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5 slip-ups that could land you with a Fair Work claim

More than 18,000 claims were made to the Fair Work in the last year. Be alert to these common pitfalls and you’re less likely to be blindsided.
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5 slip-ups that could land you with a Fair Work claim

5 slip-ups that could land you with a Fair Work claim

14 September 2016


Did you know that more than 18,000 claims were made against businesses for workplace issues in just 12 months?

Claims range from unfair dismissal, harassment at the workplace and misconduct at the workplace to name a few. You may not even realise you are breaching Australia’s complex workplace legislation. Here are five things you might not be doing which could land your business in front of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

1. You don’t have a process for managing terminations and redundancies 

From one day to the next, you might find you didn’t need as many employees as you once did, or maybe you can no longer afford to maintain the cost of full time staff so you are considering redundancies.

Without an existing termination or redundancy policy, you may well be in breach of workplace legislation. A Melbourne woman was awarded more than $4000 compensation last year by the Fair Work Commission after being unfairly dismissed on the spot after her employer failed to adhere to effective termination procedures.

2. You don’t keep up to date with changes to Modern Awards (you don’t know how)

Did you know there are over 100 awards? Do you know which award best applies to your business? Awards dictate the contracts and hourly rates you should be paying your employees. If you don’t keep up to date, you may find you are underpaying your employees unknowingly. Even if it wasn’t intentional, you can still be hauled in front of the Fair Work Commission and face hefty fines and substantial backpay.

3. You thought you didn’t need to check if employees are paid correctly

How can you make sure employees are paid correctly if you’re not sure what rate they are meant to be paid? Even miscalculating small things such as annual loading and inserting the wrong data into reporting spreadsheets are breaches of workplace law which could see you landed in front of the Fair Work Commission. Think you might just risk it? One major 7-Eleven Franchisee was fined a record $214,200 for underpaying staff earlier this year.

4. You aren’t entirely clear on employee leave entitlements 

Did you know that casual workers are entitled to leave? After 12 months of regular employment, and if it’s likely the regular employment will continue, a casual employee can request flexible working arrangements and take parental leave.

Depending on the type of award or agreement you use, staff may be entitled to the following types of leave:

• Sick leave
• Annual leave
• Parental leave
• Annual Leave
• Personal Leave
• Long Service Leave
• Community Leave
• Public Holidays

5. You don’t have a performance review process in place 

Having a performance review process is for your own protection as a business. If you need to make an employee termination based on poor performance, you need to demonstrate a clear and solid performance management process to exit the employee out of your business. Without a structured performance review process, you be at risk of unfair dismissal claims.

Not being on top of these five things at your workplace may mean your business is in breach of workplace law. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to raise a claim against your business for the Fair Work Commission to pursue a full investigation of your business operations.

Workplace Assured, a service delivered by NSW Business Chamber, offers small to medium businesses complete peace of mind by helping them manage and comply with workplace issues.

To find out if your business is above board, take our simple Risk Profiler healthcheck and receive a free risk report. 


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