Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fair Work January 2010 changes: resources for employers

Christopher Balmford MD

In a few weeks, Cleardocs will start to provide Employment & HR documents. This is — as they say — an exciting development. After operating for 7 years in the company set up, SMSF, and trust set up space, it is fun to be expanding.

The first Employment & HR document we launch will be an HR Policy Manual to help employers:

  • comply with the new National Employment Standards;
  • efficiently manage HR issues; and
  • develop healthy cultures that make their organisations more successful.

The Cleardocs HR Policy Manual will be ready in late February or early March 2010. Our timing was largely driven by the Fair Work changes which came into force on 1 January 2010. Those changes include the new National Employment Standards — which apply to a very wide-range of employers, see is affected?

The new Standards

The basic information about the new Standards is that they:

  • Set 38 hours a week (plus reasonable additional hours) as the most an employer can require an employee to work.
  • Entitle parents and carers to ask their employer for flexible working arrangements so they can look after children who are either under school age or under 18 and have a disability.
  • Set minimal annual leave entitlements of 4 weeks — with an extra week for certain shift workers.
  • Allow unpaid parental leave for up to 12 months for mothers and fathers — including if they have adopted a child.
  • Entitle employees to unpaid voluntary emergency service leave — and up to 10 days paid leave for jury service.
  • Set transitional requirements for long service leave for certain employers
    — but there is more regulation coming about long service leave entitlements.
  • Clarify the position in relation to public holidays — employees are entitled to a paid day off. But employers can ask them to work on a public holiday if that is reasonable — and employees can refuse if that is reasonable. The Standards include a useful set of criteria for determining what is reasonable.
  • Set a notice period for termination of up to 4 weeks (plus a week for an employee who is over 45 and who has more than 2 years service). Set up to 16 weeks pay for redundancy.
    For a particular employee, the actual period (in either case) that applies to them depends on their length of service.
  • Require employers to provide all employees with a statement about their Fair Work entitlements.

A useful (and official) guide to the National Employment Standards

You can read a useful guide about the standards here . We found it useful when we were working out how to make sure Cleardocs complied with the new National Employment Standards.

The formal document "The National Employment Standards"

You can download the official standards here:

Online HR Policy Manual

Remember, the Cleardocs HR Policy Manual is one way for employers to help make sure they comply. It also covers a wide-range of other policies — beyond those set by the National Employment Standards — which help employers.

Other documents

Do let us know if you would like Cleardocs to provide other Employment & HR documents, or other documents in other fields — we are planning further expansion.

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