Staff Management FAQs22 Questions We Are Often Asked by Small Business Owners, Not-for-Profit Managers and HR Staff

 If you have a question that is not answered here, please email us at: Heather@staffmanagement.com.au
Why would I do business with you?
There are numerous reasons you and your company will benefit from ‘doing business’ with us, and we have listed some of these here. If you have a need that is not listed here, please write to us: Heather@StaffManagement.com.au

  1. To ensure businesses in the private, not-for-profit sectors and semi-govt organisations comply with all employment related legislation (not just the FWA)
  2. Our work helps you to sleep better at night!
  3. We take the ‘load off’ you and your HR staff
  4. To standardise all aspects of your staff management system, from hiring, training – tailored and Australian Qualifications, managing staff and letting them go
  5. To gain efficiencies across your business
  6. We can link you to cost-effective cloud based services
  7. Help you manage and deliver on the increased accountability of managers, CEOs, and HR departments
  8. To complete a specific project within agreed time frame and allocated budget
  9. As part of ISO or quality improvement project, including winning major tenders – they want to see evidence of policies and processes – in action!
  10. To guide, coach, support you and your managers during difficult or sensitive matters
I seriously need help reducing the cost of Recruitment and Hiring!
This is easy to fix. You are not alone with this one! Whether you are currently hiring using in-house staff or using external agencies, the time and monetary costs are huge.

  • By using our services, you only pay by the hour! You do not pay a strict percentage of the successful person’s negotiated remuneration (sometimes attracting a surprising added cost to your business); with us, you only pay the actual fixed term hourly rate.We can get you great results and you will know the cost upfront.
  • Our guaranteed game-changing innovation in recruitment starts 1 January 2013! This system provides you with recorded video interviews so you can immediately ‘see’ and ‘hear’ from your applicant pool and shortlist fast! This part of the service alone removes hours from the screening process and keeps your profits in the bank!
What do you know about Employment Legislation?
We’ve always been aware of the impact of employment legislation as soon as anyone enters the workforce. Most peoplebecome aware of the taxation, accounting and business operations legislation when they start a business, and become astutely aware of employment legislation when they hire someone, even their first casual assistant.

During the study of HR qualifications, employment legislation has a major emphasis, as does hiring workers, advertising for ‘special’ or protected workers under the Anti-Discrimination legislation, as does managing workers who might or might not be members of various unions, managing workers hurt at work and protected by workers compensation, as does terminating someone summarily or making their position redundant.

Besides employment legislation under the Fair Work Act and Regulations, there is a host of other legislation impacting the employment of people, including the superannuation guarantee act, long service leave acts, Work Health & Safety Acts and Regulations, Workers Compensation Acts and Regulations, Privacy Acts, Anti-Discrimination Acts, etc and including some of the ATO legislation around FBT and GST.

What’s your background?
The Consultant has had over 12 years as HR Manager and QA consultant in government and the not-for-profit sector, in education, health and Aboriginal land councils; project management of an industrial relations project; and over 12 years in Adult education, in the TAFE and private community colleges sector.

Check question no. 24 for details of the Consultant’s qualifications. We also utilise the skills and experience of other experts to fill gaps or to assist with major projects we might have.

Why do I need to bother giving my staff payslips when they just get the same pay each week?
Firstly, you would want to give a payslip to avoid infringement notices by the Fair Work Commission, of$2,550 per contravention, for a body corporate!

This means if you have 10 employees and you have not given them a payslip for 10 weeks (so that’s 100 contraventions), you would attract a fine of $25,000!

Pay slips must be issued to each employee within one working day of pay day, even if an employee is on leave but can be either electronically or in hard copy and must contain the details of all payments, deductions, and super contributions for the relevant pay period.

6 If I had to go to the Fair Work Commission, would you be able to help me?
Sure, we can assist you to lodge the right documentation and present your case in the most constructive way; however, if we think a matter would benefit from formal legal advice, we are not too proud to recommend that. In fact, we would see it as an important component of our duty of care for our clients.
I need to terminate an employee, how can you help me?
Certainly, we’ll start by having a conversation around what led to the decision to terminate. Each query is handled on a case by case basis; while there are principles that apply consistently to terminations, we find there are specific nuances relevant to each company and the individuals involved. Very few things related to people management result in ‘black and white’ options.

We need to ensure you get a fair go, the employee gets a fair go and the process complies to terminations under the Fair Work Act.

8 I would like to put my six managers through an extensive leadership course? I want them to be able to do some study online, as well as happy to let them have a day or so here and there in a classroom type situation. We have actually got some major projects they could work on to make the learning practical for them and useful for our business. Is this something you can help with?
Certainly, we love developing tailored leadership programs with CEOs and HRMs. We can offer formal qualifications, such as the Frontline Management quals in CIV or Diploma, or you might prefer an extensive tailored program.

We like leadership programs that have a practical and tangible result for the participant and for the employer – otherwise, what is the point? We want participants to be able to develop themselves in a deliberate way to meet the goals of their employer.

When your organisation gets involved with our leadership program, you know you will be moving ahead – all participants are enthusiastic (or they don’t come on board!), motivated to make a different to their own lives, the lives of their colleagues, the organisation and the community.

Our leadership programs usually commence with a 2-3 day activity away from the workplace, with one or two days per month for 6-10 months, and end with a debriefing and presentation of achievements over two days at the end; along with a hard copy magazine of participants, their organisation and their project.

If you would like to find out about our leadership programs, please contact us at Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or ring 1300 366 229 as we get excited about the options and how we can help you grow the capability of your Team and the capacity of your business.

Two of my employees are just not getting along with their supervisor – can you help us?
Sure, we have three ways we can assist with this problem:

  1. Firstly we need to talk about the matter because sometimes we have managers who want a mediation, but when we discuss what is going on, we find some other conflict resolution is more suitable.
  2. Secondly, there’s Mediation between the affected parties.
  3. Thirdly, we can offer Coaching, to one or all of the parties and we find coaching works especially well for new supervisors and managers.
    • We have Accredited Mediators on our team, with Accreditation by LEADR – the ‘gold standard’ for mediation training for the legal community.
    • We also provide mediation services to the public Community Justice Centre for disputes between community group, couples, families and neighbours.
    • Conflict resolution services are available.
    • Coaching services to help managers, supervisors and employees through a sensitive or difficult
    • Some of the best mediation and conflict resolution occurs by teleconference, where people are not in the same room reacting to each other’s facial expressions!

If you or your team find themselves in a conflict situation, you are welcome to write to us at Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or ring 1300 366 229 to talk about resolution options to meet your needs.

The Management Committee wants to restructure our company at head office, and there are going to be three jobs we no longer want but will need to hire two new people to fill higher skilled jobs, in a new section we are creating. Two of the three people to be made redundant have been with us a few years, and I’d like to be able to help them the best way I can. What do you suggest?
Thank you for asking. Most people understand the need for businesses to keep moving, to keep growing and remain sustainable. As a result, they know that being made redundant in the current economy is likely and is not the ‘shame job’ it once was.

We also know, that where businesses look after their employees who are about to be made redundant, it is less traumatic for both parties, it provides a safety platform to the employee who is given assistance with their ‘career transition’ and the reputation of the employer is kept intact.

The way a business treats one employee, is the way other employees assume they’ll be treated when it’s their turn; thus, providing a career transition service for employees whose roles have become redundant, boosts morale of everyone, whether they are staying or leaving.

The provision of employee assistance counselling and career transition services for employees is a wise action.

I have a few drivers and some of them have to drive at night, which I don’t like but it’s the only way we can meet our schedules. When every new driver starts with us, they have to complete a two day driver safety program but what’s bothering me now, is a mate of mine in a similar business, told me the day that I should make sure they’re also trained at night. Is that right?
Great question, and we’d have to say, ‘Your mate is right on this one!’

This matter relates specially to Duty of Care, Work Health & Safety, and potentially Workers Compensation should something untoward occur at any time the driver is on duty.

All workers are required to be trained for the tasks they have to perform and under the conditions in which they perform those tasks.

So training a Driver to drive during daylight hours only, may prove to be insufficient if they have an accident in conditions for which they were not specifically trained, or where the policies and procedures are too vague or where a company has requested employees to work outside their normal working environment.

If you have a query around Work Health & Safety, please write to us at Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or ring 1300 366 229 to discuss what best to do.

We’ve just had a female staff member take 12 months leave, and now she is asking for another 12 months – do I have to give it to her?
Mmm, good question. Firstly, check out the parental leave and related entitlements in the National Employment Standards (NES).

Parental leave provisions include birth-related leave and adoption-related leave, and also recognise same sex de facto relationships.

In addition to unpaid parental leave, the NES also provide the following related entitlements:

    unpaid special maternity leave

  • a right to transfer to a safe job in appropriate cases, or to take ‘no safe job leave’
  • consultation requirements
  • a return to work guarantee
  • unpaid pre-adoption leave.

An employee taking 12 months parental leave may request an extension of a further 12 months leave (up to 24 months in total), unless they are a member of an employee couple (not necessarily with the same employer) and the other member has already taken 12 months of leave.

The request must be in writing and given to the employer at least four weeks before the end of the employee’s initial period of parental leave. The employer must respond in writing within 21 days, stating whether they grant or refuse the request. They may only refuse if there are reasonable business grounds to do so, and must detail their reasons in writing.

The NES do not define ‘reasonable business grounds’ for refusing a request, but relevant factors may include:

  • the effect on the workplace; eg, the impact on finances, efficiency, productivity, customer service,
  • the inability to manage the workload among existing employees, especially if the employer is a relatively small employer, and
  • the inability to recruit a replacement employee.
We are a medium sized business with 327 staff, spread around five states and organising their performance appraisals is currently one big headache! It’s messy, seems to be time consuming for everyone involved, my supervisors hate it, and because it’s paper based, my HR team always seems to be losing important feedback and planning documents. Do you have any solution for us please? It’s urgent!
Of course, we have used and absolutely love the cloud-based online performance management system by Cornerstone on Demand or CSB (formerly Sonar 6).

CSB understands the need for a system that’s easy to use by employees and supervisors, a system that gives everyone a quick visual reference as to where they are in the system, one that only shows that information to those delegated to see it, one which sends email reminders!,

For Supervisors and Managers, CSB shows:

  • each employee’s current performance against their past performance assessment
  • the whole team performance – identifes the ‘stars’ and those who need ‘attention’

CEOs, at a glance can see:

  • each section or department’s performance, and
  • the whole organisation’s performance

Cornerstone on Demand www.cornerstone.com.au

Please contact us to organise a 1-1 information session, by emailing Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or calling 1300 366 229.

I want two of my team leaders to do a CIV in Frontline Management. Is that something you can organise?
Sure, we have a few options for your team leaders around this:

  1. one requires more self-directed learning
  2. one requires more online and self-directed learning
  3. a third option requires more face to face teaching
  4. a fourth option includes on the job coaching.

Will the employees pay and be reimbursed after successful assessment of each module or will the employer be paying up front?

The option you choose will depend on:

  • the motivation level of the team leaders
  • their ability to use online learning tools
  • their access to computers at work and at home
  • their ability to commit to and follow self-directed learning and assessment activities.

Whichever option is chosen, we’ll have an agreed, written learning plan with each of the employees to ensure all parties meet their commitment to this program, which provides essential on and off the job learning opportunities, across a variety of operational topics.

We’ve got employees across the top of Australia and we want to start planning ahead in case there’s a cyclone or flooding, which often happens, this season. What are the rules around staff leave should we experience some weird severe weather event, you know, one of those 1 in a 100 year floods?
Mmm, another good question and reasonable for where you live. We would suggest that you develop a reasonable policy and procedure to follow in case such an event should occur. Make sure you include relationships with the Bureau of Meterology, the Police, etc.

The CEO and other managers should make a decision as early as possible, as to who will not be taking leave during flood season, and therefore, who on the team will take charge in the event of a ‘catastrophe’. This person needs the uptodate listing of all employees, their contact details and holiday plans too, so they are aware of who to contact should an emergency arise.

Of course, if you operate under the Building & Construction Award, you have specific guidelines around ‘inclement’ weather.

    Inclement weather is when rain or unusual climatic conditions (such as hail, extreme cold, high wind, severe dust storm, or extreme high temperatures) make it unsafe or unreasonable for employees to keep working.

  • Under the Building and Construction Award, when it is unreasonable for an employee to work during inclement weather, they are entitled to be paid, including casuals. The amount of time that is paid is capped at 32 hours over a 4 week period.
  • See clause 23 of the Award for details, including how this applies to part time employees and when work needs to continue despite the inclement weather (such as to complete a concrete pour).

Note: this only applies to employees in the general building and construction and the civil construction sectors.

One of my staff is in the SES, and he tells me he is entitled to take leave during a cyclone if he was asked to help clean up; is that right?

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), arecognised emergency management body is a body or part of a body, that has a role or function under a plan that:

  1. is for coping with emergencies and/or disasters
  2. is prepared by the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory
  3. a fire-fighting, civil defence or rescue body, or part of such a body
  4. any other body, or part of a body, which substantially involves:
  5. securing the safety of persons or animals in an emergency or natural disaster
  6. protecting property in an emergency or natural disaster
  7. otherwise responding to an emergency or natural disaster.

An employee is entitled to be absent from his or her employment for the time the employee is engaged in the ‘eligible’ community service activity, including reasonable travelling time associated with the activity and reasonable rest time immediately following the activity, so long as it is reasonable.

I’ve been operating as a sole trader for a little while now, and I’ve just won a government tender but there’s no way I can do it all myself. Do you recommend that I employ two part timers or one full timer or use contractors to help out?
This is a great question! There is no easy ‘off-the-cuff’ response to this question because it depends on many variables. Having two people familiar with your business is an advantage but there may be additional costs to having to deal with two separate people.

The first issue we need to ascertain, is whether the ‘contractor’ is going to clearly fit into that category from a Fair Work perspective, the ATO and Superannuation perspectives and the Workers Compensation perspective. Some business owners want to engage independent contractors (for service) but when all the questions are asked and answered, these people are engaged and treated more like ‘employees’; thus if they engage the independent contractors they will be considered to be ‘sham contractors’.

Please get advice from us before continuing in this vein, by emailing Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or calling 1300 366 229.

I am about to appoint a manager for the first time. Most of the staff work 38 hours a week, and I work about 60! Can I expect the manager to work longer than 38 hours?
Sure, some positions are ‘Aware Free’ and the majority of management roles are Award Free, including those of Human Resources Managers. People fulfilling these roles can be given an annualised salary which requires them to work on average 40 hours per week.

Please contact us before you finalise such contracts by emailing Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or calling 1300 366 229.

I own a small manufacturing business, and some weeks we’re flat out and need to work a lot of over time, and other weeks staff are almost sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Do I have to pay overtime and do I still have to pay staff for a full week if they don’t work a full week?
Depending on the specific Modern Award applicable to your business, you may be able to ‘average hours’ over a couple of weeks or more to help you manage situations just like this. We need to ask you some more questions about a few aspects of your business, your services and products, your employees to fully and fairly respond to this important question.

Please feel free to contact us to help you with this important questionby emailing Heather@StaffManagement.com.au or calling 1300 366 229 today.

I’ve got one employee who used to be pretty reliable, but lately they’re often moody, seem to argue with the other employees and are starting to get tardy in their appearance and attendance. I’m not sure whether to sack them or what I should do!
Unfortunately, life has its ups and downs, even for great employees. We suggest you to meet with the employee to find out what might be going on for them. There might be issues at work or in their private life affecting their well-being. During the conversation you can let them know that matters have been brought to your attention and you are genuinely concerned. It is possible there’s an underlying medical condition that needs monitoring or you might have to suggest that they see a GP.

You’ll need to record dates and times and key discussion points, and actions to be followed up; and then follow up. Keep an ‘eye’ on how things are going.

If you are still having issues or the supervisor could do with some coaching around this matter, please give us a call on 1300 366 229.

One of my employees has lately been slack on the job, ‘mouthing’ back to their supervisor and we think that on at least two occasions the petty cash tin seems to be a bit light on. We can’t prove this employee has taken the money, but it seems like it. Your advice on how best to handle this one please.
When employers have concerns, they are usually for a reason. It might be time for you to meet with the employee involved to find out what might be going on for them. There might be issues at work or in their private life affecting their well-being and behaviour.

It’s also time to move the petty cash tin to a more secure place, that less people know about. It can also be that person A is taking the petty cash but blaming person B!

The supervisor also needs to have an open chat with the employee about work expectations and you may want to follow this up with a letter to remind the employee of their duties, responsibilities and expected behaviours while being an employee of yours. It is wise to include a statement about wanting to see improvement by a set date, and that failure to improve might result in disciplinary action, which might include termination!

If none of these work, please give us a call on 1300 366 229.

The Consultant’s Qualifications, include:
  • Awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for contribution to community Lifelong Learning
  • Master of Ethics & Legal Studies (Dispute Resolution)
  • Graduate Diploma (Educational) Administration
  • Bachelor of Business (Human Resources Management)
  • Certificate IV in Government (Investigations)
  • Certificate IV in Training & Assessment TAE 40110
  • Diploma Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Master NLP Practitioner & Results Coach
  • Nationally Accredited Mediator with LEADR
  • Accredited MBTI Facilitator
Ten Other Important and Useful Business Links for You
    1. Sign up for our FREE monthly online magazine: Staff Management – just follow the link above
    2. If you are thinking about going into business, join our 12 month coaching program at:

SmartStartBusiness.biz

    1. If you are already in business and need to grow your business, join our 12 month coaching program at:

SmartStartBusiness.biz

    1. The Green Room

Join either group 2 or 3 above and you’ll automatically be invited to the Green Room Think Tanks where selected guest speakers will share their knowledge and individual businesses will be analysed, to help every member take on board the suggestions and learnings from this powerful Think Tank.

    1. For ALL your training and development needs:

LearnOnline.BrianTracyTraining.com.au

    1. NT Coaching Group

NTCoachingGroup.com.au

    1. Career Transition Services for Redundant Staff

Contact Heather@StaffManagement.com.au to discussion your options.

    1. Recruitment Services

Being announced at start of 2013 :)

    1. Workforce Guardian – for your cloud-based HR services– contact us to organise your 1-1 information session

WorkForceGuardian.com.au

    1. Linkedin

If you haven’t already ‘linkedin’ or linked up with me, please feel free to do so at: au.linkedin.com/pub/heather-traeger-61-421-960-317/29/9a7/473

PS: If you have a question that is not answered here, please email us at: Heather@staffmanagement.com.au