Year end employment relations housekeeping

With just six weeks left of this financial year, it’s a good time to get your employment relations housekeeping in order – and by this I mean ensuring you’re meeting all of your employer obligations. Here’s my list of the top five things you should be doing right now.

Directors’ Personal Liability on Super
In last week’s Budget the director penalty regime was extended to include the superannuation guarantee. Directors will now be held personally liable for their companies’ failure to pay employee superannuation. With this date looming, I would strongly recommend that all directors and managing directors review the super arrangements for employees and contractors and consider whether any changes need to be made before the 1 July kick off.

Paid Parental Scheme Administration
As I’m sure you all know, the Government-funded Paid Parental scheme was brought in at the start of the year. As of 1 July however, all businesses will be responsible for administering the scheme. If you haven’t yet registered your business with the Family Assistance Office, I suggest you do so now. You also need to ensure your payroll system can record Paid Parental Leave payments and I recommend that you implement appropriate HR policies to document and communicate your obligations to your employees as not all of your employees who may qualify for PPL will qualify for Unpaid Leave under the National Employment Standards.

Annual Leave Loading on Termination
A new approach being endorsed by the Fair Work Ombudsman requires annual leave loading on accrued annual leave balances to be paid out when employment ends – even if a Modern Award does not require leave loading to be paid on termination. With this advice, it’s vital that you understand which Modern Award or Awards apply to your employees. If the particular Modern Award or Common Law Agreement provides for leave loading then you must pay leave loading on termination or resignation. As this new advice is retrospective to 1 January 2010, you may need to consider setting aside a contingency to fund back-pay claims for the unpaid leave loading in this year’s accounts.

Fair Work Inspections
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s office makes no secret of its continuous education program and on-site inspections. However a visit from a Fair Work Inspector is rarely good news for any business. With the major focus on full compliance with the National Employment Standards (NES) and any Modern Awards, I suggest that you undertake a Workplace Audit of your employment relations compliance. This will help minimise your business risk and provide a checklist to remedy any non-compliance.
Pro-active Compliance

With breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 attracting maximum penalties of $33,000 per breach, it’s important to consider how such penalties could challenge your commercial viability. In the same way that you turn to your accountant rather than the Australian Tax Office for help with business advice and tax minimisation strategies, you need to turn to an expert service like Workforce Guardian for help with HR and employment relations issues – and not go alone with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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