You can not turn on the tv, radio, open the internet or read the paper (does anyone still read the paper?) without seeing, hearing or reading about mandatory vaccinations. It’s an emotive topic for some, practical and reasonable for others but the essence of it is that vaccinations are a key element to our country reopening.
As HR consultants to a wide range of industries, we are fielding a range of questions about mandatory vaccinations so we are going to cover off the top 5 questions we are being asked in the hope that it helps resolve questions you may be struggling with in your business.
With the announcement by the various state governments regarding mandatory vaccinations for specific industries / authorised workers, employers need to manage the process including communication with employees who are choosing not to be vaccinated by the declared deadlines.
As an employer, you have the following options in managing the public health orders in relation to mandated vaccination in your business:
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
Can you make vaccinations mandatory in your business?
Can you require employees to prove their vaccination status?
To the first question, probably, but it depends…
To the second, yes you can…
Let me tell you more….
Roy Morgan recently released data that shows the significant level of annual leave Australians have banked due to the Covid-19. The inability to travel freely means many are keeping a higher stash of leave than ever before. This information was looked at by The Age and our very own Deborah Peppard was quoted in the article. But in true HR Staff n’ Stuff style, we have more to say on the subject as we believe access to, and the use of annual leave is something business owners should be looking at now in preparation for states and international borders reopening.
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
The past couple of years have been tumultuous when it comes to casual employment – the definition of casual has been the subject of a legal case and a subsequent appeal followed by new legislation that came into effect in March 2021. September brings with it a key deadline regarding casual conversion so let’s take a look at what you need to know and what you need to do…
It is a requirement that your business has a Covid Safe plan but did you know you are required to update it every three months or when there is a major change in government directions? Now that you do know, we also want to suggest you incorporate plans that cover what needs to happen in case any of your team is deemed a close contact.
If your business is engaged in any of the following industries or specific services within Victoria, employees are required to be regularly tested for COVID-19 if they are considered an essential worker i.e. they are working onsite).
It’s clear that the Delta strain is causing havoc around Australia and lockdowns and restrictions are updated daily. With the latest tightening in Victoria and reviews ongoing in New South Wales, we thought it would be helpful to have a quick summary of all that is happening as it pertains to employment around Australia:
Did you know that it is never too late to start?
Start what you ask?
Well, anything is the answer.
Just because you didn’t go to university, doesn’t mean you can’t go and get yourself a degree when you are 68. You’re 43 and don’t know anything about computer coding? Still not too late to learn. Have an idea for a business but think that at 52 you’ve missed the boat? Nope, not true. As long as you have breath in your lungs, it’s never too late!
If you choose to own or run a business that has employees, you have a legal and moral obligation to pay them. Seems simple right? Unfortunately, that is not always the case and so in Victoria, it is now a criminal offence to underpay or dishonestly withhold employee entitlements.
This past week has shown us just how precarious the Covid situation really is in Australia. While vaccination rates are low, the reality of ongoing lockdowns and restrictions will be felt by all, with new lockdowns, increased restrictions, state border lockouts, quarantining and self-isolation throwing all sorts of personal and business plans into disarray. Which brings us to the question of employees travelling…
The Fair Work Commission has determined there will be a 2.5% increase to the national minimum wage as well as applying to all award wages with a staggered roll out to be implemented. This increase delivers $18.80 a week extra to Australia’s lowest paid workers on a 38-hour week. The increase is less than the 3.5% the ACTU was lobbying for but more than the 1.1% championed by the Australian Chamber of Commerce (ACCC).
Of late, we have been looking at strategic planning and now we want you to think about Hedgehogs – specifically your business Hedgehog and how it aligns with your BHAG.
Wait, what? Hedgehogs?
It's easy to think that HR Staff n’ Stuff is going off the rails with talk of cute woodland creatures supporting Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Blame Jim Collins as he took us down this path but it is definitely an outing worth taking...
An important question that HR Staff n’ Stuff is being asked at the moment is about whether or not employees can or should access personal leave in order to receive their Covid vaccinations. Let’s take a look at your options…
COVID-19 is back in the news in Melbourne with a fifth case announced today that is linked to those in the City of Whittlesea outbreak. Restrictions are back in play to keep us all safe by minimising spread of the virus - details as they currently stand are as follows:
Very few businesses succeed without good old fashioned hard work but that is only part of the success equation. Hard work alone is no longer the only piece of the puzzle. Strategic planning is an important element that is key to businesses success, and all companies great and small should engage in regular and proactive planning to ensure their business is going where it should, and that they have the resources in place to get them where they want to go.
Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, the latest Federal Budget will be handed down next week on 11 May and it’s sure to come with things that will delight and things that will upset depending on what you, your family or your business needs. As an HR consultancy, we aren’t really in the business of speculating about what the government might do but one area that is of importance to all and will require business leaders to manage, are the proposed changes to Superannuation Guarantees….
Many of us know the feeling. You may be sitting in a meeting with your team, a client, an agency, a potential business partner and you wonder when they are going to call you out for being a fraud. A pretender. A no nothing who has no business being in that room. That is Imposter Syndrome, and you may be stunned to learn that it is far more prevalent that you can ever guess.
Kristi Sinclair - HR Professional
Spending time on Facebook and Instagram we are exposed to and often consumed with other people’s personal lives. Reality TV takes this voyeurism to a whole new level - just ask a Kardashian or a MAFS contestant – taking a peek at someone else’s life can be intriguing. It’s even more fun when we talk about it with friends and pass our judgements on what was screened. Move that interest in what others are up to into real life and factor in how much time we spend our colleagues, and it’s only natural that we are curious about their private lives. As our connections grow, so does the level of information we share with one another leading to stronger bonds and positive work cultures. But sometimes these conversations are nothing more than gossip sessions that can be hurtful to the people involved and are most definitely damaging to your business.
It’s safe to say that many of us have found strong and lasting friendships within the workplace. Let’s face it, we all spend a lot of time at work so connecting with others, sharing social experiences, laughs and confidences with friends adds to and supports the experience of our professional lives. However, it can also bring drama if the personal lives of your employees seep into the professional arena. Case in point is the following drama that ended up in a Fair Work hearing….
There has been a spotlight on casual employment over the past couple of years thanks to the Workpac Pty Ltd v Rossato (2020) case with its decision causing confusion and angst for many employers. In response, new legislation was passed by the Federal Government and it quickly came into effect from 27 March 2021. Key points for all employers are as follows:
For many of us, Easter equals family time, chocolate, and a super sized long weekend – not necessarily in order of importance! It can also equal confusion though as businesses work through the varying state-based rulings as to which days are actually gazetted public holidays and what that means when applying Modern Awards or EBAs. You can stop that stress induced chocolate eating now as we have an easy to read summary for you here:
Jacqui Antoniou - HR Professional
History shows us that vaccination programs are hugely impactful when it comes to protecting us from serious health issues. We don’t need to go too far back to look at the damaging impact of polio, measles and smallpox and the vast improvements that were seen as a result of vaccine programs. The COVID-19 vaccinations are highly anticipated and are key to really getting back to normal and reducing the risks of the virus. But as the COVID-19 vaccine starts to roll out across the Australia there is much speculation and subsequent debate as to whether an employer does or will have the right to direct their employees to get vaccinated.
As you may be aware, Danielle Stone from HR Staff n’ Stuff is a qualified Drug and Alcohol tester. One question Dani is often asked is whether or not there are any restrictions around drug and alcohol testing of employees. There are a number of points to make in answering this:
Kirsty Smith - HR Professional
Let’s face it, workplace conflict is never good for business. At the very least it is uncomfortable, but at worst may lead to stress, particularly if left unresolved for extended periods, and can also cause downturns in productivity and increases in absenteeism.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!