Last week The Exmouth Business Hub was lucky to have Desiree Dyer, a lawyer in workplace relations and safety teaching our local Exmouth business community the essentials of HR.

For a subject matter that is very technical, Desiree did a fantastic job in delivering the information and full-day workshop in a way that was incredible digestible.

We started by covering Employment law fundamentals including; Not paying the correct rate, not paying for all hours worked, not paying allowances or penalty rates, paying below the correct classifications and keeping time records for casual staff. Desiree explain to us why it is so crucial to ensure you are all over the HR requirements in your business as even large organisations are caught out having to pay out staff thousands and sometimes millions of dollars even though they have a dedicated HR team.

Did you know there are two industrial relations systems (IRS) in WA?

  1. WA State System: Sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, trust arrangements, incorporated associations and not for profits.
  2. National System – Constitutional corporations (PTY LTD), Incorporated partnerships, Incorporated trust arrangements, Incorporated associations.

Your business IRS will depend on the type of business structure you have or whether your business is a financial or trading corporation.

If you are a member of the ECCI and qualify for a FREE CCIWA membership, give their Employee Assistance Hotline a call or email them here.

We also learn how incredibly important it is to keep records, especially when it comes to hours worked and conversations had when dealing with difficult staff. When it comes to dealing with difficult staff it’s important to remember. If it’s in relation to behaviour or miss conduct you MUST make sure you have policies in place to cover this behaviour and it has been spoken about during the induction of the new employee and they have agreed to the terms (signing the agreement is recommended). Before you commence performance managing someone it’s important to ask yourself, What are they not doing? What’s the issue? Why they aren’t performing? What is the reason they are not completing these tasks?

To avoid unfair dismissal claims it’s important to take these general precautions, document performance management from the start, record all conversations (send yourself an email), implement an interview check list and document, document, document everything!

How to initiate performance management:

Action

  1. Make a casual comment, make note the comment was made.
  2. Performance Counseling,
    1. Before the meeting, ask yourself who should do it, prepare an agenda, compile other related claims, and be clear on what are they doing and what are they not doing?
    2. What is the problem, Give feedback, direct, general inquiry, positive first, address the problem, gain agreement from employee.
    3. Don’t judge, explore and agree on the cause
  3. Generate ideas on how you can solve the problem
    1. Create an action plan. document it
    2. Review, stick to your review dates, document

How to provide feedback

  1. Make sure it’s timely
  2. Consistent
  3. Be Specific
  4. Have evidence
  5. Stick to the facts
  6. Keep it impersonal
  7. Be clear and get to the point
  8. Check they understand

Do you know if your staff fall under a Modern Award or an Enterprise Agreement?

The modern award covers most employment types, industry or occupation-based awards. Always check the industry award first if you can’t find the person’s position here then look under the occupation award. There is some flexibility within awards and some employees are award-free.

So can you figure out if your employees are covered by a Moder Award? Follow these below steps:

  1. Is the business a National system employer?
  2. Is there a registered agreement in place? Usually, if a business is covered by a registered agreement, the modern award will not apply.
  3. Does an industry or occupation-based award apply? Employees not covered by a registered agreement or modern aware are ‘award free’.

During the workshop, we looked at the Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award to make ourselves familiar with what they look like and how to understand them. We looked to see if casual employees are entitled to overtime rates and other requirements of their employment. To find out more about casual overtime requirements, click here to read the award.

What’s the difference between casual and full time?

Read the definition of casual and full-time employees.

What’s the statutory offsetting rule? – if in future it is found that you owe employee entitlements, you can use the extra paid you in the past (casual loadings) to offset what you owe. For example, casual loading to help over holiday entitlements.

To help cover you make sure you provide a copy of the Casual Employment information statement to all casual employees.

If a casual employee has worked for you for more than 12 months and has worked regular hours for a period of 6 months and could continue to work these hours your business MUST offer casual conversion. If the employee declines or the offer has not been provided ensure it is documented why. Keep in mind different rules apply for small businesses under 15 employees and if you are under the state system. However, your casual employees also have the right to request casual conversion and as employees, you MUST provide a written response to why or why not casual conversion is unable to be completed. It is recommended to seek advice prior to providing your employer with a response.

ECCI Member FREE advice is available via the Employment Assistance Line (CCIAWA): Call (08) 9365 7660 or Email advice@cciwa.com

Helpful Tips:

  1. Did you know casual employees are also entitled to long service leave?
  2. Employees are also entitled to pro-rata payment on termination after 7 years.
  3. Be mindful of upcoming long service leave (10 years) as an employer you can’t refuse long service.
  4. Visit the Department of Commerce website for the long service calculator

Other Resources:

CCIIWA Youtube channel

FREE HR Health Checkup Tool

HR Guides and Templates

Learn about Employee Engagement and why you should care about it here Blessing White The X Model of Engagement

The above article is not legal advice, ECCI recommends all individuals to seek personalised professional advice on the above subject matters.