Cultural Competence is essential for both the Health Professional and their staff. So what does it mean to be culturally competent?
3.0% increase to base pay rates from 1st July 2019
The Fair Work Commission has announced a 3.0% increase to minimum wages following its 2019 Annual Wage Review.
The new national minimum wage will be $740.80 per week or $19.49 per hour. The increase applies to base pay rates from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2019. The change only applies to employees that get their pay rates from the national minimum wage, a modern award or in some cases a registered agreement. Most employees are covered by an award.
Casuals converting to permanent status
It is also a good time of the year to review if some of your casuals can be placed on permanent part-time or permanent full-time status. Fair Work Australia gives workers under 85 modern awards the right to request full or part time employment status after 12 months.
“If the casual employment turns out to be long-term in nature, and to be of sufficient regularity… then we consider it to be fair and necessary for the employee to have access to a mechanism by which the casual employment may be converted to an appropriate form of permanent employment” the full bench found.
Employment Law Breaches
Ignorantly underpaying employees can be both costly and embarrassing to your business. A Western Australian & Sydney based company found to have underpaid almost 99% of its staff had to send apology letters to every affected worker, as well as place a public notice in the Australian Financial Review to acknowledge and apologise for its employment law breaches. Workers were under paid $447,717. The underpayments resulted from failures to pay correct overtime and shift-work penalties, as well as part-time and broken-shift allowances.
If you short-change an employee their leave entitlements in any way, you can face prosecution from the Fair Work Ombudsman or other state jurisdictions, depending on the type of leave involved and the state you operate in (even if your mistake was unintentional). Operating your business, could you afford to pay penalties up to $63,000? Penalties are not tax deductible and therefore the money has to come from somewhere?
Can you rely on your staff to have inputted the correct payroll award rates or calculated the correct entitlements? Our experienced Subject Matter Experts can ensure your payroll compliance as they have both knowledge and years of experience on establishing the correct awards.
Single Touch Payroll
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a new way of reporting tax and super information to the ATO.
If you are using a solution that offers STP reporting, such as payroll or accounting software, you will send your employees’ tax and super information to us each time you run your payroll and pay your employees.
The information is sent to us either directly from your software, or through a third party – such as a sending service provider.
The days of 9 – 5, Monday to Friday working hours are not suitable for all employee lifestyles and how we work is slowly changing. Business is in a transition period that may one day see flexible hours, more part time and/or job-sharing roles and remote work agreements become the norm for employees. As the range of employee needs change and become ever spanning across the different generations, employers will need to adjust how they do business. Flexible hours, shorter days and being able to work away from the traditional office might better suit those employees who are studying, caring for children or ageing parents through to those who are easing into retirement. Business may see the day when the flexibility they offer suits all generations of employees, thereby benefiting businesses with higher productivity and lower absences.
The Flexible Working Arrangements model is changing, with more responsibility on the employer to work with the employee on their requests.
From 1st December 2018, an updated Flexible Working Arrangement model will be added to all Modern Awards. Requests for flexible working arrangements are made under the National Employment Standards (NES). Whilst under the NES there is no obligation for the employer to deal with the employee prior to responding to a request; the new Award inclusion will mean that employers must consult with the employee and try to reach an agreement.
What you need to know
When an employee makes a formal request for a change to their working hours or conditions, the employer must:
- Discuss the request with the employee
- Genuinely try to reach agreement on a change in working arrangements that will reasonably accommodate the employee’s circumstances, having regard to:
o the needs of the employee arising from their circumstances
o the consequences for the employee if changes in working arrangements are not made
o any reasonable business grounds for refusing the request
Under the NES, if refusing the request, the employer must give the details as to why. The new Award term goes further to include that an employer must state:
- The business ground or other grounds relied upon by the employer for the refusal
- How the ground or grounds apply
- If the employer and employee could not agree on a change in working arrangements, whether there are any changes in working arrangements that the employer can offer the employee to better accommodate the employee’s circumstances
- If the employer can offer the employee such changes in working arrangements, details of those changes in working arrangements
If the employer and employee reach an agreement that is different from the initial request, the employer must outline the details in writing to the employee. The NES allows for 21 days in which to respond to requests for flexible working arrangements. Therefore, consultation should take place as early in the process as possible. This will allow for all details or alternative arrangements to be fully discussed and considered prior to the response deadline.
Is your business ready for the changes to Flexible Working Arrangement requests? Do you have accurate policies, procedures and training in place so that your managers know how to handle the requests correctly?
Don’t get caught out with incorrect operating procedures, under the Fair Work Act, there are fines applicable for non-compliance.
If you need help with this or any other areas of HR call now for a no obligation discussion.