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.
Kristi Sinclair - HR Professional
I would love to have my own little office. Now I’m not talking about my home office workspace I have set up (beautifully I might add with special guest visits from my cat). I’m talking about a private space back in the HR Staff n’ Stuff office. In my fantasy world, I have my own office where I’ve got a few indoor plants and photos on the walls, the space is gorgeous and it’s all mine! Then it hits me… I am all alone and I have to get up and walk to the next office every time I need to talk a scenario out with a colleague or get an update on a project! Wouldn’t it be easier if I could just pop my head up and chat over the top of a partition?
Without doubt, many employers were extremely nervous about how COVID-19 lockdowns and work from home directions would impact their business. What would be the impact on productivity and employee engagement, would connections with internal and external stakeholders survive and how does one create a Zoom background to hide the mess in the family room so that your position as a leader isn’t undermined? Indeed, how was business supposed to flourish, let alone survive all the challenges this nasty virus had thrown at the world?
For those who have come through the experience, the learnings raise new questions. What now? How do we incorporate many of the incredibly positive work from home learnings into our businesses in 2021 and beyond? Should we consider changing the way we work?
As we slide into Christmas after the most extraordinary and challenging year most of us have ever experienced, it’s a relief to see Australia’s hard work in managing Covid-19 is paying off with borders, retail and entertainment opening up and workplaces coming back to life. It means we can all look at 2021 with more optimism than we could have imagined. Even Victoria, who has done it toughest of all, is coming back to life with more restrictions lifting as announced over the weekend and we have a quick summary for you…
Your day is rolling along quite nicely when POW, you read an email that makes your blood boil. Some upstart has sent you a communication that is so rude it has destroyed that positive vibe you were feeling only moments ago and you are now contemplating writing back with a smackdown that will really let your feelings be known. Before you do something you may later regret, take your hands away from the keyboard and read this blog instead!
Kris Sinclair - HR Professional
With so many people working from home in 2020, the grey area between professional and personal lives and activities has been blurred like never before. As Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift for Victoria and further adjustments occur nationally, businesses and organisations need to prepare to bring employees back to the workplace. For example, in Victoria, effective 23 November there is a phased return to the office and employers can now have 25% of their workers back to offices (or 10 people for businesses with less than 40 staff, if space allows for 4 sqm per person) with numbers increasing over the coming weeks and months. . Each business will have its own unique challenges to face from physical distancing workstations in an office, purchasing of items such as sneezeguards, to adapting procedures to ensure the business is working in line with their COVIDSafe plan. Business leaders will also need to be cognisant of the potential psychological impact that lockdowns have had with heightened numbers of employees feeling anxious about their return.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!