Posted by: Espyconnect Blogger on 06/05/2017

So now you are a boss.! What now? HR 101

The growth of the disability sector under the NDIS is seeing an explosion in small business, especially in the Allied Health private practice space. Going out on your own can ensure freedom to do things how you like - but managing employees brings it's own kind of challenges that many of us were simply not trained to manage. Tracey Archer from Grow With You has kindly given us some tips about the kids of things you should make sure that you have taken care of when you are adding members to your team.


Any business owner that has employees will tell you they have human resources challenges. Business owners are dealing with growing complexities of employment issues facing their workforce, not to mention the challenges that go along with managing employees! Balancing the priorities of your business and acting in an area that is unfamiliar could compromise the quality and timeliness of your core service offering. 

In this two part blog  I will explore HR compliance documentation, with the first part focusing on employment contracts and part two focusing on policies and procedures.


Part One - CONTRACTS

The first thing to know is that employment contracts can be in writing, oral or inferred from the conduct of parties. Meaning that an employee doesn’t need to receive an actual hard copy contract, essentially their employment is subject to the National Employment Standards (NES) and the applicable Modern Award. However, while the NES, Fair Work Act and Modern Awards are comprehensive in terms of the employment relationship, they do not have provisions to protect your business and fully provide for the relationship you have with your employee.

One such clause focuses on Confidentiality. In a recent Fair Work case an ex-employee was forced to pay his employer just under $200,000, plus his own legal fees, for breaching confidentiality. He took company information that would help him succeed in his next role. Thankfully he signed a contract that covered off on confidentiality and defined it. While fighting a case like this in court may be cost prohibitive for smaller organisations key is first having a clause and ensuring employees understand what constitutes confidential information and what the limitations are to using it.

Another important aspect of the employment relationship is the restraint of trade clause. This clause seeks to restrict a former employee from interfering with any relationship their employer has with clients, suppliers and other employees or seeking employment or starting a business which would be in competition with the employer. A recent case decision successfully supported an Employers restraint of trade clause against an employee who moved to a different employer and continued servicing the same client. When developing this clause consideration should be given to geographical areas and the length of time the restraint should be in effect. This clause is also important when hiring to ensure your new recruit is free from restraints to perform the role you’ve hired them for (from their previous employer).

Probation periods, Intellectual property, Surveillance (including CCTV, computer and GPS tracking) and Licences/Qualifications are also important considerations when developing employment contracts.

 Grow With You can assist is in developing an employment contract with suitable clauses for your industry.



Image shows a picture of Tracey Archer, Director of Grow With You.


Part II - POLICIES

In part one of the HR compliance series I discussed employment contracts, the importance of having a written contract and clauses outside of the Fair Work Act that may be relevant for your business. Equally important is ensuring all staff understand their responsibilities and company processes by way of Polices and Procedures.

Think your business is too small to have documented policies? Ask yourself – how many times do your employees ask you if they can take time off? Or maybe they are coming in late? What do you need to do when performance managing and if it comes to it, terminating staff? You could be wasting time making a fresh decision every time you are faced with a challenge.

The demands of the current regulatory environment make it tough for businesses to stay current and compliant. It’s almost impossible to keep up with governmental changes that could affect your operations when you’re busy enough just managing the business from day to day. Key is setting the ground work early, getting compliance right!

While policies address employee needs for information they also set boundaries. In some cases, especially in regards to employment and work, health and safety legislation, having policies are a safe guard against unfair dismissal and bullying and harassment, just to name two possible claims!

Part of the implementation of policies is to ensure you have a code of conduct or set of values, together these help establish expectations and can address violations.

Similar to employment contracts policies should be tailored for the industry in which they are applicable. For example businesses in the child care industry may require employees to have a zero blood alcohol reading verse a call centre where anything over the legal limit of 0.05 is unacceptable.

At  Grow With You I deal with compliance issues daily, I make sure to be  always current on regulatory changes and have well-designed systems and processes to efficiently help your business stay compliant. We stay on top of it all, so you don’t have to. So you can get back to work. Call today for an obligation free chat!

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