Broadspring Consulting

HR News Wrap June 12 2017


What business needs to know about HR news this week on Fair Work, agreements and culture

Fair Work have had two key items this week

First news of course is the increase to the minimum wage as of July 1.

Please make sure you keep up to date with the new pay rates for your award that will be released soon after July 1.

If you currently pay above award wages, it will be worth checking how much this latest increase to minimum wages closes the gap to your over award rates.

Also remember that changes have been made to penalty rates and you need to keep yourself up to date with the change and the timing for your industry. An article of interest http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/penalty-rate-changes–what-you-need-to-know-237188.aspx

The second issue is a decision regarding return to work that according to the Victorian Chamber has “split” the Commission.
You can find the article here http://www.victorianchamber.com.au/policy-and-advocacy/news/news-articles/2017/06/08/return-work-decision-splits-fair-work-commission

Without restating the contents of the article, it highlights the complexities of managing injured employees with long term rehabilitation requirements and their return to work.

In this case it seems that conflicting decisions were made by Fair Work and the intricacies of employers managing long term employee health issues.

Three key lessons to learn from this case:
1. Each case before Fair Work is evaluated on it’s individual merits and details

2. Employers need to manage employee health and it is wise to get expert advice

3. An ability to fulfill the inherent requirements of a role is what all employees need to be able to demonstrate.

Arrangements and agreements under the spotlight

ALDI have been questioned about their practices paying staff and “averaging” of salary based on hours worked. This case is still on foot and this means it is one to watch.

Human Resources Director magazine had this article http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/aldi-responds-to-unpaid-overtime-accusations-237324.aspx

It’s important for a few reasons
1. Any agreement is subject to scrutiny by another party (in this case a union) yet if agreed to by Fair Work or struck under the Award/Fair Work guidelines a successful review should be achievable

2. There is a lot of sensitivity around employee payments and wages.

3. Just because something is reported it doe snot mean that Fair Work have made a decision along those lines. This case is one to watch as the current headlines may not represent the end outcome

If your award allows for adjustments to be made to payments and terms, please check it and make sure that you have “ticked all the boxes”.
This usually includes
– agreement being in writing
– agreement spelled out
– being signed by employee and employer
– variation only on specific and stated terms

Culture has the final word

The final word this week comes from an article in Human Resource Director and from the UK
http://www.hcamag.com/business-news/job-perks-in-this-company-include-pole-dancers-and-halfnaked-mermaids-237316.aspx

In short a “good” culture that was exploited to attract and engage employees has, quite frankly, backfired.

This is a clear case of a relaxed and social culture taken too far.

Activity on social media has led to comments being spread far and wide.

What can leaders and manages do if they too want a relaxed and friendly culture without going too far?

The first aspect is to define “too far”. Without going into specifics, it’s usually about work and customer service coming before parties and the social activity.

There are three questions that I have always found helpful when deciding what is too far
1. Would we be comfortable if this activity/decision was made public (the social media test!)

2. Can we be comfortable if every employee behaves or is treated in this way regardless of their background or role?

3. Is this the way that I would like my children/partner/important person to be treated?

Simple questions but they may help clarify when a social culture goes too far.