HR Updates for the Wide Format Printing Industry from Printing Industries
• Unfair Dismissal & Adverse Action trends and protection
• When does a casual employee become permanent?
• Are you ready for Single Touch Payroll?
Unfair Dismissal & Adverse Action trends and protection
Recently a group of printers were able to take advantage of a Printing Industries free member-event held in Sydney. They heard about the latest trends in unfair dismissal and adverse action, as well as how they can reduce their industrial relations risks in this area.
Hosted by Printing Industries and PTW Law, the message was clear: the law in this area keeps evolving as common law sets new precedent. It is relatively easy for a business to minimise the risk of unfair dismissal or adverse action allegations by following a few simple guidelines. Employers are significantly better off to set the processes up correctly in the first place, than they are if forced to defend a charge.
The current trends reflect an increasing focus on procedural fairness (the way you conduct your business and dismissal), as well as for transparency in the process, both in communication with the employee and in documenting your decision-making.
Whilst most businesses are familiar with what unfair dismissal involves and how to reduce risk, there are significantly fewer who are familiar with adverse action provisions. Given the significant rise of adverse action claims in Australia, and the increased risk to a business in terms of both time and cost, it is an area that businesses need to learn about, and quickly.
A very good start is to ensure you follow a fair and reasonable process when letting someone go, and that includes providing opportunity for them to defend or address the area of concern you have. Keep exceptional documents along the way. They don’t have to be formal or onerous, an email record of a few sentences will suffice.
When does a casual employee become permanent?
A long-term casual employee in your business may have the right to become a permanent member of staff. It is critical that you understand and follow your obligations to avoid breaching provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009.
Any casual employee who has been working for you for 6 months or more under the Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2010 (Award) may be eligible to become a permanent member of staff if they are deemed a ‘regular and systemic’ casual worker.
What is ‘regular and systemic’?
The precise definition of ‘regular and systemic’ is largely contextual and may vary from employee to employee and business to business. However, overall if the employee is expected to work similar hours and similar days of the week, then it is likely that the employee would be deemed to be ‘regular and systemic’. For example, and simplistically, they worked 7am – 7pm three days a week for most of the weeks employed.
What are your obligations?
If you have a casual worker that is regular and systemic, under the Award you are obligated to provide written notice of their rights to become a permanent employee 4 weeks prior to the 6-month work anniversary. As part of this notice, you must advise that it is at their discretion whether they chose to become a permanent member of staff, or not.
What if permanent employment is not in the best interest of your business?
If a casual employee has been engaged in a regular and systemic manner, in most circumstances this indicates the needs of your business are for a permanent employee. In the potential circumstance that it is not in the best interest of your business to employ additional permanent employees, then you should:
• Engage casual employees to fill your short-term resource requirements only (less than 6-month contracts);
• Vary the casual employee’s roster so that the work is not regular and systemic (alternating the number of hours in the day or the number of days worked each week); and
• Manage the casual employee’s expectations that there will not be a permanent position for them following 6-months of casual employment.
Are you ready for Single Touch Payroll?
Real time reporting to the ATO of payroll and superannuation information will soon be a requirement as Single Touch Payroll becomes mandatory from mid-2018. Instead of providing the required ATO information through activity statements and year-end Payment Summary reporting, your payroll system needs to provide the information through Single Touch Payroll. It will provide the ATO:
• Real time data access
• Extended reporting detail
• Early intervention engagement with employer and employee alike
• Increased use of data analytics over the payroll information provided.
“Employers will report payments such as salaries and wages, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and super information to us directly from their payroll solution at the same time they pay their employees”, Australian Tax Office
When is it required?
Single Touch Payroll will be mandatory from 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees based on a head count at 1 April 2018.
The government has expressed the intent to make it mandatory for employers of less than 20 staff from 1 July 2019. This is subject to legislation being passed.
Why is it important?
Single Touch Payroll will require significant changes in both the way that employers report information and the level of detail being shared with the ATO.
As part of the ATO’s Client engagement strategy, they will be sharing information and communicating directly with employees about their PAYG withholding and calculation of Superannuation.
Businesses are exposed to risk associated with errors or reporting anomalies, which may prompt early intervention audits. Businesses may not be aware of compliance discrepancies until it’s too late and audits will be the direct result of data matching rather than based on a random selection.
What should businesses do now?
To ensure businesses are prepared, you should consider these areas:
• Technology – Review your technology and make sure it is Single Touch Payroll-enabled
• Data – Undertake a quality review as soon as practical to ensure the quality of historical reporting. This will provide a good indicator of potential future issues
• People – Educate your people on the requirements and the systems to ensure compliance
• Process – Refine your processes to ensure quality of data is sufficient for real-time scrutiny.
For more information on these items, contact: