2. Give the national employment standards to every employee
You’ve probably familiar with the 10 national employment standards (NES) that apply to every employee in the national workplace system, and know that they cover fundamental rights like the number of hours in a workweek, time off, flexible work patterns, public holidays, notice periods, and redundancy pay.
You could still be risking a $54,000 fine
But did you know that you have to give every employee a copy of these standards “as soon as possible” after they start their job? If you don’t, your business is risking a fine of up to $54,000 for each violation, and you, as the business owner or manager, could also be held personally liable for additional fines of up to $10,800.
Leanne Berry warns, “Many employers simply aren’t aware of the minimum requirements that Fair Work provides and this means, in many cases, they’re not giving the mandatory handouts to new employees.”
3. Understand what “reasonable” overtime means
Fair Work doesn’t end with the 10 national employment standards. Not by a long shot. It also covers payslip and record-keeping requirements (such as minimum wages and the need to store employee timesheets for seven years), offers protection against workplace bullying and discrimination, and sets out how much each employee should be paid when they work overtime.
More on all of that below. But first, given how much unpaid wages are costing Australian businesses, let’s start by looking at overtime. The 38-hour workweek is one of the central tenets of Fair Work and beyond this, any additional hours must be considered “reasonable”. And this all depends on the circumstances.
If you ask an employee to work overtime, Fair Work says you have to weigh their needs (such as any health risks or family responsibilities) against the needs of the business. You also have to consider the nature of their position, whether they will get paid more, how much notice you are giving them, whether they are allowed to average their hours out over the course of several weeks, and what the typical working patterns are in your industry or occupation.
And how do you determine what a typical working pattern is? This is where awards come in…