Employment Relations can be a complex area and, let’s face it – it can be hard to keep up with all the legislation changes on top of everything else you need to stay on top of as a business owner.
Here are five of the myths that I hear from business owners:
I pay above the Award, so I don’t have to pay overtime
As at 1/1/2010 with the introduction of Fair Work, there are now 122 industry Modern Awards. If you pay above the minimum wage, that is very nice of you, but I am sorry to say that it does not preclude you from all the other Award obligations contained within. For example many of the Awards now contain an obligation to consult when there is a major workplace change pending – this might include a restructure, change of office location or redundancy program.
Returning from parental leave – I need her full-time or I’ll get her to resign
Prior to the introduction of Fair Work a woman could return to work on a part-time basis but was required to return to full-time when her 12 months maternity leave was up. This is no longer the case – the main carer can take 12 months unpaid leave with an option to request an additional 12 months. The main carer can also request Flexible Working on their return. This might take the form of part-time, reduced hours or job share to name a few options.
I don’t need to pay redundancy
Previously unless you had a contractual right to a redundancy payment you were not entitled to redundancy. This also changed with the introduction of FWA. Now everyone across Australia is entitled to redundancy unless your business is classed as a small business – i.e. under 15 employees including casuals and part-time employees. However, the length of service is only calculated from 1/1/10.
I don’t need policies or employment contracts, everyone knows the deal here
Employment contracts help protect your business, your clients and your intellectual property. Employees feel more protected and secure with a contract. Policies enable you to ensure that your employees understand their legal obligations and the boundaries. It can make it easier to terminate an employee should you have cause. Policies and processes can improve productivity with consistent processes applied across the business
It’s impossible to fire anyone for non performance
No, it is not, but you do need to follow a process to ensure that the termination is not ‘unfair, unjust or unreasonable. As an SME, you cannot afford to carry a non performing employee. The rest of your team will thank you for it.
Debunk these myths and you are in a much stronger position to maximise your productivity and profitability.