We are on the home straight to Christmas, a perfect time to share what’s on the Radar for 2023.
INTRODUCTION of Family and Domestic Violence Leave
In July this year, the Federal Government introduced a bill to create a universal (meaning for all employees) entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave (FDVL) into the National Employment Standards (NES). The new paid leave entitlement will be available to all employees from 1 February 2023. For employees of small business employers (employers with less than 15 employees), the leave will be available from 01 August 2023.
NO MORE pay secrecy clauses
The Government has introduced changes to pay secrecy clauses. The intent behind this change is to promote transparency and encourage gender equality in pay.
All employees now have a right to ask other employees about their rates of pay. This now constitutes a workplace right (protected by the General Protections provisions of the Fair Work Act) under the reforms. This means that employers cannot take ‘adverse action’ against an employee if they ask another employee about their pay or share their own remuneration details with others.
In June 2023 (six months after the Bill passes), it will also become an offence for an employer to enter into a contract with an employee that contains a pay secrecy clause. The penalty is up to $63,000 for an employer.
CHANGES to Sexual Harassment
In September this year an amendment to the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 was proposed with seven legislative changes recommended. These new changes include “a positive duty” on employers to prevent workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, offences for having a “hostile workplace” and powers for the Human Rights Commission to investigate and issue compliance notices on business.
We anticipate seeing more refined information being released early next year and the steps that employers must take to ensure they are compliant with these new legislative changes.
NO END to the Hybrid Work Models
2022 has bought up challenges for many employers in relation to both managing labour shortages and the continued war for talent. While many businesses have begun to adopt more flexible work arrangements off the back of the pandemic, these have still largely been finite arrangements. We expect to see more around businesses investigating and adopting Hybrid working models in 2023. These may include broader work from home arrangements, compressed working week, the 4-day working model, job sharing and flexible working hours. This is a definite – Watch This Space!
EMPHASIS on Employee Well-being
This has been a front and centre topic and will continue to be a key focus for businesses moving into 2023.
The focus of employee wellbeing has broadened greatly over the last several years and the shift has seen employee well-being moving from a simple topic for employers – to an all-encompassing overarching embrace across all areas of the business and businesses will need to take the time to understand what this truly means. It is never a one size fits all approach and we believe conversations are key in unpacking this fundamental topic.
The Federal Government is proposing to set limitations on fixed-term contracts.
Concerns have been expressed about the misuse of fixed term contracts in particular where it is seen to extend the probationary period or where a contract continues to be extended.
While there are situations where fixed term contracts are being improperly used, there are also many organisations that rely on fixed term contracts due to nature of their business and funding which do not allow for longer term employment engagements to be considered or justified. Charitable organisations (where fixed term contracts are linked to funding grants) and contracts that are fixed to align with commercial contracts are two key examples.
It is anticipated that the Government may introduce legislation limiting the number of consecutive fixed term contracts that an employer can offer for the same role. For example, contracts may be limited to 24 months’ total duration, subject to some exceptions for specific scenarios that might be negotiated once the reforms are tabled.
It is not yet clear what consideration will be given to maximum term contracts. These contract arrangements vary from fixed term arrangements as they permit either party to terminate the contract early with notice where a true fixed term contract is not able to be terminated prematurely with notice.
If you need any assistance, do not hesitate to get in touch on 1300 1 OUR HR (68 747)
In the current climate giving an additional week’s personal leave upfront may just get the candidate across the line.
What we know right now is that Covid will likely hit every business in the near future and employees know they will need personal leave to cover when they need time off work due to illness.
Thinking outside the box is not a new thing for business, but the speed and regularity of having to do so is moving more quickly than ever, in line with the rapid changes of the epidemic this weary world now faces.
As we begin the New Year facing such enormous staff shortages, what can business do that may have an impact on a candidate moving to your business? Personal Leave is an important entitlement that so many of us have appreciated over the years. We feel secure knowing if we get sick, or we need to care for our loved ones, we will have our accrued personal leave we can rely upon. This is leave that we accrue over time, and after 12 months we have accrued 10 days personal leave, which continues to accumulate year to year. It instils confidence knowing there is accrued leave waiting for you just in case you need it.
Now with the rapidly increased rates of Covid and the sweeping likelihood of getting it we know we are going to need our personal leave. However, what happens when you start a new job and have no accrued leave to fall back on? You start afresh, and you commence accruing leave all over again. It starts to beg the question for employees, “Why would I leave this job knowing I have accrued personal leave in my current role and to start a new job and I will have no sick leave to rely upon when I get sick with Covid?” Which with the current rates, is very likely?
What if you could offer them some of that security? The idea of offering 5 days personal leave upfront to your new starter may just make a difference to them coming to work for you. It may be the difference between a ‘No’ or a ‘Yes’ when you offer employment to your candidate. For someone on a base of 60K per year, it represents just over $1150 for the week.
Quite simply, you provide a type of insurance to the employee, a bit of a safety net that may help them to cross the line and accept a role with you.
Employing people right now is exceedingly difficult and we all know that. Thinking about innovative ideas to help you secure staff is something you cannot afford not to do.
As the New Year is now upon us Our HR Team will continue to look at ways, we can make positive contributions for your business.
Workplace mental health is costing Australian businesses billions of dollars each year - yes, every business needs to do something to address this! As we finish recent World Mental Health Day celebrations, and with Queensland Mental Health Week now also in full swing, it is pertinent to evaluate the impact on mental health over the past year, with HR Daily recently publishing some sobering findings.
A majority High Court has upheld the appeal and overturned the ruling handed down by the Full Federal Court in August 2019. This now means that employers can revert to the historic way of calculating personal/carer’s leave: full-time employees are entitled to 10 days per annum and part-time employees receive a pro-rated amount based on their ordinary hours of work.