FWA and IR laws Are Treating Employers as the Enemy – How Well Are You Reducing Your Risks?

FWA and IR lawsAcross Australia many organisations are currently facing ‘challenging times’ and increasing costs because of the current Fair Work Australia and Industrial Relations laws that treat employers as the enemy. Employees know their rights more than ever before and with the proposed changes to penalty rates, feedback is that these challenges are going to increase not decrease, as some employees, supported by lawyers ‘no win, no fees’ advertising policies, try to Activate a Fair Work Application It is therefore critical that your HR Strategy includes a comprehensive and legally robust Employee Handbook in place, that will protect your brand, business and employees As Jan Marsden, KONA Group’s HR and IR Specialist highlights, the Employee Handbook should be a ‘summary’ of the main points of the most important policies plus other cultural and systems information you would like to include and should be developed to:
  • Reinforce with new employees exactly what the expectations, behaviours and obligations are of them so that they ‘hit the deck running’
  • Keep experienced and established employees ‘on track’ so they don’t start to take short cuts that can affect your results, customers or brand
  • Help Managers set clear expectations then to manage, coach and implement the ongoing performance and behaviours of all employees, as they will be able to refer to the relevant pages in the Handbook, rather than anecdotal observations which don’t stand up in a FWA court
An effective Employee Handbook should be a compilation of at least 17 different policies/procedures which can be accessed either in hard copy (to be signed) or online in your Intranet and the main ones will be compiled in an easy to use Handbook.

The 17 should include:

  1. Purpose
  2. Pre and Post employment
  3. Getting Online
  4. Onboarding
  5. Code of Conduct and Acceptable Behaviours
  6. Customer Service Standards
  7. WHS Policy (in line with legislation and ‘Act’ of the time)
  8. Bullying and Harassment Policy
  9. EEO & Discrimination Policy
  10. Grievance/Complaints Handling Procedures
  11. Performance Management & Disciplinary Policy
  12. Device Usage & Social Media Policy (including how to engage with the media)
  13. Training & Professional Development Policy
  14. Performance Reviews
  15. Leave Policy (including Parental leave)
  16. Privacy Policy
  17. Dress Code and Cleanliness
Across your business there are different expectations with each role so the Employee Handbook must be customised to your brand, rather than a generic ‘off the web’ booklet, as it will help to build a culture of professionalism and processes that are fair to all employees This has the additional legal benefit that your Managers and HR Department can then print and get the employees to sign each section of the Handbook to help them have ‘Critical Conversations’ and protect the business should an employee fail to meet performance or behavioural standards. Without this your Managers will have nothing to refer to when with underperforming employees, or to communicate their concerns and expectations legally and within FWA & IR laws. The consequences of which are that any claim made under current legislation will cost you money and none productive time as you prepare a defence, plus legal costs and ill will

Reduce Your Risk.

An Employee Handbook is at the foundation of setting expectations and many of the benefits include:
  • It puts you proactively on the front foot rather than waiting for a problem to happen to then work out what you should be doing after a claim has been activated
  • Employers can’t just ‘fire’ none performing employees so the Handbook is fundamental to setting expectations and managing performance
  • Reduce time to go through disciplinary action and performance management which will either change their behaviour to improve performance or move none performers onlegally
  • Reduce the risk to the business’s reputation and brand which is critical in this world of Facebook and Social Media
  • Reduce the Financial risk of a disgruntled employee Activating a FWA Application
  • Reduce the stress and worry of receiving a letter from FWA and the personal impact on the person responsible to handle the defence internally
  • Reduce the leverage of employees who have a solid awareness of their rights and ‘dollars in their eyes’ based on what they read on the internet
  • Reduce the risk of the Media running with a story and ruining your brand
  • Take your headache away with regard to your organisation being compliant with employee practisesNote: Your Employee Handbook does not guarantee that you will never be pursued through FWA or other channels, however it greatly minimises your risk and exposure, provided it is implemented by your Managers correctlyTake Action NOW, before it is too late
To discuss how you can stay on top of your Fair Work Australia and Industrial Relations obligations, contact KONA Group’s HR Specialist Jan Marsden on 1300 611 288 or email [email protected] The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading Sales and Sales Management Training and Coaching company and provide customised training programs that include: Sales Training & CoachingKey Account Management TrainingCall Centre Training & coachingNegotiation Skills Training & CoachingMotivational Speakers, and more. So if you are looking to increase the effectiveness and results of your team, contact KONA today on 1300 611 288 or email: [email protected] to discuss how we can help you to improve your organisation’s results. In addition, if you want to receive a FREE Sales Capability Assessment for your organisation, email Glenn today on [email protected]