make sure that they are clear
– ensure that all employees are aware of the content and the intent of the policy
– ensure that your policy does not contradict any provisions of other legislation or employment law provisions.

Enjoy the start to 2017.