Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Workplace Relations - What you should aware of?

There are a number of base line issues every employer should be aware of. These include knowing what workplace legislation covers your company, the different types of employment and how they are affected by the workplace legislation, and lastly what workplace practices to avoid at all costs.

1. What workplace legislation am I covered by? We’ve discussed this extensively in previous newsletters with the bottom line being that where the employment entity is a limited (LTD) or proprietary limited (Pty Ltd) company, the entity will be classified as a national employer with the workplace covered by the new federal Fair Work legislation that came into effect on the 1st July 2009. If in doubt check Jurisdiction

2. Different types of employment: What are your workplace responsibilities to full-time, part-time, casual employees and independent contractors? Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to exactly the same benefits as defined by the National Employment Standard, with the latter’s entitlements being a prorate entitlements of full-time equivalent. Casual employees on the other hand are typically employed on an hourly or daily basis and are paid a ‘casual loading’ which makes up for the fact that they are not entitled to sick or annual leave. They also do not have access to the unfair dismissal laws. An Independent Contractor works under contract for a specific job or length of time. They do not work regularly for the employer and can choose whether or not to do the job. Accordingly they are not covered by employment law.

3. Work Practices to avoid. A Sham Contract is where the employer disguises an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement. They may do this to avoid being subject to the employment legislation and related entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave etc, avoid tax responsibilities or reduce apparent employee count. Whatever the reason, this serious offence and is called ‘sham contracting’. Unpaid work trials are generally against the law. You should not ask people to work for free. Unpaid work trials are generally against the law. Contraventions incur a penalty of up to $33,000 (2009) per incident.

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