Danielle Stone - HR Professional
So this happened……
As a trained and accredited drug and alcohol tester, I am often asked by a range of clients to attend their worksites for the purposes of facilitating random drug testing.
Since COVID-19 came crashing into town studies have shown that there has been a significant increase in the Australian public using illegal drugs, prescription medication and alcohol to assist them to cope with COVID-19 related anxiety, negativity, stress and the ever changing environment
HR Staff n’ Stuff are huge advocates of having clear and appropriate policies in place to protect both the employer as well as your employees. They establish standards of behaviour and allow for consistent and fair responses from employers if they are breached. If established correctly, communicated clearly to employee and consistently adhered to, they are a valuable asset when an employer needs to defend themselves in an unfair dismissal claim. However, use them inconsistently and it will cost you!
As an employer and business leader, we know this is a challenging time. Good leaders make plans for the future but the coronavirus (Covid-19) has come out of nowhere and the situation we all find ourselves in is unprecedented. There is already significant information about the virus – reporting exposure, symptoms, flattening the curve, self-isolation and hygiene considerations – so we aren’t going to rehash all of that information. Rather, we will provide some answers to a few frequently asked HR questions that many of you are facing.
We all take it for granted that we will go home at the end of a long work day. We might kick off the shoes and have a beer or get sweaty at the gym or hang out with the kids – regardless, we all make plans for what we will do after work finishes for the day. But the stats are there to show us that some workplaces are inherently more dangerous than others given the sheer nature of the work or sadly, through neglect or deliberate disregard by employers. There is significant legislation around workplace safety however the Victorian Government is ramping things up come July this year – so let’s take a look at what you need to know….
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a gaslighting experience? Prove it.
Easier said than done actually and that is why gaslighting is such an insidious and damaging behavior that has the capacity to do extraordinary damage within your workplace if you don’t deal with it quickly and effectively.
T’is the season to be jolly, or at least it nearly is and that means the annual Christmas parties are about to commence. Before you dust off the tinsel and the dancing shoes, you need to go through our checklist below so you can be sure you don’t end up with any after party surprises that could cause more pain than your regular hangover.
As HR Consultants, we are asked to advise on the how, when and what of giving an employee a warning....a lot. It may seem simple enough – you are the business leader, your employee is behaving poorly or not delivering so you bang out a letter and put them on notice. Right? Well yes, if you want to get hit with action by Fair Work, or completely disengage an employee. But if you want to do it the right way which will protect your business and show that you have been fair and followed process, and you are genuinely focused on trying to get the employee to do what is required, read on…
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
You’ve invested time and money into recruiting the best candidate for your business and you ticked all the boxes in terms of interviews, capability assessments, reference checks and you have a candidate that is an absolute standout. But how about a pre-employment medical? Can you require it as a pre-requisite to employment and what can you do with the results?
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
A few of our clients are small businesses with around twelve staff - for one of them, what should have been a simple situation regarding annual leave became a frustrating series of poor behaviour that culminated in a tough decision being made once they received the advice from HR Staff n' Stuff as their in house HR consultants.
The story commences with the appointment of a new senior person in their business. The new employee informed the business owner that they had a pre-planned holiday booked for two weeks within the first few months of starting. Although the new employee wasn’t entitled to leave, the business owner agreed to honour this time off - it was a reasonable request and can quiet often crop up when new team members commence. But some will always try to push the envelope....
It’s the middle of winter and for many the thought of a tropical island holiday is the only thing that keeps them getting out of bed on these chilly and bleak mornings. We know that all full-time employees receive four weeks annual leave per year with part time employees receiving the pro-rated equivalent. Now Virgin, Netflix and Melbourne-based Inventium have all upped the ante and now offer unlimited annual leave – should you?
One fine Tuesday morning, George doesn’t show up for work. There’s no phone call, email or text message to advise he won’t be in so by 10:30 am, you try contacting him. There’s no answer so you leave a message. You also try calling his next of kin as advised on his HR file but they don’t respond either. Further attempts are made over the course of the next three days to contact George but you still don’t know where he is or if he is coming back. You have a business to run and you need people to either show up for their rostered hours or advise that they need to utilise some of their personal leave. So what can you do?
A case involving a fast food giant, a specific shift start time, a required arrival time, a sneaky cigarette, a ladder, a broken leg and an overturned WorkCover claim all came together recently in a Queensland court with a decision that may have far reaching implications for businesses throughout Australia. How is this even possible you wonder….
Dina Fergadiotis - HR Advisor
The hot weather is just around the corner and of course that can mean excessively hot work environments for some employees, especially those working onsite, in factories and in warehouses. Excessive heat has potential to cause a significant safety hazard in work places that can lead to symptoms such skin irritations, dizziness, dehydration, excessive sweating, heat stroke or, in the extreme, death.
So how do you protect your employees while balancing the needs of your business?
Danielle Stone - HR Advisor
Flexible working arrangements have become the new normal in workplaces in recent years. Until recently, it was mostly working parents that requested greater flexibility in the workplace but over time it has become far more common for a diverse range of employees to request a transition to flexible working arrangements for a variety of reasons.
So as a business leader, should you consider these requests?
Yes! In a perfect world, all businesses would be able to offer their employees such flexibility as there are significant benefits to you as an employer, as well as to your employees, but in reality, there are many things to consider.
Amie Graham - HR Advisor
For some, the freedom of choosing what they wear to work each day is a joy – for others, it is just another chore that needs sorting in the morning! For the one quarter of workplaces in Australia that have a uniform for their employees, this leaves a considerable number of us choosing what we wear to work. So how do these daily choices impact your businesses and what ability to you have to exert any control over how your employees present themselves?
For many of us, it is difficult to comprehend that Domestic and Family Violence is a prevalent societal problem in Australia. Sadly though, it is a major issue that does not discriminate based on gender, financial status, education level, cultural identity or age. In response to this issue, one area of support that is now enshrined within our Modern Awards is a provision for leave to support those who need it most.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!