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Closing Loopholes Bill Part 1: Compliance and Enforcement: Criminalising Wage Theft

Closing Loopholes Bill Part 1: Compliance and Enforcement: Criminalising Wage Theft

The Australian government has implemented significant amendments to its labor laws with the introduction of the "Closing Loopholes" legislative package, which comprises the Closing Loopholes Act 2023 and the subsequent Closing Loopholes No. 2 Act 2024. This legislation, passed by the Commonwealth Parliament on December 7, 2023, marks a pivotal step in combating wage exploitation. A cornerstone of these amendments is the introduction of a new criminal offense known as Wage Theft, which targets employers deliberately underpaying their employees. This move to criminalise wage theft reflects a growing recognition of the severity of underpaying workers and the necessity for stricter enforcement measures. The legislation specifically targets intentional underpayments relating to employee entitlements outlined in the Act or under a fair work instrument, such as modern awards or enterprise agreements. Notably, the offense extends to intentional underpayments of superannuation contributions, reinforcing the government's commitment to protecting employee benefits. Commencing January 1, 2025, stringent penalties will be introduced for employers, including individual directors, who intentionally withhold wages or superannuation contributions. Penalties include imprisonment for up to ten years and fines reaching $7.8 million. A key aspect of these new provisions is the consideration of the employer's intent, highlighting the importance for employers to proactively ensure compliance to avoid severe repercussions. Employers previously or currently identified for underpaying employees must be particularly vigilant. The courts will consider whether employers knowingly continued underpaying employees, potentially interpreting this as a willful violation of the new laws. This underscores the urgent need for employers to conduct thorough compliance audits of their payroll and management practices to rectify any underpayments and avoid future legal complications. Moreover, the legislation introduces measures to encourage employers to self-report underpayment violations. Incentives for self-disclosure include protection from criminal prosecution for wage theft, provided certain conditions are met. This includes adherence to a forthcoming Voluntary Small Business Wage Compliance Code, developed in collaboration with government and industry groups. Compliance with this code will serve as a safeguard against criminal prosecution for self-disclosing employers. Additionally, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) may enter into cooperation agreements with employers who voluntarily report wage underpayments. While these agreements can exempt employers from criminal prosecution, the FWO retains the authority to take alternative measures, such as issuing compliance notices or pursuing civil action. It's crucial to understand that the new wage theft offense will not penalise honest mistakes or unintentional miscalculations by employers. Instead, it targets deliberate acts of underpayment, holding those who intentionally exploit workers criminally accountable. The inclusion of cooperation agreements and compliance codes serves to support employers who have made unintentional errors, offering them pathways to rectify these mistakes while maintaining their obligation to fair worker compensation. The changes usher in a new era of accountability in the Australian workplace, emphasizing the importance of fair compensation and the legal responsibilities of employers. These amendments are scheduled to take effect from January 1, 2025, but the actual commencement date hinges on the declaration of the Voluntary Small Business Wage Compliance Code by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. If the Code is not declared, the offense will not be enacted. This phased approach allows employers time to adjust and align with the new legal standards, ensuring that worker rights are protected and upheld in the Australian labor market. About Essential HR Simplify HR processes, stay compliant & maximise performance Unlock the full potential of your business by harnessing the power of Essential HR. We understand the intricate demands that arise when you bring talented individuals on board, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.   Managing a workforce can be a daunting task, but with our proven HR solutions, you can navigate the complexities with ease. Our team of HR & recruitment professionals boasts an impressive track record, having excelled in senior management roles across various organisations.   No matter the scale or urgency of your HR needs, we've got you covered. Our flexible services can be customised to suit your unique requirements, whether it's a one-time project, an immediate workplace issue, or a long-term HR partnership.   email us now at hr@esshr.com.au

Revised Announcement on Australia's Enhanced Paid Parental Leave

Revised Announcement on Australia's Enhanced Paid Parental Leave

Significant updates to Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme were officially approved by Parliament on March 18, 2024. The enactment of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023 will augment the duration of leave available to parents. Commencing from July 1, 2024, the paid parental leave period will progressively extend from the current 20 weeks to 26 weeks by July 1, 2026. This extension will occur in stages, with an additional two weeks being added annually until 2026, culminating in a total increase of six weeks to the existing Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme, providing parents with up to six months of leave by 2026. Below is a brief breakdown:   For children born before July 1, 2024: 100 days of paid leave (around 20 weeks). For children born from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025: 110 days of paid leave (approximately 22 weeks). For children born from July 1, 2025, to June 30, 2026: 120 days of paid leave (about 24 weeks). For children born on or after July 1, 2026: 130 days of paid leave (equivalent to 26 weeks). These modifications will necessitate minimal adjustments for employers, mainly entailing the processing of additional payments for eligible employees. It is advisable for employers to reassess their parental leave policies in light of these changes. Note: Essential HR will manage these policy updates for our HR Partner clients.   For further details on the enhanced paid parental leave scheme and the implications for employers, please refer to the Services Australia website here . Additionally, if you require assistance in updating your organisation’s parental leave policy to comply with these new legislative changes, please contact Essential HR at hr@esshr.com.au . About Essential HR Simplify HR processes, stay compliant & maximise performance Unlock the full potential of your business by harnessing the power of Essential HR. We understand the intricate demands that arise when you bring talented individuals on board, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.   Managing a workforce can be a daunting task, but with our proven HR solutions, you can navigate the complexities with ease. Our team of HR & recruitment professionals boasts an impressive track record, having excelled in senior management roles across various organisations.   No matter the scale or urgency of your HR needs, we've got you covered. Our flexible services can be customised to suit your unique requirements, whether it's a one-time project, an immediate workplace issue, or a long-term HR partnership.   email us now at hr@esshr.com.au

Balancing Work and Life: An Insight into the 'Right to Disconnect' Movement

Balancing Work and Life: An Insight into the 'Right to Disconnect' Movement

In an era where the boundaries between work and personal life are increasingly blurred, the introduction of the 'Right to Disconnect' legislation marks a significant shift in workplace dynamics. This new rule, aimed at empowering employees, asserts their right to ignore work-related communications outside standard working hours, unless such contact is deemed reasonable. When Will This Change Take Effect? The legislation will come into force six months following Royal Assent. However, for small businesses with fewer than 15 employees, a grace period of 18 months is provided to adapt to the new regulations. What Changes Are Being Made? Under the 'Right to Disconnect', employees can refuse to engage with work-related communications—such as emails, phone calls, or messages—outside their normal working hours. This provision also extends to third-party contacts related to work. The fundamental principle here is the reasonableness of the refusal, which balances employee wellbeing with business needs. This right is designed not only to allow employees to unplug after hours but also to set clear boundaries regarding work-life balance. However, it's crucial to understand that this right is not absolute. Employers can still require after-hours contact if it's reasonable, considering factors like the urgency of the issue, the employee's role, and personal circumstances. Implications for Businesses and Employees Businesses may need to reassess their operational strategies and communication policies. The legislation introduces additional layers of consideration, potentially complicating out-of-hours communication. Employers must now navigate the fine line between reasonable and unreasonable contact, with disputes possibly escalating to the Fair Work Commission. For employees, this change reinforces the importance of work-life balance and provides a legal framework to support their right to disconnect. However, they must also understand the conditions under which they are expected to remain contactable. What Can Businesses Do? To comply with the new regulations and minimise disputes, businesses should: Clearly define out-of-hours contact expectations in job offers, contracts, and policies. Tailor benefits packages to reflect the expectation of some out-of-hours engagement. Engage in open dialogue with employees to establish mutual understanding and expectations regarding availability.
Conclusion The 'Right to Disconnect' is a progressive step towards recognising the importance of mental health and work-life balance in the modern workplace. While it presents challenges for both employers and employees, it also offers an opportunity to foster a more respectful and productive work environment. By embracing clear communication and setting reasonable expectations, businesses can adapt to this new legislation while supporting their employees' right to unplug and recharge. About Essential HR Simplify HR processes, stay compliant & maximise performance Unlock the full potential of your business by harnessing the power of Essential HR. We understand the intricate demands that arise when you bring talented individuals on board, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.  Managing a workforce can be a daunting task, but with our proven HR solutions, you can navigate the complexities with ease. Our team of HR & recruitment professionals boasts an impressive track record, having excelled in senior management roles across various organisations.  No matter the scale or urgency of your HR needs, we've got you covered. Our flexible services can be customised to suit your unique requirements, whether it's a one-time project, an immediate workplace issue, or a long-term HR partnership.  email us now at hr@esshr.com.au

New Rules on Employee Authorised Deductions from Pay

New Rules on Employee Authorised Deductions from Pay

Starting December 30, 2023, there are new regulations governing employee authorised deductions from pay. These deductions can be either one-off or recurring and can be for specific amounts or varying amounts over time. Referred to as employee authorised deductions, they require written permission from the employee. Examples of such deductions include payments to a health fund or union fees. Employers are permitted to make these deductions only if they primarily benefit the employee . Some examples include deductions for goods or services provided by the employer, such as spa treatments in a spa business operated by the employer, or when an employee utilises a company credit card for personal purchases. Record-keeping is essential for these deductions, and they must be documented in the employee's records. Pay slips must detail the amount of each deduction and the name or name and number of the fund or account into which the deduction was deposited. Additionally, awards and registered agreements may also allow for deductions from pay under certain circumstances. However, deductions directly from an employee's pay are subject to strict conditions. Employers must obtain written consent from employees, ensuring that the deduction primarily benefits the employee, or else they may face penalties or have to back-pay the employee. Examples of permitted deductions include salary sacrifice arrangements and voluntary contributions to an employee's super fund. In cases of overpayments due to employer error, deductions from an employee's pay are permissible only under limited circumstances. Employers must discuss and agree upon a repayment plan with the employee, documenting the reason for the overpayment, the amount, and the terms of repayment. Moreover, certain deductions may be allowed when an employee fails to provide adequate notice of termination as per their award. However, such deductions are limited and cannot be taken from other entitlements such as accumulated leave. It's important to note that even if deductions are outlined in awards, agreements, or employment contracts, they may not be permissible if they primarily benefit the employer or if the employee is under 18 years of age. Compliance with legal requirements and ensuring that deductions genuinely benefit employees and are mutual agreed in writing are crucial aspects of implementing authorised deductions from pay. About Essential HR Simplify HR processes, stay compliant & maximise performance Unlock the full potential of your business by harnessing the power of Essential HR. We understand the intricate demands that arise when you bring talented individuals on board, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.   Managing a workforce can be a daunting task, but with our proven HR solutions, you can navigate the complexities with ease. Our team of HR & recruitment professionals boasts an impressive track record, having excelled in senior management roles across various organisations.   No matter the scale or urgency of your HR needs, we've got you covered. Our flexible services can be customised to suit your unique requirements, whether it's a one-time project, an immediate workplace issue, or a long-term HR partnership.   email us now at hr@esshr.com.au Top of Form

How to Use Performance Reviews to Drive Employee Growth and Organisational Success

How to Use Performance Reviews to Drive Employee Growth and Organisational Success

Written by Harshini Elliott, Senior HR Partner At the heart of thriving businesses lies the cornerstone of effective performance reviews—a dynamic tool designed not only to advance employee development but also to bolster communication, and seamlessly integrate individual ambitions with the broader vision of the organisation. Performance evaluations are more than just a checkpoint; they are a gateway to clarity and recognition, offering employees a mirror to their contributions and their value within the company's ecosystem. This transparency is key to fostering an environment where excellence is acknowledged and rewarded, paving the way for both personal and organisational triumphs. However, the art of feedback extends beyond the annual review. In a truly vibrant workplace culture, feedback and recognition are continuous, embedded in the day-to-day rhythm of organisational life. This approach demystifies performance reviews, transforming them from a source of stress into a constructive dialogue—a moment of empowerment and growth rather than a dreaded confrontation. Such a culture celebrates progress, nurtures development, and views performance evaluations as an opportunity for positive reinforcement within a supportive framework. Effective performance reviews are the scaffolding for a culture of accountability, development, and success. When approached with intention and consistency, they are a powerful lever for enhancing employee engagement, performance, and aligning with the strategic objectives of the organisation. To navigate these conversations with finesse, here are some actionable strategies: Prepare with Purpose:   Equip yourself with comprehensive insights—from performance data to peer feedback and self-assessments—to paint a full picture of the employee's journey. Clarify and Connect:   Set the stage by clearly outlining the objectives and expectations of the review, ensuring a focused and productive dialogue that resonates with both individual and organisational goals. Celebrate and Critique with Care:   Utilise specific examples to spotlight achievements and provide constructive feedback, fostering an atmosphere of appreciation and continuous improvement. Foster Open Dialogue:  Cultivate an environment where open, two-way communication thrives, allowing for a genuine exchange of ideas, aspirations, and feedback. Set the Path Forward:   Collaborate on setting SMART goals that challenge and inspire, underpinned by clear expectations and milestones. Empower through Opportunities:   Identify avenues for professional growth, offering resources and assignments that stretch capabilities and enrich career trajectories. Document and Develop:  Keep a detailed record of discussions and action plans, maintaining a clear trajectory of development and accomplishments. Engage and Evolve:  Maintain momentum with regular check-ins, adapting strategies and support to meet evolving goals and challenges. Essential HR stands as your partner in sculpting a landscape where performance reviews are a catalyst for growth and success. Our expertise lies in guiding managers through the intricacies of performance evaluations, offering tools and training to ensure these conversations are as effective as they are empowering. From crafting tailored review templates to navigating feedback and development discussions, we are here to elevate your performance review process to new heights of effectiveness and engagement. Let us help you transform performance reviews from a routine procedure into a strategic asset for your organisation. email hr@esshr.com.au

Creating a Productive and Effective Probation Period Plan for New Hires

Creating a Productive and Effective Probation Period Plan for New Hires

Written by: Harshini Elliott, Senior HR Partner Welcome to a new era of workforce challenges! Embarking on a new employment journey? Get ready to experience a transformative probationary period that's more than just a trial phase. It's an opportunity to unleash the full potential of your new team member and ensure you're making the right choices for your business's future. Why Probation Periods Matter Evaluating Compatibility and Alignment:  Probation periods are a powerful tool for evaluating if new hires align perfectly with your company's ethos and job demands. It's a two-way street where both you and your new team member explore a perfect professional match. Tuning for Performance Excellence:  The initial months are critical for optimising performance, laying the foundation for future success. Early identification of performance gaps allows for their conversion into opportunities for development and advancement. Fostering Growth Through Structured Feedback Milestone Check-ins: Scheduling regular feedback sessions at the 1, 3, and 5-month marks is crucial. These meetings are not mere formalities but pivotal moments for feedback, goal adjustment, and ensuring the new employee is progressing as expected. Critical Decision Period: In the initial 6 months for full-time or part-time staff (or 12 months for small businesses with fewer than 15 employees), employees are ineligible to lodge an unfair dismissal claim should you decide to terminate their employment. Nonetheless, it's advised to conduct routine check-ins, documenting discussions around your concerns to mitigate the risk of other claims, such as a General Protection Claim. The Essential HR Blueprint for an effective Probationary Period Setting Clear Expectations:  From day one, lay out a clear roadmap of expectations, duties, and performance benchmarks. Having an up-to-date position description that includes key duties and responsibilities and attributes will assist you in this process. Further, setting clear Objectives with Key Results (OKR's) during their probation period will contribute to their understanding of what needs to be achieved and expected outcomes. Regular and Consistent Check-Ins:  sticking to check-in schedules ensures continuous dialogue, fostering an environment of growth and open communication. Tailored Training and Support:  We believe in empowering your new hire with the right tools, on the job and/or formal training, and mentorship, enhancing their journey towards becoming a valuable team player. Performance Evaluations:  Conducting a more formal evaluation at the end of the probation period is about celebrating achievements and setting new goals. Continuous Feedback Loop:  Establish an ongoing feedback mechanism, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement in real-time. Accurate Record Keeping:     Documenting all performance assessments and meetings ensures transparency and serves as a reference for future evaluations. Adaptive Flexibility:  Life is unpredictable. That's why we advocate for a flexible approach, adapting to the unique needs of each situation. Transparent Decision-Making:  Create a transparent, fair decision-making process for determining the future of your new hire post-probation. If they do not pass their probation and you terminate their employment, it should come as no surprise to the new starter. If it is not working out, the new employee should also be making a decision that this role is not for them. Open Communication: Communicate openly and transparently with the employee throughout the probationary period. Let them know where they stand in terms of their performance and what steps they can take to improve if needed. Upholding Fairness and Consistency:  We champion a uniform, consistent and unbiased approach to probation across all levels, ensuring fairness and equity. Elevate Your Probation Experience with Essential HR  At Essential HR, we position ourselves as your allies in designing a probation period that resonates with excellence and effectiveness. Our experienced HR professionals are here to guide you, offering bespoke templates, training, and development strategies for impactful probation meetings. Embark on this journey with us and transform your probation period into a powerful catalyst for long-term success and team harmony. Let's unlock the full potential of your team, together! email: hr@esshr.com.au or call 0419 568 899 to speak to Justine Pepper, Managing Director

Finding the right HR professional is tough, have you considered outsourcing?

Finding the right HR professional is tough, have you considered outsourcing?

At Essential HR, we deeply understand the appeal of maintaining an internal HR team. However, in challenging the status quo, we propose a shift in perspective: outsourcing your HR function. While the notion may initially seem unconventional, we're here to demonstrate how this approach can not only fit seamlessly into your business model but also enhance it significantly. The Evolution of Outsourcing Outsourcing, which began gaining traction in the 1980s and exploded in the 1990s, has evolved over the past three decades. This strategy is particularly familiar to small businesses that can't afford full-time, expert resources. Even larger organisations recognise the financial benefits, often outsourcing functions like payroll, recruitment & finance to cut costs. Our philosophy is straightforward: if recruiting an in-house expert is impractical or unattainable, find that external expert who can offer their services as needed. This approach not only ensures expertise but also mitigates risks associated with non-compliance and potential litigation, often a pitfall when non-specialists handle sensitive HR tasks. The Essential HR Outsourcing Model Solid Service Delivery Model : We believe in a robust model that guarantees effective HR services integration. Real-Time Accessible HR Platform : Essential HR implement a HR platform that facilitates immediate information exchange between clients and providers, reduces time spent on HR admin, ensures HR compliance and promotes employee engagement. Proactive and Planned Service : Our approach includes a proactive HR strategy with a clear plan of deliverables. Empowering, Not Policing : HR, whether internal or external, should empower, coach and educate managers to lead, not police their teams. Leadership Integration : Our HR professionals are integral to the leadership team, driving the HR agenda forward. Diverse Expertise : We ensure a comprehensive coverage of all HR aspects by having a team with varied levels of expertise, including Legal and Safety expertise. Top 9 Benefits of Outsourcing HR with Essential HR: Control Capital Costs : Outsourcing transforms fixed costs into variable costs, freeing capital for investment elsewhere in your business, and making your company more appealing to investors. Increased Efficiency : Outsourcing replaces manual, inefficient processes with automated, technology-driven solutions, enhancing productivity and accuracy. Reduced Labour Costs : Save on the expenses of hiring and training, while focusing your human resources where they're needed most. Quick Project Initiation : Outsourcing firms, focused solely on HR services, can start and execute new projects efficiently. Core Business Focus : With limited resources, outsourcing allows businesses to concentrate on customer-oriented activities and clearer managerial priorities. Leveling the Playing Field : Small and medium-sized enterprises can enjoy the same scale of services, efficiency, and expertise that larger companies have access to. Reduced Risk : Navigating the complex Australian Industrial Relations System is safer with an outsourcing partner who is up to date with legislation and risk management and has the backing of a legal and safety team of experts. Year-Round Resources : Outsourcing ensures uninterrupted service, even during employee leaves, by providing a team of experts readily available for any client. Software Cost Reduction : Clients benefit from cloud-based platforms without the need for in-house installation, customisation, and maintenance. Conclusion Essential HR offers these benefits and more. Our approach to HR outsourcing is designed to integrate seamlessly into your business, providing not just a service, but a partnership that fosters growth, efficiency, and compliance. To explore how our tailored HR solutions can benefit your organisation, we invite you to reach out and start a conversation with us today. Email: hr@esshr.com.au

Are You Familiar with the Recent Changes in Employment Laws?

Are You Familiar with the Recent Changes in Employment Laws?

On 7 December 2023, Parliament passed the  Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill  2023 (Bill), splitting the government’s omnibus industrial relations bill into two. The Bill received Royal Assent on 14 December 2023. Outlined below are 3 key changes. 1. Criminalising intentional wage underpayments From 1 January 2025, intentional underpayments of wages by employers will be a criminal offence. Where an Employer intentionally underpays or owes money to an employee, if proven, may serve jail time or be heavily fined or both for their crime. 2 common examples of intentional underpayments under the Fair Work Act include: Not paying the minimum rates of pay as per the National Minimum Wage, a Modern Award or other industrial instrument such as an enterprise agreement. Failure to pay employee entitlements stipulate in a Modern Award, enterprise agreement or the NES. Additionally, failure to make the required superannuation contributions will also come under this new law. Companies prosecuted face penalties three-times the amount of the underpayment, if a court can determine it, or $7.825 million, whichever is greater. If the court can’t determine the underpayment, the maximum penalty is $7.825 million. Individuals can be imprisoned for up to 10 years; be fined either three-times the amount of the underpayment, if the court can determine it, or up to $1.565 million, whichever is greater; or be both fined and imprisoned. Misinterpretation of an industrial instrument or where a genuine mistake has been made, these laws will not apply. A Voluntary Small Business Wage Compliance Code will be established before the changes take effect, and compliance with this Code means a small business won’t be prosecuted if they underpay their employees. The Fair Work Ombudsman will, once the offence takes effect in 2025, investigate suspected criminal underpayment offences. 2. Equal pay for labour hire workers From 15 December 2023, employees, unions and host employers can apply to the Fair Work Commission for a regulated labour hire arrangement order. The Bill will give power to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to make orders requiring employers with enterprise agreements to pay labour hire workers at least the same as the direct workforce if they perform the same duties or if the employer’s enterprise agreement would apply to the labour hire worker if they were employed directly. The changes only apply to the employee’s entitlement to pay; they do not apply to non-monetary entitlements owed under a host employers industrial instrument. The changes also do not apply: to small business owners; for certain short-term or other fixed periods; where an employee is paid more under their employment contract, or an industrial instrument that applies to them; or to training arrangements administered under State or Territory vocational training schemes.     3. New discrimination protections From 15 December 2023, employers cannot discriminate by taking adverse action against employees because they have been subjected to family and domestic violence. Awards and enterprise agreements must also not include terms that discriminate against an employee because they're experiencing (or have experienced) family and domestic violence. About Essential HR Simplify HR processes, stay compliant & maximise performance Unlock the full potential of your business by harnessing the power of Essential HR. We understand the intricate demands that arise when you bring talented individuals on board, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.   Managing a workforce can be a daunting task, but with our proven HR solutions, you can navigate the complexities with ease. Our team of HR & recruitment professionals boasts an impressive track record, having excelled in senior management roles across various organisations.   No matter the scale or urgency of your HR needs, we've got you covered. Our flexible services can be customised to suit your unique requirements, whether it's a one-time project, an immediate workplace issue, or a long-term HR partnership.   email us now at hr@esshr.com.au

New rules now apply to Fixed Term Contracts

New rules now apply to Fixed Term Contracts

Effective December 6, 2023, revised regulations are now in place for the utilisation of fixed term contracts for employees. A fixed term contract terminates at the conclusion of a predetermined period, such as a specific date, a set duration, or the conclusion of a particular season. A summary of the new rules are: an employer cannot employ someone on a fixed term contract that is longer than 2 years; that has more than one extension of contract; or where the employee will be employed under consecutive contracts. Exceptions to the new rules are: You employee casual employees You employee someone who has specialised skills for a specific task Training arrangements are in place such as an employee completing an apprenticeship or traineeship. Essential Worker during a peak demand period Working in an emergency situation or replacing someone who is temporarily absent. Employees over the high-income threshold The position is subject to Government Funding Is a Governance position The relevant Award has provisions that vary the new rules. It is important to note, should you employee someone on a fixed term contract you must provide them with a copy of the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement when they start work (in addition to a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement). If you employee fixed term staff, we highly recommend you click here and read through the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement to give you further information in regards to the new rules. For advice please contact Essential HR via https://www.esshr.com.au/contact-essential-hr About Essential HR Essential HR are a partner you can rely on. Our HR solutions combine technology and expertise to make your business better. We’ll help you play by the rules, sort out those tricky problems and create efficiencies that maximise your success.

Recruitment Outlook for 2024

Recruitment Outlook for 2024

Written by Michaella Prow, Recruitment Partner | Talent Acquisition | Workforce Planning | Outplacement and Career Transition | Top 10% Recommended Recruiter on Sourcr. As your organisation gears up for the approaching year, it is crucial to grasp the anticipated trends for 2024 and tailor your strategies to navigate these forthcoming changes, challenges, and opportunities. In aid of your organisational preparedness, we've condensed key projections for the upcoming year, outlining how you can proactively plan for them. 1. High Demand for Talent The persistent challenge of talent acquisition is expected to continue in 2024, with an escalating demand for individuals possessing the right skills. Tackling talent shortages is imperative for organisational vitality in the coming year. While specific sectors like healthcare, mental health, construction, and education may experience more acute shortages, the challenge is anticipated across all industries. Strategic workforce planning becomes paramount to address talent shortages not only in the short term but by charting workforce needs for the next 2–3 years, especially for organisations in growth stages. A comprehensive strategy should include initiatives for employee retention, internal succession planning, team restructuring, flexible work arrangements, diverse workforce integration, and investments in learning and development. Building a robust employer brand, including a compelling Employer Value Proposition, will be pivotal for attracting and retaining talent. 2. Industry Growth Certain industries are poised for growth in the coming year, leading to increased opportunities and a surge in demand for specific skills. Notably, healthcare, mental health, technology, construction, property, and engineering sectors are anticipated to expand. The rise of AI and technological advancements will influence job roles, emphasizing the need for employees with robust tech skills. Organisations are encouraged to upskill and reskill their workforce in AI and technology to gain a competitive edge. 3. Flexible Working The permanence of flexible and hybrid working models has been affirmed, rendering the traditional 5-day office week obsolete. Job seekers and employees prioritise flexibility and work-life balance, making it a crucial factor for talent attraction and retention. Organisations that can offer flexibility will stand out and gain a competitive advantage. Achieving this requires educating leadership, transforming company culture, and setting examples through role modeling. 4. Salaries The heightened demand for skills has led to wage inflation, placing strain on organisational sustainability. Previous reports show salary increases in specific roles and industries, a trend expected to continue in 2024, particularly in high-demand sectors. However, organisations must review operational costs to ensure long-term sustainability. Successfully navigating these changes requires a shift in perspective, recognising that recruitment and workforce development extend beyond job roles to encompass individual well-being, team dynamics, updated business processes/systems, and a positive workplace culture. For organizations seeking support in any of these areas, our HR/Recruitment Partners at Essential HR are available to assist. How can Essential HR help? As specialists in recruitment & human resource management Essential HR can assist in formulating strategies and crafting an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) that articulates your purpose, team culture, and fosters strong workplace relationships. We look at aligning compensation, benefits, professional growth opportunities, enhancing employee experience through HR technology, creating positive working environments, and providing intiatives around work-life balance. In doing so, we help create effective EVP''s to not only attract the right talent but also improve employee engagement, reduce turnover, and enhance the organisation's overall performance. To learn more visit our website at: www.esshr.com.au  or get in contact with us.

Exploring Outplacement Services to Navigate Career Transitions Amidst Restructuring & Redundancies

Exploring Outplacement Services to Navigate Career Transitions Amidst Restructuring & Redundancies

In today's dynamic and ever-evolving job market, career transitions have become a common aspect of the modern workforce. Whether due to downsizing, restructuring, or other changes within an organisation, employees often find themselves in a state of uncertainty and flux. Outplacement, a service aimed at assisting individuals during these transitional periods, has gained significance as a tool to help both employees and organisations effectively manage the process of career change. This article explores the concept of outplacement, its benefits, and how it aids individuals in navigating the tumultuous seas of career transitions. Understanding Outplacement Outplacement is a holistic approach to supporting employees who are facing job loss or career transitions, usually as a result of downsizing, layoffs, or company restructuring. It involves the provision of various resources, guidance, and assistance to help individuals transition into new employment opportunities successfully. The core objectives of outplacement services are to minimise the adverse effects of job loss, facilitate reemployment, and enhance the overall well-being of employees during this challenging phase. Key Components of Outplacement Services Career Counselling: Outplacement services typically provide access to professional career counsellors who help individuals assess their skills, strengths, and interests. This guidance assists in identifying new career goals and charting a path towards achieving them. Developing a Personal Brand: Outplacement programs offer support with updating and optimising resumes, refine job search strategies, and creating effective LinkedIn profile to stand out in a competitive job market. Job Search Assistance: Outplacement firms often have extensive networks and resources for job hunting. They help job seekers identify potential employers, apply for positions, and connect with opportunities that align with their career aspirations. Fine Tuning Interview skills: Embarking on a journey to master interview skills is a crucial step towards achieving career goals and securing a new role. It allows individuals to be ready to present themselves with confidence, poise, and authenticity. Emotional Support: Losing a job can be emotionally challenging. Outplacement services often include counselling and emotional support to help individuals cope with stress, anxiety, and the emotional toll of job loss. Benefits of Outplacement Services Employee Morale: Providing outplacement services to employees affected by downsizing or restructuring demonstrates a commitment to their well-being, which can boost morale even in difficult times. Faster Reemployment : Individuals who use outplacement services tend to find new employment more quickly than those who don't, reducing the period of unemployment and financial strain. Cost Savings: Offering outplacement services can mitigate potential legal or reputation risks for an organisation, ultimately saving money in the long run. Enhanced Productivity: For employees who are not directly impacted by job loss, knowing that outplacement services are available can help maintain focus and productivity during times of change. Positive Company Image: A commitment to outplacement services can improve an organisation's reputation in the job market, making it more attractive to prospective employees. Not all outplacement services are the same. They should be tailored to the specific needs of the individual and the organisation. Customisation is key in addressing unique career challenges, from mid-career professionals seeking to pivot into new industries to entry-level employees entering the job market for the first time. The investment in outplacement services not only helps displaced workers navigate the uncertainty of job loss but also reflects positively on the organisation's commitment to the well-being of its employees. By offering a helping hand during challenging times, outplacement services empower individuals to find new opportunities and embark on the next chapter of their careers with confidence. In essence, outplacement is not just a service; it's a bridge to a brighter, more secure professional future. At Essential HR we understand that no two career transitions are alike. Our Outplacement Services are meticulously designed to cater to an individual's unique needs, skills, and aspirations. Whether you're a seasoned executive or a recent graduate, our approach adapts to your circumstances, ensuring you receive the personalised support required to excel in job searching. See learn more regarding our Outplacement Services click here

2023 Business Closure for the Christmas Period - Employer Obligations

2023 Business Closure for the Christmas Period - Employer Obligations

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and spending quality time with loved ones. Many businesses choose to close down over Christmas to allow their employees to enjoy this special time. However, it's essential for employers to be aware of their obligations and responsibilities when implementing a Christmas shutdown. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of employer obligations during the holiday season closure, ensuring that both employers and employees have a smooth and stress-free holiday break. Directing Employees to take Leave Directing employees to take leave during a shutdown period such as Christmas and New Year is not always straight forward. Some Modern Awards and Agreements do not allow you to give direction. For example, the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award states employees cannot be directed to take annual leave during a shutdown, only by mutual agreement. Whereas the Clerks Private Sector Award states: Employees can be required to take a period of paid annual leave during a shutdown. If an employee doesn’t have enough paid annual leave to cover all of the shutdown, the employee and employer can agree to other options for the days not covered such as using: other paid time such as time off in lieu annual leave in advance leave without pay. Giving Adequate Notice One of the most crucial aspects of closing over Christmas is providing employees with sufficient notice. Depending on the relevant industry or occupational Modern Award or Agreement, this notice period can vary. Generally, it's recommended to inform employees in writing at least four weeks in advance to allow them time to plan accordingly. Most Awards state 28 days’ notice in writing, however we strongly recommend referring to the relevant clause in the Award to ensure you provide sufficient notice. For example, the Building and Construction General On-site Award states: All affected employees must be given at least 2 months’ written notice of the shutdown period. Holiday Pay and Leave Entitlements During the Christmas shutdown, employees may have questions about their holiday pay and leave entitlements. Employers must adhere to employment laws regarding paid leave during this period. This includes explaining whether employees will be paid for public holidays, how accrued leave balances will be handled, and any special arrangements for temporary or part-time workers. Clearly communicating these details helps prevent confusion and disputes. A few things to consider are: Where a public holiday falls on a full-time or part-time employee’s standard workday, the employee will be paid for the public holiday. Paid leave taken over the shutdown period, including public holidays, the employee will still accrue leave, unless they’re taking leave without pay. Casual employees are not entitled to paid leave and will need sufficient notice to ensure they can financially plan for the shutdown period. Temporary Closure Policies Developing clear policies and procedures for the Christmas shutdown can help streamline the process and ensure consistency. These policies should address matters such as the shutdown duration, emergency contact information, security measures, and expectations regarding remote work, if applicable. Make sure all employees are aware of these policies and have access to them well in advance of the closure. Communication and Engagement Effective communication is essential to address employee concerns and maintain morale during the holiday shutdown. Hold a staff meeting or send out a company-wide email to inform employees about the closure and its details. Encourage open lines of communication, so employees feel comfortable reaching out with any questions or concerns. Additionally, consider organising a festive event or party before the shutdown to boost team morale and celebrate the holiday season together. Health and Safety Even during a shutdown, employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Ensure that the workplace remains safe during the closure by conducting necessary maintenance and security checks. Clearly communicate any safety measures or procedures that employees should follow if they need to access the premises during the shutdown. Conclusion Closing over Christmas can be a wonderful way for businesses to allow their employees to enjoy the holiday season, but it comes with specific employer obligations. By giving adequate notice, addressing holiday pay and leave entitlements, managing annual leave requests, implementing temporary closure policies, maintaining open communication, and ensuring health and safety, employers can create a smooth and stress-free Christmas shutdown. This not only supports employee well-being but also fosters a positive work environment that can lead to increased productivity and loyalty when the business reopens in the new year. HOW CAN WE ASSIST Essential HR are a partner you can rely on. Our HR solutions combine technology and expertise to make your business better. We’ll help you play by the rules, sort out those tricky problems and create efficiencies that maximise your success. visit www.esshr.com.au

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