I recently attended a meeting that included a large group of HR people and was surprised to find that the very hot topic of conversation was the new Fair work Australia Act. Perhaps this is because many of the new provisions commenced 1 January 2010 even though the Act came into effect on 1 July 2009.
The new law which applies to all corporations introduces major changes which will impact immediately on all employers and employees. This means that the legal obligations of an employer will change and employers and their HR teams really need to be aware of and get their heads around the changes asap or run the risk of falling foul of the legislation.
In a nutshell, there are a few basic points employers and their HR teams need to review right now. They include:
- Existing workplace entitlements vs. New Employment Standards
- Communications to all staff – ‘general protections’
- Termination and performance review guidelines
- Training – HR staff, managers, supervisors
- Procedures and training for complaint handlers, contact officers
Furthermore, I would suggest employers and their management teams also need to review their complaint handling mechanisms and their records management systems to ensure they develop and maintain accurate HR & payroll related records that incorporates all the additional data now required to be compliant with the Act.
I have asked Michael Meere to provide some thoughts on the implications of the Act and what HR professionals should be doing now to respond to the changes so, lookout for these over the next few weeks.
P.S for more information on The Fair Work Act 2009 check out the Australian Government website here http://www.fwa.gov.au/index.cfm?pagename=legislationfwact