There are so many issues to consider in the current environment and sometimes we can lose track of the small wins. If you are in HR and are currently dealing with an unfair dismissal claim, underpayment of wages issue, breach of contract dispute or workplace bullying claims understandably there is a lot to digest. There are also a few simple steps that can be taken now which can demonstrate a few small wins for the HR team.
Simple Step 1 – Get the Employment Contract reviewed
Employment Contracts should be reviewed on a regular basis.
In recent times a decision by the Rugby Union team the Queensland Reds led to a payout of $150,000 to a coach who worked with the club for a very short time. Why You Can’t Afford To Take Your Eye Off The Ball When It Comes To Old Contracts
A review of the “normal” clauses should ensure that they are properly drafted, make sense and are up to date. The usual out of date clauses can usually be found in the following:
- Restraint of Trade
- Intellectual Property
- Annualised Salary
- Off-set clauses
Also keep in mind that casual employment laws have now come in and those changes need to be taken into account. A summary can be found in one of our earlier articles – What do the changes to casual employment mean? 3 Hot tips for Employers with the backtrack on Workpac.
Simple Step 2 – Get a preliminary payroll review
Payroll reviews should be a regular occurrence. However with the myriad of changes to awards and other industrial instruments it is prudent to understand if there is any risk We and any potential liability.
A full scale payroll review can require a lot of time. We recommend an Employment lawyer led preliminary payroll review that way:
- The information and subsequent report can be more easily arguable under legal professional privilege
- Legal advice can also be provided for any recommendations that may need to be implemented
- A preliminary report will give the company an idea of the liability
High profile companies such as Woolworths, Chatime and Macquarie Bank have suffered as a result of large scale underpayment of wages claims. A preliminary payroll review will go a long way to preventing this occurring.
Simple Step 3 – Undertake small scale management training
Recently companies such as Primo Foods lost unfair dismissal claims for a number of reasons even though the Fair Work Commission found there was a valid reason for the dismissal.
An area we have found managers and to some extent executives have struggled with when it comes to difficult staff are the issues on performance management. To a lesser extent managing the disciplinary process has also landed a number of companies in hot water.
A focus on performance management training is the key to success.
- Ensure there is a performance management policy, if you don’t have one develop one it can be a really good kick starter for training
- Understand the consequences. For managers and supervisors they need to understand what poor performance management can actually lead to – yes there is liability for the company but also personal liability (accessorial liability) – case studies are a good way to demonstrate this.
- Consider external training potentially from a specialist employment law firm as they may be able to demonstrate the seriousness much more easily to managers and supervisors.
Simple Steps to follow –
Get the Employment Contract reviewed
Get a preliminary payroll review
Undertake small scale management training – with maybe a focus on performance management
We can help!
NB Lawyers – Lawyers for Employers undertake and offer an obligation free consultation – we are happy to help.
Jonathan Mamaril leads a team of handpicked experts in the areas of employment law and commercial law who focus on educating clients to avoid headaches, provide advice on issues before they fester and when action needs to be taken and there is a problem mitigate risk and liability. With a core value of helping first and providing practical advice, Jonathan is a sought after advisor to a number of Employers and as a speaker for forums and seminars where his expertise is invaluable as a leader in this area as a lawyer for employers.