There are a number of common and costly mistakes that employers make – but they can easily be prevented. Are you making any of these mistakes? There is a lot of legislation pertaining to employers and their employees and you need to understand what you may be liable for. Many clients that we meet are not aware of the basics and are therefore exposing themselves to breaches which can be extremely costly. Check out the list below to see how you are tracking.
- More than 38 hours written into employment contracts – the National Employment Standards (NES) state that you cannot work more than a 38 hour week plus reasonable additional hours. You cannot put 40 hours per week into a contract and expect it to be legally binding
- Unaware of what Modern Award employees fall under – almost every employee in Australia falls under an Award which governs the minimum terms and conditions of employment. Many employers are not aware of the Award(s) governing their business
- Unaware that a copy of the Award/s should always be available for employees to access on the premises – the best place to put this is in the kitchen or a common area
- Unaware of the classifications of each of the roles under the Award – each new person you hire needs to be advised of their Award and their classification under that Award
- Unsure whether you are paying Award minimum salaries – under each Modern Award, minimum salaries that are payable are indicated. You need to ensure that you are paying the minimum and and be careful that you don’t drop below the minimum at any time
- Believe that women need to return to work full-time after 12 months maternity leave – women are able to take an initial period of up to 12 months parental leave and can apply for an additional 12 months after that
- Believe that personal leave is only to be used by the employee for themselves and not their family – previously known as sick leave, personal leave can be used in respect of their own illness but also to care for their children, parents, in laws and step children
- Don’t understand what Flexible Working is, who is entitled to it and whether or not a request for Flexible Working can be rejected – carers of school aged children can make a request for Flexible Working which may mean part-time, later starts or earlier finishing times. You need to respond to this request in writing within 21 days
- Don’t conduct annual training to encourage the understanding and avoidance of Sexual Harassment and Bullying – you have a ‘duty of care’ obligation to protect your employees in the workplace and this means from an environment of sexual harassment and/or bullying
- Employees are incorrectly classified – you have casuals that should be permanent employees or independent contractors that are really classified as permanent. You risk a back pay scenario here around annual leave and other entitlements
Are you currently making any of these mistakes in your business?